After seemingly years of campaigning by an array of almost frightening personalities running for political offices, I’ve become almost reluctant to read politically oriented articles for fear the nightmare will start all over again. But, as it happens, some of the most interesting and entertaining stories are involved with politics, so I can’t help myself.
The latest political news article to catch my eye, and mainly because I, for one, find the currently popular practice of predicting political wins by virtue of “exit interviews” maintains its popularity with the television networks only because they have been lucky so far. I find the American voting public to be a total mystery and I don’t believe any voter, anywhere will tell an exit interviewer the truth about anything. So when I saw this article about the State of New Jersey moving to amend their state constitution to remove the word “idiot” from its pages, it got my full attention.
It seems that the New Jersey state constitution has a section that says, “no idiot or insane person should enjoy the right of suffrage.”
Wow. I can think of dozens of instances tin past elections when I remember that the outcome could have very well been only because our constitution does not have that kind of provision. You know, the office holders you look at and say, “Now, what idiot would have voted for him or her?” Eliminating the “Idiot Voter” could change the course of history.
This, however, is serious business for Richard Codey, a state senator from New Jersey, who wants to substitute the term, “idiot,” with a reference to “a person who has been adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction to lack the capacity to understand the act of voting.”
As I was considering the undeniably sickening political correctness of this substitute phrase even though it could apply to some people I know who voted in this last election, I happened upon a column written by Antonio C. Abaya, written for the Standard Today’s February 6, 2008 issue, with the title, “Idiot Candidates.”
Mr. Abaya, an accomplished journalist from the Philippine Islands, defines the “Idiot Candidate” as… “a candidate who aspires for an elective political office purely on the basis of his/her popularity with the squealing crowds, with absolutely no experience in public service or in managing anything…and with absolutely no idea on what he or she intends to do if and when that office is won.”
According to Abaya, in his analysis of obvious “Idiot Candidates,” he found that they will studiously avoid being interviewed and being asked hard questions on the issues of the day, almost certainly because they do no know what to say. No talk, no mistakes. Less talk, less mistakes.
So the public will never really know what an “Idiot Candidate’s” ideas are on any issue. In keeping with that philosophy, the “Idiot Candidate” will have his or her speeches written by someone else and avoid question and answer forums like the measles.
So without an exclusive on idiots, the voting public, unfortunately faces an abundance of idiots about which they must make up their minds and either elect or not to public office. New Albany voters will, no doubt, find their plight in the upcoming city elections to be no different, though most local voters will already be able to identify the candidates, including incumbents, who are known idiots beforehand.
The New Jersey constitutional section denying the vote to idiots and insane people, though poorly worded as a identifying phrase, was and is intended to eliminate as many idiot voters as possible with a desired benefit of perhaps also eliminating some idiot candidates.
Voting, however, is every citizen’s right and should remain a treasure of our citizenship in this great nation. Even those who demonstrate less than minimal common or real sense can still vote unless a physician or court evaluation determines that they “lack the capacity to understand the act of voting.” So, it’s hard to weed out the idiots who continue to vote without an official designation as such.
While we can’t do anything about an “Idiot Candidate,” anymore than we can do anything about “Idiot Voters,” we can be determined to elect a concerned, trustworthy and progressive group of officials to manage our city’s affairs during these important and trying times. We must remember an incumbent candidate’s past demonstrated actions and attitudes or in the case of a new candidate, look closely at the validity of their claimed credentials and accomplishments, as well as closely, check out their demonstrated character issues.
The “plan,” as the grapevine reports, is for the incumbent mayor and all the incumbent aldermen to file for re-election at the very last minute to keep attention to their intent to a minimum and, hopefully, not attracting any more opponents than have already filed. By keeping very low profiles, the incumbents plan to keep things status quo.
As city voters consider encouraging folks to become candidates for any or all of these offices, we should remember the old adage, “Just as there are no masters where there are no slaves, so also are there no idiot candidates where there are no idiot voters.”