It is flattering to have readers tell me I should run for public office. There are also an equal number of adoring fans that say I should stick my head in a bucket of tar. But that is a topic for another day.
At various times, it has been suggested that I run for (a) president of the United States, (b) governor of Georgia, or (c) any job where I can keep our intrepid public servants from kicking around public school teachers. While I am grateful for the encouraging words, I think I will keep my day job as a modest and much-beloved columnist.
It was the noted arsonist, Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, who said in 1864 when his name was being bandied about by Republicans as a presidential candidate, “I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.”
Historians have overlooked the rest of Sherman’s statement, “I would rather kiss Robert E. Lee on the lips than get messed up in politics. Even a know-it-all Yankee who loves burning down beautiful old homes and starving people has some scruples, you know.”
History has not told us why Gen. Sherman was so quick to let it be known he didn’t want a political career, but I have reason to believe that Mrs. Sherman told him she would put an iron skillet upside his head if he even considered the idea. I know in my own abode, The Woman Who Shares My Name would be — to put it mildly — not happy if I broached the subject with her. She isn’t crazy about politics and there is a better than even chance she would stuff broccoli up my nose.
There are other reasons for my choosing not to run for public office in addition to the prospect of having broccoli stuffed up my nose. I would have to raise money. I hate raising money almost as much as I hate having broccoli stuffed up my nose.
Nobody gives campaign contributions out of the goodness of their heart. They all want something. I would have to take money from special interest groups and then claim that in no way would that influence my vote. You already know that is a bunch of baloney and I would be very uncomfortable telling you whoppers like that. I’d rather stick my head in a bucket of tar.
I would also have to be nice to people I don’t like in order to get them to vote for me. That would be difficult. I have reached the stage in my life where I don’t have to be nice to anybody I don’t like. That number seems to grow with each passing day and currently includes left wingnuts and right wingnuts, Bible thumpers, Sean Penn and people who move here and criticize the way we talk; not to mention liberal weenies, apologists for President Peanut and anybody that takes Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson seriously. That narrows my political base considerably.
One of the most onerous parts of the job would be having to go to Sea Island and make a five-minute speech to a bunch of dog lovers about my untiring efforts to get more fire hydrants in the state before going off to play a few rounds of golf with a lizard-loafered lobbyist.
I keep hearing legislators say that going to conventions and hanging out with fawning lobbyists is really a chore but it is necessary if one is to be conversant on the critical issues of the day. They make it sound like a lot of hard work. I try to avoid hard work as much as possible. I don’t even like to take my groceries to the car.
If all of this isn’t bad enough, there are the media in general and smart-alecky columnists in particular. They would always be sticking their noses in my business and saying that it is really your business that I am doing. They would also expect me to buy their lunch. A lot of reporters have gravy stains on their ties and wear Hush Puppies. I’d just soon not be seen in public with them.
So, while I appreciate the encouragement I have received to enter into politics, it is with a heavy heart that I tell you I must pass on the opportunity. I just don’t think I could make those critical decisions that impact the daily lives of my fellow citizens with broccoli stuffed up my nose. Thank you and God bless America.
Dick Yarbrough is a North Georgia resident whose column appears Saturdays and at gainesvilletimes.com/viewpoint. Contact him at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, GA 31139.