Elected Office is for Chumps

It is election time around here. Not Provincial or National, just local. City Councilmen, Mayors, that sort of thing. Last summer my sister stopped by for a visit and I mentioned that there would be an election in the fall in my little town. She immediately asked if I was running. Actually I was more than a little offended that she’d think I’d even consider it. I hate politics and me running for office would be the stupidest thing I could ever do.
But it’s deeper than just my hatred of politics. I just do not understand why anyone would run for office. I mean seriously. In the last few months the CBC has had several stories about people running for office, or more often deciding not to run because its just too much of a headache with too little reward. Stories about the difficulty the parties are having to get candidates for office, especially local offices. The number of good people who were thinking about running but somebody found a record, a post, a tweet, an article they did years before. An article that if taken out of context and twisted just right made them look like utter scum, so they decided not to run. The list goes on and on. People just don’t want to run, and I completely understand why. It simply isn’t worth it. Honestly, I have no idea why anyone would put themselves through that. Oh yeah, something about public service. I’m not buying it. What public? In this day and age if you run you’ll get elected if fewer people hate you than the other guy.
And rest assured that even if they didn’t hate you before, after the campaign they quickly will. After you’ve been in a term you can be sure that way over 50% will hate you. Not just mildly annoyed either. Not just “yes he’s a rascal, but he’s our rascal,” way. I mean spit on the sidewalk when your name is mentioned HATE. “But what about those long serving public servants?” I hear you asking. “Surely some people must be popular enough to get reelected.” Sorry, but the way someone gets reelected today is to get more people to hate the other guy. There is no love in politics.
Why would anyone, outside of a near psychotic narcissist, put themselves through that?
Then there’s the abuse people get once they are in office. Even if you get into office the people are lined up with knives. Say anything, even innocently, that they can twist into something insulting and they will crucify you, just because they can. Of course, sometimes you’ll get crucified for NOT saying something too. Even if you do a good job, do exactly what you promised, you still can’t win. People will find reasons to hate you and your government for doing what you said you would.
Recently the government here in BC eliminated the tolls on the major bridges in Vancouver. It was something they said they’d do. They were elected on a promise to do it. The tolls were massively unpopular. Locals were upset because the neighbourhoods near the bridges were clogged with traffic from people who were avoiding the toll bridges. The bridges themselves were however mostly empty. Dropping the tolls was something everyone wanted done. So they removed the tolls. What was the response? Talking heads on the radio saying that it would destroy BCs credit rating. People screaming loudly how much longer it was talking them to drive to work, despite studies showing that the average commute was in fact noticeably quicker. Social sites and the air waves were full of vitriolic complaints. The howls could be heard all the way to Seattle. Nobody had a good thing to say about it. You see even if you do the right thing the masses will be at your doorstep with torches and pitchforks.
This only hints at all of the abuse and even death threats elected officials get on social media. Not the old fashioned, “I don’t like how you voted on this”. I mean physical threats, rape threats, death threats, threats against their children. I mean really. You’re going to threaten to kill someone because they approved a dog park in your neighbourhood? You are going to threaten someone’s children because how they voted on a water contract? Seriously? But it happens. It happens regularly, and with increasing viciousness. Why would anyone put themselves in a position to receive that? Why would they put their families through that?
And of course, nobody thinks you should get paid for your time. Let’s be honest, most local elected officials are paid far less than they could earn putting their time in the private sector. Yes, there are lots of stories, mostly gossip, about officials living like kings on other people’s taxes. In reality for the vast majority, the hours are long and the checks are short and nobody appreciates the work you put in.
I’m always amused when people say that some industrialist, Tim Cook, Bill Gates, etc, should run for office. How did you think they got to be vastly wealthy industrialists? By not making stupid decisions. By not going into no win situations. By not being idiots. By carefully avoiding stupid mistakes that lead to disaster. By not wasting their time doing thankless jobs for people who automatically despise them, and assume that everything they do is somehow criminal.
So that is why I cant understand anyone running for office. I am sorry but I do not understand why anyone that is capable of putting a coherent thought together would ever run for political office at any level. That’s why I was offended when my sister suggested that I might run. No, I’m not going to try crack or naked ice hockey either. I don’t do stupid things that are self destructive and doomed to failure.
Like elected office.
So, let me make something clear. If I do ever run, I want someone to dig up this post and hold it up for everyone to see. Because if I ever do run, it will be because I had lost my mind and become a psychotic narcissist and would therefore be unfit to hold office.
Remember that when you go to the polls.