THE ANTI-CAMPAIGN: Politics as UNusual
NEW! Check out our theme song, "Playing Politics"
Meet the anti-candidate: we're not on the ballot for President, Senator, Governor, Representative, County Council, City Council, School Board, or any elected office (so far as we know). You won't see our name on those irritating little signs in your neighborhood. You won't see any obnoxious "I approved this message" ads on television. In fact, if you're committed to one party or one issue and you find a candidate who will represent you adequately, we encourage you to vote for that person.
Then again, if you find you're not satisfied with the candidates already on the ballot -- and you can't pick one to vote against, as Robert A. Heinlein suggested -- just vote against all the candidates and write in "Gray Rinehart." It doesn't matter what office: put us down for any or all of them. (Be sure to spell the name right: we wouldn't want the election officials to get confused.) On the off chance that we win, we probably won't show up anyway, since we agree with Thoreau that the government governs best "which governs least."
Governing least ... we'd be happy to.
Since the Anti-Campaign started, we've had some folks volunteer to be our anti-running mate. One, a former boss, commented, "We couldn't do any worse than any of the yahoos running this go-round." Another wondered if she should be our anti-running mate since a woman anti-VP would be very PC; she promised, in case of our demise, "to continue ignoring any programs you haven't bothered to establish."
Anti-Candidate Position Pages
We make no promises, so as not to disappoint. As for some of the issues ... select whichever issue you care about and see what, if anything, we have to say about it:
Abortion / Budget & Spending / Conservative or Liberal? / Death Penalty / Defense / Economy / Education / Energy / Environment / Faith / Family / Firearms / Free Speech / Health Care / Patriotism / Rights / Role of Government / Taxes / Trade
If your favorite issue isn't on the list, we can only say what our teacher Dave Haasl said: "For this I apologize, but this apology is in no way sincere." How's that for politics as UNusual?
Anyway, if you're tired of politics as usual -- the constant drone of who did what and who said what and what do they really mean -- then maybe the "Anti-Campaign" is for you. No flyers clogging your mailbox, no billboards staring down at you, no pundits trying to tell you what we really meant or thought. Debates? The other candidates wouldn't want to face us.
IF I WERE MY OWN REPRESENTATIVE
In late January 2010, Gray wrote a five-part series of blog entries with a decidedly political theme. If you missed the series, here are excerpts and links to each installment.
PART I (which didn't have a pithy title)
For a long time I've thought ... that I would do well as a Member of Congress: a Representative or even a Senator. I like to think things through, I try not to overreact, and I firmly believe in our government of, by, and for the people.
I also think that I am probably unelectable. I am not a fan of back-room dealings, have a tendency to speak my mind with some disregard for the consequences, and I really don't like the idea of turning my life into an endless campaign.
.... All of which doesn't stop me from thinking about what it would be like If I Were My Own Representative.
If I Were My Own Representative, I would know what I was voting for, because I would READ THE BILL.
.... How should a Representative vote who hasn't read and understood a bill? I think, "no."
.... So if I didn't know what was in a piece of legislation, either because I didn't have time to consider it thoroughly or because it was so arcane that my puny brain couldn't comprehend it, I'd vote against it. I suppose I could abstain, or even vote "present," but it would be much more satisfying to just vote "no" and move on.
If I Were My Own Representative, I could go to hearings on trivial subjects and ask, "Why are we having this hearing? Don't we have better things to do?" Better things like debating big, substantive issues; reconciling or voting on bills; or even crafting our own legislation so lobbyists wouldn't have to?
A lot of legislation is pitched on the basis of what it is intended to do, and often on the basis of whom it is intended to help. If I Were My Own Representative, my touchstone for voting would be quite the opposite: whom it was likely to hurt.
My initial position would be to vote "no" on any bill that had a provision that would hurt some of our citizens, even if it helped some others. I would have to be convinced that the help was worth the hurt; i.e., that the hurt was along the lines as the necessary pain of surgery to correct a life-threatening condition.
.... If I Were My Own Representative, I would carry a simple message wherever I went. Whether I got to speak to a Rotary Club or a school or a TV talk show, I would try to take the opportunity to remind people that the U.S.A. is still the greatest nation ever conceived by human beings.
.... in our ideals -- "we hold these truths to be self-evident," "bring me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" -- in the freedoms we afford our people and are willing to help others achieve, and in our drive to improve, grow, and rise above the status quo, I believe we are the greatest hope for peace and prosperity in the world.