Rendered Fat Content


Russell Lee:
Group of residents of Weatherford, Texas,
listening to politician speak


"This just seems a fait accomplis."

Politicians, like used-car salespersons, mostly deserve their terrible reputations. They seem to shave the truth more proficiently than a barber might shave a baby and just as unnecessarily. We approach them warily, if at all. We understand that they can put almost anybody under a thrall. We swear we will not fall again then we reliably do. We hold ourselves to blame but sense something profoundly unsound in our characterization. The politician can seem to be everybody's friend and also frame anybody as their enemy, seemingly the same person, sometimes simultaneously. We sense a dark art at work, another bait and switch, yet we still take sides. We justify the better of two obvious evils before voting the same straight ticket. Forced choice voting often leaves us sensing little choice at all.

The Muse is running for public office and so might well be fairly characterized as a politician, a politician being one who runs for public office.
But not all candidates deserve the designation. A few seem to be regular citizens moved to serve but without many of the usual trappings we've grown to expect from professionals. These folks often stumble through their elevator speeches, not even managing to inspire themselves in the offing, and might accidentally get elected anyway and even serve with distinction. Still, it seems a long shot in these days of dark money and conspiracy theories. Even in our small city, whispers surround every election. A cabal appears to control our voting. The usual gang of idiots almost always wins. We were red trending purple but not reliably blue yet. That's a big 'yet'’ which might mean never.

The Muse chose to run in a non-partisan race, so she didn't have to declare a party affiliation. She thought this might lessen the knee-jerk reactions party affiliation tends to elicit from some. She's fearless by nature and prepared herself well. She enrolled in a class to learn how to become a viable candidate, absorbing veteran's lessons. She agreed to manage another's campaign before choosing to run to understand better the intricacies of the system with which she'd be interfacing. She had always scheduled coffees, comfortably meeting new people, and making friends. People tend to open up with her, disclosing more than one might think appropriate; they naturally confide. She's no gossip, but she absorbs every story, enrichening her understanding until it's superior to almost anybody's and maybe to everybody's. People notice.

She declared her intention to run and quickly attracted a collection of volunteers to help. The right people showed up. The Muse inspires the group, typically saying something almost profound and astonishing everyone with her process. She's a RetailPolitician, not the kind we see on TV. She's out there beating the bushes, educating herself, refusing to take "positions." She states her intentions as if indifferent to anyone supporting them. She declares them clearly and without apology, watching for what seems to click in her listener's face. Then she goes there to understand better what attracted that person to whatever she just said. She's creating a constituency that must be constituted of people who noticed something of themselves in that RetailPolitician's story. We mostly try to vote for ourselves.

She seems capable of talking with anybody about anything while seeming incapable of feeling offended by anything she hears. She exhibits The Most Generous Interpretation Rule in practice, not just theory, and somehow manages to find the constituents within even those who'd intended to ridicule her. They leave a little less sure about the nature of every politician, for they might have, for the first time, experienced actual RetailPolitics in action. The Muse is selling nothing other than the future. No politician ever sells more. She's trying to convince people their future might be better with The Muse involved than if she isn't. For most, this seems an easy choice. She's the most gifted RetailPolitician I've ever seen. One member of her volunteer committee confided to me: if anybody hears her speak, they'll vote for her. This just seems a
fait accomplis. We’ll see if it turns out to be.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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