Political Moderation

We interrupt “This Much I Know” series for this unpaid, somewhat political announcement:

I made my way through college by working for the Republican Party.  I’d spend summer and fall quarters campaigning, making the money to spend on winter and spring at Ohio State.  With my BA in Political Science, I started (what I thought would be) my career as Executive Director of a party organization in Michigan.

Four years later, I left politics and went into advertising.  My departure was not on principle; I loved organizing and enjoyed the challenges of marketing candidates. Believe it or not, I also enjoyed the long hours and fabulously interesting people.  Further, the man I worked for in my four years of full-time professional politics remains a hero and role model for me.

So as I moved onto my new career I told Alice that we would never eat rubber chicken and cold peas again.  Indeed, 39 years later we have not attended another fund raiser or political rally.

Our volunteer and donor activity has been entirely focused in charity work.  Our foundation consciously avoids advocacy.  We leave that to others, many whom we admire.  We focus solely on one thing – serving and supporting well-missioned non-profits by providing business advice and sustainable financial investments.

Politics and religion are personal matters and therefore have always been left out of this blog and all the newsletters and blogs I’ve written over thirty years.

But today I will ask you in six days to vote Democrat for any federal office on your ballot.

Why?  Because our system runs on checks and balances and I fear what could happen with a deeply partisan president with majorities in both houses who apparently fear him and now a Trumpian Supreme Court.  I’d be making this same plea for Republican votes if Bernie Sanders and the Democrats were on the brink of a complete lock on our executive, legislative and judicial system.

In the end, I’m neither Republican nor Democrat, conservative or liberal.  In my recent blog on moderation, I stated that I despise labels.  (One wise-ass reader, by the way, sent me a box of printed adhesive labels in response to that statement.)

If a label is to be forced on me, I’d claim to be an avowed moderate, slightly left of center on social issues; to the right slightly on fiscal policy.  I believe that intractable issues are inherently complex and therefore require research, trial and error and compromise.

Larger issues are not solved by the merger of popular news and entertainment which blurs the lines between politics, law and the justice system.  When I turn the news on, which is less frequent over time it seems, I’m watching extremists (both sides) lobbing verbal hand grenades over a wall constructed by the actors themselves.

So, after my usual candidate-specific choices on all other offices, I’ll vote Democrat for whoever is running for congress and senate here in Ohio.  I may not love them as candidates but I feel like it’s a chance to take a stand for moderation.

Like the famous old cartoon, I’ll feel like the mouse giving the eagle the finger as he’s about to be swept up by the eagle’s claws but at least I’ll go home feeling honest.


Tim McCarthy

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