I want to be proud of all my fellow citizens who take on the challenge of running for public office. But far too many kooks are mistaking the opportunity to craft public policy for the chance to submit audition tapes for third-rate talk radio.
The latest self-absorbed embarrassment to democracy: Florence K. Thompson. The Caputa woman wants to replace Mike Verchio in District 30 House... because we must stop socialism!
Thompson says her whole campaign is about stopping socialism in South Dakota. Her three-minute video is devoid of serious or specific discussion of any real issue facing the Legislature. Her bleatings about ObamaCare have no grounding in reality. She doesn't say what specific policies South Dakota has implemented to put the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into practice; she just shouts "ObamaCare/DaugaardCare!" and hopes that scares enough people into voting for her.
Thompson's website is no better. In stunningly bad marketing, she brands herself not by name but with "StopSocialismSD." She has no issues but "ObamaCare," drivers license requirements, and "Crony Capitalism."
Send this woman to Pierre, and she won't have a clue what's going on. She won't have any idea how to craft a working budget. She won't have any interest in discussing practical matters like building roads and bridges, improving our schools, or revising our drainage regulations. I can only assume from her obsession with rooting out Reds that she would simply vote to kill all of those programs, since roads, schools, and water regulation are all socialism.
Candidates like Florence K. Thompson and Steve Rosenberger arouse my ire because they remind me of me twenty years ago. I thought reading a little philosophy, listening to Rush Limbaugh, and boiling every issue into a few facile abstractions made me a political genius. But then I grew up. I realized I was only rehearsing scripts, much as my six-year-old parrots the scenes she hears from her parents and friends and TV characters in her own little tea parties with her stuffed critters.
I started paying attention to the practical complexities of issues like health care and K-12 education, and my worldview changed. More accurately, I stepped out of the mostly fantasy world of my slogans and abstractions and entered the world of real policy and real people.
Florence K. Thompson is trapped in her own fantasy world, auditioning to become the next Joe McCarthy. I hope District 30 voters will ignore her war cries and choose Representatives ready for practical law-making.