There is a bar down the Cape that I’ve jogged and driven past many, many times, but in ten years had never ventured inside. Looking for a somewhat quiet place to catch up with an old friend last weekend, I took her there for a little pregaming before we really went out. With most of the place empty, we made a little small talk with the bartender. In the course of our brief conversation, I mentioned to him that I was a recovering addict.
This wasn’t a Sam Malone moment, and I was not confessing a long hidden heroin addiction. No, I told him that I had been long involved in politics, but was somehow able to recover from all the koolaid drinking. Lately, however, I’ve been thinking about taking another couple sips and getting back into the game.
No one in my family has ever quite understood my interest in politics, but one has always been actively opposed to it. As the person who worries about me most on this planet, she has never wanted my paycheck to be dependent upon the whims of a voter. When I mentioned to her that I had spoken to a friend about jumping back onto a campaign, she was, needless to say, less than thrilled.
Why, she asked me, would I want to associate myself with all the scumbags and scandals we see on TV every night? I did not point out that the vast majority of people serving in public office are good and honorable people, and that you don’t read about them in the papers for the same reason that you don’t read about all the planes that land safely at Logan every day.
Instead, I invoked the memory of a long-dead Irish philosopher and reminded her that all that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Why let the sleazebags win? Why step aside and let those who are corrupt walk right into office with nary a word opposing them? Why not stand up for the good guys, and try to do some good – or at least oppose the bad – in the halls of power?
I know she was not convinced, but I believe it is a compelling argument. Besides, as an addict I can rationalize anything.