We are facing a political crisis. My campaign for mayor of San Francisco is not getting enough attention, and frankly, attention is half the reason I got into politics. (The other half is the pleasant camaraderie.)
Like other Americans, I’ve been watching the wrangling over the debt crisis in Washington with great concern, and I have drawn some important conclusions:
- When mentioning politicians from the opposing party, I have to behave as though saying their names is so vile to me that I must immediately get a blood transfusion.
- I’ll probably have to start paying more than $20 for a haircut.
- I need to get a snappy suit and dozens of red and blue silk ties.
My guess is that politicians don’t wear white ties because they’re afraid of looking like cheap entertainers. I, for one, see nothing wrong with looking like a cheap entertainer, but then, I am a cheap entertainer.
Wanting to better understand why our political leaders so often wear red and blue ties, I went to the source: the Internet. There I discovered a really cool web site (well, cool if you are a complete wonk) that displays maps of the Congressional elections of 2010 by red and blue voting patterns. You may remember that the blue team scored a big win in 2008, but the red team regained momentum in 2010.
What I found interesting about the map was what a complete mess it was. Let’s say the blue and the red teams agreed to divide the country up and go their separate ways; they’d have one hell of a hard time accomplishing the job. It wouldn’t be a question of fair’s fair—it would be chaos. I suppose they could agree that Wyoming, Nebraska, and Kansas are red, while Hawaii, Delaware, and Vermont are blue, but after that you’d be carving up states willy-nilly.
And then there are independent voters. Independents feel very strongly that it is their right as citizens to change sides at any time, often several times in the same conversation; and anyhow, they are not on anyone’s side but their own. That’s what makes them independent. Independent voters are very important because journalists like to talk to them whenever they get really tired of talking to members of the red and blue teams.
Perhaps this is why our leaders sometimes wear red ties and other times wear blue ties, regardless of whether they are members of the red or blue team. They are saying to voters, “Hey, I am a reasonable person! I can wear either a red or a blue tie! Vote for me!”
Voters of San Francisco, let me know what color tie you want me to wear—red, blue, or even white. And what should I wear these ties with? A tux? Sweats? A pink sharkskin suit? A tutu? Elect me your next mayor and I promise it won’t be politics as usual.
Sam Barry for mayor. How bad could he be?