Zambonis On Parade

IMG_0683Last week I went to a Columbus Blue Jackets game.  It’s the first hockey game I’ve been to in a long while.  Surprisingly, the Blue Jackets won — which is pretty shocking, because the CBJ is mired in last place and beat a team that is competing for a playoff spot.

I’m not much of a hockey fan.  Frankly, my favorite part of the game was the Zambonis.   There’s something kind of hypnotic about these bulky, ungainly machines serenely gliding over the ice and leaving it smooth as silk.  For some reason, they reminded me of a visit Russell and I made, years ago, to the huge hippopotamus tank at the San Diego Zoo.  From above, the hippos looked almost graceful as they moved through the water, with only their massive heads visible above the surface, but walk down to see the animals from below and you notice that, under the serene facade, the hippos are swimming at a furious pace.  I’m guessing that, beneath the slow-moving exterior, there’s a lot of activity going on under the Zambonis.

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Why I’m Voting For John Kasich

Tomorrow morning I’ll walk down to my voting place in Schiller Park, show my driver’s license and sign my name in the ledger book, and then touch the screen for John Kasich in the Ohio Republican primary election.  And after I do, I’ll be especially proud to walk out with that “I voted today” sticker.

I think John Kasich has been a perfectly fine governor.  I haven’t agreed with everything he’s done, and my friends on the left side of the spectrum have objected to many of his initiatives and decisions, but Ohio has done pretty well while he’s been in office.  Even more important, Ohio has continued to adhere to its traditional Midwestern political sensibilities during the Kasich Administration, which means politics that are largely non-confrontational and a bit boring.  Normally, you wouldn’t call continuing that approach an accomplishment, but these are not normal times.  When I see people getting into fistfights at political rallies, and candidates shouting over each other and even bragging about their sexual potency during debates, it reminds me that the dull, consensus-oriented, Ohio approach to politics has a lot to recommend to the country as a whole.

image_votingAnd I’ll be blunt — in casting my ballot for John Kasich, I’m mostly voting against someone, too.  Some people bemoan elections where they have to chose between the “lesser of two evils” and even talk about how they might not vote because none of the candidates sufficiently inspire them.  Not me!  I’ve never had illusions about perfect politicians, or believed that candidates would or could cure all of our problems.  In the vast majority of presidential elections, I’ve pulled the level based on my own cold-eyed analysis of which candidate would do the least amount of harm to a country that has been an important source of freedom, strength, and good in the world.  And it will be that way, again, tomorrow.

So when I vote for John Kasich, I’ll do so in hopes that my one vote might help Kasich beat Donald Trump in the Ohio primary and keep Trump from being the Republican candidate for President.  Donald Trump obviously doesn’t mind offending people, and he’s offended me.  I’ve been offended by his insult-oriented approach to politics, I’ve been offended by his rank appeals to the worst impulses in people, and most of all I’ve been offended by his unprincipled, know-nothing positions on the issues.  I can’t imagine such a vacuous, conceited blowhard as the standard-bearer for a major party, much less as President.  By so obviously not doing his homework and developing even a rudimentary understanding of the issues, Trump has shown nothing but contempt for our political processes. Tomorrow, I get to show my contempt for him in the most important way a citizen can.

I’m not alone in this.  Yesterday I got an email from a friend who said he would be doing the same thing come Tuesday, and I’ve spoken to another friend who will, too.  I’d be willing to bet that many other Ohioans feel exactly the same way.  Who knows?  Maybe Ohio will make a statement on Tuesday, and maybe this time it will be heard.