I am once again reminded of the fatigue of a campaign. The long hours, disrupted schedules, the stress of the trail, all eventually wear. There is a need to persevere coupled with the need to rest. The forces will eventually clash as you hit a wall.
Whereas the debates next Tuesday will be most important, the best strategy seems to rest and get prepared. To do so risks leaving precious time behind, but to keep at it means that there is a greater possibility of not being sharp when you need to be.
Today gave me that indication. I was straining to think where thought usually came naturally. The outcome makes the presentation labored. The facial expressions and the hint of frustration in the delivery of the message, while maybe not evident to the listener, are quite clear to me.
Additionally, for some reason, my hair and beard has once again become a campaign issue.
In many ways it is a distraction. I find it so ridiculous. A shave and a haircut will not in any way change my thoughts, yet it will show that I am willing to jump through hoops just to get elected. The issue sets those who would “consider” voting for me if I shaved and cut my hair against the very principle I am trying to demonstrate, the need for consistency and individual freedom.
I understand that there is a visual mindset of what a Governor should look like, but this is equally as ridiculous. Should a Governor look Asian? Should a Governor look feminine? Just exactly what should a Governor look like? He or she should look like he or she does. It is person’s thought not appearance that should be the controlling factor.
I have always allowed people to use the hair and beard issue to justify to themselves why they were not voting for me. It is an easy out for them. They really don’t have to examine policy or issues. They just don’t like to cover of the book. If they are that simple or shallow, they will have the most difficult time understanding the concept of liberty and freedom anyway. I do not want to lead sheep. Almost anyone can do that. I want to engage society, force them to question governance, and be restored with liberty.
I am aware that packaging sells, but I am not selling. I am offering. As such, I get to design the package. If I were out to sell, I would use all means to get the buyer to purchase. I have no such intention to trick or deceive. I want to have people see, not tell them what they should be seeing.
To change just to appease and get elected is not noble by any standard. It is just as deplorable as ‘leading by poll’. There are times when the logical arguments do not square with public opinion, and it is the role of a leader to be strong enough to resist the temptation to agree for the sake of agreement.
If we are all to be free and endowed with our individual liberties, why is it so important to impose preconceived ideas of appearance on anyone? I have no intention of making such irrational demands on the free people I seek to represent. It is difficult enough to manage my own life, why would I even consider managing others’ appearances?
In short, I will not cut my hair or shave if I choose to do so only for electability. It would be far more likely that if I were inclined to do cut my hair or shave, I would do so the day after losing the election, unannounced. If I changed myself to get more votes, my personal integrity would be compromised, so much so that even I would not vote for me.
My point is that I believe I can lead Rhode Island into a prosperous future. I believe I can govern with the greatest degree of independence from special interests. I think that I can truly represent the people. I am in the race to win, but I am not in the race to pander. Sorry friends, if it means losing the race, then so be it. My life is and will be full without the title of Governor. I believe I have a talent to offer, but I will survive if my offer is rejected and I can still look at myself in the mirror.
I am consoled by the biblical passage where the people were presented with the alternative of which person should have their sentence commuted, Jesus or Barabbas. Barabbas was a known common thief and Jesus was, well, Jesus. You needn’t be Fellini to know how this movie ends. If the people so wish, give them Barabbas. As I recall the passage, Jesus was nonplussed by the decision.
I harbor no illusions of being a savior by any means and certainly not anywhere near the character Jesus embodied in the Bible, but I can more than empathize with this situation in that I will sit idly and allow people to do as they wish, turning the other cheek, and learning to forgive people who lack understanding. I will offer my assistance, but I will not beg them to accept it. I will accept my fate, but I will not kowtow to appease.
I will not trade my personal liberty or integrity to obtain a glorified title. If I did, it would not be earned, but merely granted, and as such, would hold little worth to me. I value myself far too dearly to engage in such bargaining for the sake of a potential vote.