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The political apparatus continues to drive people crazy


Not long before the birth of Jesus, a gentile went to Rabbi Hillel and said, "Make me a proselyte, on condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." The rabbi replied, "Whatever irritates you, don't do it to anyone else. That's the whole Torah; the rest is commentary."

Hence, as a political candidate, I've been unable to bring myself to send out robotexts or postcards for people to toss, even though these "work." I was never able to convince the robot that runs Instagram that I was not a fictitious Russian, though I eventually got so sick of seeing politicians' grinning faces that I was grateful I didn't add mine. I got trampled over endorsements, because I think people should make up their minds for themselves.

I did set out to knock on every door in the city, but the people who opened the doors I knocked on were so eager to talk about issues, often for up to an hour, that I didn't get very far. I put out my phone number so people could call me, and a lot of delightful people have done so. Part of the price was a half dozen others who sent anonymous, abusive texts regarding what my friends call Kittygate, a cyberbullying episode over someone's cat that I was accused of stealing. (If I had time to steal anything, it wouldn't be a cat.)

Conclusion: The professional apparatus of politics will continue to drive everyone nuts, because it shifts a few rubes at the margins, but the vast majority of voters out there, on every side, are unbelievably courteous, curious, and engaged. A campaign advisor accused me of having too much fun. Guilty—with an increased faith in democracy.

James Papp

San Luis Obispo

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