Monday, July 19, 2010

Sorry to wake you, Mr. Secretary.

I'm driving myself batty these days. I've become a little obsessed with politics.

It happened innocently enough. I accepted a story assignment to do an election preview. It involves me interviewing the candidates running for office in my state.

Prior to this, I wasn't typically one to bury myself in political news, so I had to do some research before I sat myself in front of these people and ask them pertinent questions.

After surveying a variety of business people (the article is for a business magazine) as to their thoughts on the election and what issues are of importance to them, I hit the internet to find out everything I could about the candidates, the issues and in some cases...

What in the world the job even entails.

Seriously, who knows what the Secretary of State does? Pretty dull job, really.

Until you screw something up. Then you're on the front page of the news and suddenly everyone's mad and saying, "What the heck happened?"

Personally, after simply reviewing his job description, I was ready for a nap.

As far as the error he made, in all likelihood the guy probably fell asleep due to boredom. So he 'misplaced' some paperwork. Eh, it's probably in the stack he used as a pillow and it got drooled on so he pitched it.

But I digress.

After every interview, I'm more and more intrigued by the candidate and the job potentially ahead of them. And inevitably they use some word that I've heard before but never took the time to care what it meant, so as soon as I get home I'm Googling like a maniac.

Tort. You know, as in tort reform.

What a weird word. In case you were wondering, it's a French word that means "a wrong."

Or maybe I'm the only one who didn't know the real meaning of the word.

At any rate, as it turns out, it's kinda important.

And I'm sure glad I worked at a civil engineering firm for awhile because it helps a lot when candidates talk nonstop about "the need for infrastructure." Kept me from having to Google a lot of stuff.

But what might fascinate me more than anything is the persona of each candidate. You've got the guy who just wanted his name on the ballot to give another option to people who are fed up with the traditional candidates. He doesn't have much for answers, and he's not presuming he has any chance of winning, but you have to respect his efforts.

Then there's the guy who makes you feel like you're talking to the guy next door. He's friendly, funny, and down-to-earth. He's the kind of guy that makes you think you could possibly run for office someday, too.

And then you meet the guy who knows just what to say, pays little attention to the questions because he really just wants to give his pat answers and move on, and frankly, he has more important things to do than to talk to me.

So then I get wrapped up in all the issues. And I obsess about the economy, taxes, and stuff like tort. And I want to know more. I want to see what was happening with social security 10 years ago when the unemployment rate wasn't so high. Was it at risk then, or was it a non-issue because we had everyone working and paying those taxes to fund it?

It's consuming me now. But tomorrow I interview a Secretary of State candidate. Which is good, because after staying up late every night scanning the internet for more information, I'm going to need a nap.

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