I used to think of myself as unelectable. So when, from time to time, I’ve been encouraged to run for some local elected office I’ve always declined. The problem, I thought, was that my past made me unelectable in today’s political process that exposes the dark corners of a candidate’s life.
First of all, my business has had plenty of ups and downs over the decades and I went through a long period of disability before I declared bankruptcy. I’ve had several slow times when it was tough to keep up with property taxes. At least three times I’ve had tax liens issued on my homes.
I’ve also been proud to be involved in occasional peaceful protests as a citizen activist. One of those resulted in my detainment and issuance of a citation for disorderly conduct (that was later dismissed).
Then about a decade ago I was asked to resign from a position as high school wrestling coach at a wealthy conservative Christian school based on my outspoken statements to a Philadelphia news reporter criticizing the Philadelphia police raid of former private adult couples club called Kama Sutra on South Street. My position was that city officials should not exercise their moral values though the licensing and permitting process of a private business.
Then a few years later in a troubling domestic incident involving a house guest, I grabbed a 35 year old male by the shirt collar and threatened him after learning of his sexual act targeting a 17 year old girl. I threatened him with serious bodily harm if he approached the girl again. The man retaliated in local court with a citizens’ criminal complaint against me. I admitted exactly what I did without remorse and was found guilty of criminal harassment.
So there it is, all admitted: bankruptcy, tax delinquency, disruptive social activism, publicly supporting non-traditional adult freedoms and a criminal conviction to boot. All stuff that used to be used effectively to shame people out of a role in public office.
In the world we knew until recently, any single one of these incidents alone could be a barrier to being elected to a public office. But the emerging federal kakistocracy makes it clear that there is no character flaw that makes a person unelectable today. The president-elect is indirectly associated with hundreds of civil fraud cases, sex scandals, as well as ongoing IRS and state tax cases. As Trump said, even murder would not keep his people from casting their support. I suspect that going forward America will have a whole new way of looking at its candidates for office. Am I still unelectable? I’ll still probably never care to know.