If nom­i­nated, I will not run ...

The Standard Journal - - POLICE & FIRE - DAVID CAR­ROLL

Af­ter the Civil War, Union Gen­eral Wil­liam Tecumseh Sherman fa­mously de­clined all in­vi­ta­tions to run for pres­i­dent, stat­ing “If nom­i­nated I will not run, and if elected, I will not serve.”

He was in a bad mood when he said that. Maybe he looked at the polls and got dis­cour­aged. Cer­tainly he couldn’t have car­ried At­lanta.

Any­way, I re­cently found my­self in the odd po­si­tion of de­clin­ing a chance for high of­fice, too. Last week, I wrote a column plead­ing with read­ers to cool the hot rhetoric on both sides of the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal di­vide. The last line stated that I in­tend to stay in the mid­dle and lis­ten to both sides, in hopes of learn­ing some­thing. That sen­ti­ment touched a nerve with some read­ers who said they would like an “out of the box” pres­i­dent.

I wouldn’t be the first out­sider to dip my hat into the ring. We’ve heard the ru­mors about Oprah, the Rock, Tom Hanks, the Star­bucks guy and even Alec Bald­win, who might have a head start be­cause he al­ready pre­tends to be pres­i­dent on TV.

One reader sent me a flat­ter­ing letter which said, “We need the com­mon sense you pos­sess in Wash­ing­ton.” I re­sponded po­litely, list­ing the rea­sons you would not want me su­per­vis­ing mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions for a na­tion of 325 mil­lion peo­ple. He replied, and ac­knowl­edged my lack of qual­i­fi­ca­tions. To that, he con­cluded, “Per­haps the qual­i­fi­ca­tions should be changed.”

He later linked to my column on so­cial me­dia, and it got quite a few “likes.” He then shared his wish that I an­nounce my can­di­dacy, which did not hap­pen. A word to the wise: If you want to en­cour­age neg­a­tive com­ments, tell the world you are sup­port­ing some­one for pres­i­dent. Any­one. In to­day’s Face­book mad­house, you can post a photo of a cute puppy, and some an­gry per­son will call it a flea-bit­ten mutt. Thank­fully, my sup­porter took my photo down just be­fore any­one could ac­cuse me of be­ing ra­bid.

One kind soul wrote, “He’s a TV news­man? Be­ing pres­i­dent in­volves more than read­ing a teleprompt­er.” I heartily agree. Sadly, I don’t even do that par­tic­u­larly well.

An­other opined, “Oh, so he’s a jour­nal­ist. That means he likes to blow things up just to get a story, when it’s not re­ally a story.” At first, I was proud that she called me a jour­nal­ist, un­til I re­al­ized my pro­fes­sion ranks be­hind tele­mar­keters and porch pack­age thieves in the lat­est polls.

One gen­tle­man saw the en­dorse­ment and sim­ply wrote, “Hell, no!” I’m not sure ex­actly what he knows about me, but I “liked” his com­ment. I thought that might add some sun­shine to his day. Truth be told, any po­lit­i­cal as­pi­ra­tions I may have had were wiped out long ago. I have al­ways ad­mired can­di­dates, but never wanted to be one. As a child in my par­ents’ coun­try store, I watched one un­sus­pect­ing hope­ful hand a card to the wrong lady. Be­fore he could sput­ter out his name, she slapped the card back in his hand. “Don’t give me this pro­pa­ganda,” she said. “If you’re not a crook now, you will be by the time you leave of­fice!” I’m not sure my skin is thick enough to en­dure a daily dose of that.

Plus, I lack a key in­gre­di­ent that seems to help can­di­dates win the White House: an ador­ing spouse. Don’t get me wrong. My wife loves me, and has done so for 30 years. (We’ve been mar­ried for 35, but five of those years were rough. Hey, I’m just jok­ing, Honey!)

You see, my wife is hon­est to a fault. Plus, she sees and rec­og­nizes my faults, and is not afraid to share them with the world. Re­mem­ber how Nancy Rea­gan used to cast that ador­ing gaze to­ward Ron­ald when he was mak­ing a cam­paign speech? Ev­ery word he spoke was pure gold, in her eyes. The same could be said for Laura Bush, Ros­alynn Carter and many other first lady hope­fuls.

I’m not sure my wife could hold back the truth. As soon as I would prom­ise to clean up the opi­oid epi­demic, she would stand up and say, “Don’t lis­ten to him! He won’t even pick up his socks!”

Still, for a day or so, my name was floated for the most pow­er­ful of­fice in the world, with a va­ri­ety of re­ac­tions. Now that I’ve of­fi­cially de­clared my firm non-can­di­dacy, here’s the sad part. I have known of some seem­ingly qual­i­fied pres­i­dents who were not in­vited back when vot­ers were given a choice. Even with my glar­ing lack of qual­i­fi­ca­tions, I might not have been the worst one ever.

David Car­roll, a Chat­tanooga news an­chor, is the au­thor of “Vol­un­teer Bama Dawg,” a col­lec­tion of his best col­umns. You may con­tact him at 900 White­hall Road, Chat­tanooga, Ten­nessee, 37405 or [email protected]


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