I never would have believed this would or could happen to me.
I bailed out of the presidential election this week. Me, the quintessential political junkie all of my long life.
I can still vividly remember when I turned 21, just three months before voting for Dwight Eisenhower. I felt so fortunate about the timing of my birth. Kids born four months later would have to wait until they were almost 25 years old to vote for a president.
I cut my teeth on Jaycee politics and loved it dearly. I did go to one state Republican political convention in my exuberant youth.
Then I decided if I wanted to be an objective newspaperman, I had to sit in the hard chairs on the sidelines to write about it.
In my long newspaper career in Crosby I violated my own code only once. It was a time when we couldn’t find any candidates for mayor.
So I threw my hat in the ring. The late Herb Engberg was rightly enraged and decided to run as a write-in candidate, and he defeated me. Good for him. He was also a pretty good mayor.
I was now able to stay on the sidelines until my son Steve replaced me at The Journal.
Some people inherently hate politics. Not me. I inherently love it. Always have.
The past year has been one of dismay for me, however. It all started when the states started deciding to let the voters take over the nomination process. It has been a dreadful mistake in my view.
The most caring people to me are the activists, whether Republican or Democrat. Binding them to nominate the “people’s choice” when they go to their conventions is a decision we may all someday rue.
When it became clear our voting choice would have to be between Hillary and The Donald I was still partially philosophical.
I knew from the start I couldn’t vote for Hillary. She is everything I’m not.
Although fiscally conservative, I am mostly a social moderate, believing it is good to take care of those who can’t take care of their own needs.
But for me government was always part of the problem, and I simply could not buy into the philosophy of promising cradle to the grave security for everything and to everyone.
So I set about resolutely looking for something redeemable about this mostly unlikeable man named Trump.
Alas, I just haven’t found it. The final straw was when he decided his most important mission was to insult and demean Miss Universe, simply because she chose Hillary.
This is presidential?
So believe me, it is with a lot of reluctance I have chosen to bail out. It isn’t me.
I’ll still vote, probably for Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, even though I know full well it is a throwaway vote and a cop out.
There are a lot of other important contests and issues to decide. It’s just that I have decided unequivocally that America is not going to be a better place, a stronger country, a more principled people under our next president.
The path I have chosen is the only way I can look in the mirror without feeling guilt.
Mind you, I do not fault those who feel differently. Diversity of thought is still one thing I cherish, even while longing to see that thought come together more than it has.
Depending on which poll you follow, about 20 percent of us believe Trump is really the guy and about another 20 percent are cheered at the thought of Clinton being our first woman president.
But that tells me 80 percent of us are not going to feel real happy when the results are in.
That also tells me if we were able to put “none of the above” on the ballot” we probably could have chosen to just start over.
So I very well may still be one of the majority, a somewhat none of the above voter.
Finally, I’m remembering the words of caution from my pastor when he said it is good to have strong convictions, but we still need a crack in our thinking that reminds us we could be wrong.
Believe me, I hope I am.