Politics & Other Mistakes: A vision of nothingness

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Sam Hunkler seems to live in a fantasy world.

Hunkler is a semi-retired physician from Beals, a small town in Washington County. I’m sure it’s a pleasant enough place, but that’s not the fantasy world I’m referring to.

Hunkler is running an independent campaign for governor based on the idea that Mainers can find “common ground” on controversial issues if only they had a leader who wasn’t mired in partisan politics.

Al Diamon“Of course, partisan politics have always been a bit dysfunctional,” he writes on his website, “but few knew it.”

Really, the first most of us realized state government didn’t work very well was maybe a week ago, when we noticed our major-party choices for governor in this November’s election were Democratic incumbent Gov. Janet Mills and Republican retread Paul LePage. It was a shock.

But Hunkler has a solution for this dystopian scenario. It’s right there in your hand.

No, not that beer can.

“To return government to the people,” Hunkler explains, “Mainers must become more involved, a true possibility in today’s world. We have the means to do it. Our phones allow us to carry the world in our hands.”

Who knew? Up until now, we thought those things were just for posting hateful memes and trolling ex-lovers. The idea we could use our devices to fix what’s wrong with this state had never occurred to us.

So, how does Sam propose we go about that?

As best I can tell from his website, we do it by asking a lot of vague, open-ended questions such as, “How do we align the heart of the State of Maine to the needs of our children?” Or how about, “How do we find common ground with all entities … representatives, constituents, business persons, educators, workers, students, First people, the elderly, children … ?”

There are lots more of these queries. What there aren’t are any answers. Because Hunkler doesn’t want to impose his own views on anyone. And that’s because Hunkler doesn’t seem to have any views.

“The thing about my opinions and beliefs is they change,” he told the Portland Press Herald.

Unfortunately, we already have lots of elected officials with that same problem.

As should be obvious by now, Hunkler, in spite of his squishy views, is no kind of politician. He’s an Ohio native who has spent 38 years in the medical profession in several states and countries. His qualifications for being governor are nonexistent, but he has demonstrated his determination to govern without them. He almost single-handedly gathered the more than 4,000 signatures he needed to qualify for the ballot.

And he has this vision of the future. Although, it’s a blurry one.

“I just wanted to do something different,” he told the Press Herald. “I’m not even sure what that’s going to look like yet.”

Maybe he should see an optometrist.

Hunkler isn’t accepting donations and is self-funding his campaign to the tune of $5,000 plus transportation expenses. He has no staff, no organization, no experience, and no name recognition.

And as previously noted, he has no firm positions on any controversial issues. Which could prove to be a problem when it comes to finding his mythical kingdom of “common ground.”

Hunkler seems to think that by taking no position on anything, he’ll be ideally situated to negotiate compromises on everything. He doesn’t seem to have noticed that’s not how government works.

To govern, you need power. To gain power, you have to win more than you lose. When successful pols sit down with their opponents, their goal is to give up a little to gain a lot.

But Hunkler has no positions, so he’s playing poker without any chips. When you start negotiating with zero, you can’t make any concessions because you have nothing to concede. If he were governor, the political parties would simply work around him to make the same sorts of self-serving deals they’ve always made.

There’s no way a bunch of idealistic dunderheads with cell phones in their hands would be able to change that.

Nice fantasy, though.

Use your phones to email realistic remarks to [email protected].