Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Politics of a First Grader

"Punishing honest mistakes stifles creativity. I want people moving and shaking the earth and they're going to make mistakes." 
Ross Perot

I recently stumbled upon this quote by Ross Perot. Aaahhh, Ross Perot. A man who has always had a bit of real estate in my heart. I have been one of his ardent followers since I was six. 

When I was six, my elementary school had a simulated election where we voted for the president. I hadn't quite figured out my political ideals but I was working out various political theories in my mind. In fact, I hadn't even heard of the people on my ballot and I wasn't even sure how to spell their names - much less write them in my primitive penmanship. 

So, the time came to cast out ballots in the election. "Whom should I vote for?" I anxiously asked myself. George Bush, Bill Clinton or Ross Perot? I had no idea who they even were or what they believed. But I knew something. I knew that Ross Perot was really rich. So, based on that knowledge and that knowledge alone, I voted for Ross Perot. 

Here's why:
I heard that he had money. I also knew that it took money to pay something called taxes. I knew my parents didn't like paying taxes. Hmm. So, if Ross Perot had money and you needed money to pay taxes then he would probably charitably use his own money to pay all the American tax bills therefore reducing the tax rate. You see, he would pay off so much of the taxes there would only be a minute portion that the American people had to pay. Ross would use his money. "What a magnanimous man - he's got my vote!" I enthusiastically thought to myself. 

It was a nice idea - even if only for a moment. But, my universe collapsed right onto me one day during phonics class. I learned that Bill Clinton had won. Comrade Ross Perot would not lead the movement. He would never get the chance to use his own money to pay everyone else's taxes. I wondered for years if my theory would have worked? Would a rich president say "Oh America, don't worry. I'll pay your taxes with my own money. You go back to watching reality TV and drinking boxed wine. S'all good!" 

Which brings me back to the quote at the beginning of this insipid essay I have just written. Go ahead and make mistakes. Why? Because Ross said so. 

No really though. Ross didn't win and become president. Was that a mistake? Who's to say. But go ahead and take a whack at something where you might just make a mistake. Maybe some six year-old will believe in your cause.

That's worth something.