One of the major pitfalls, (autograph seekers, photo-ops, speaking engagements, etc) of being a famous newspaper columnist is that people just naturally assume you are quite intelligent and wise beyond measure. Those who know me, know that in my case it's not true at all. But still people write to me, call me and email me, asking my advice on all sorts of things. Heck, sometimes I feel like the male version of "Dear Abby." But I have to do what I've been called to do and let the chips fall where they may. In other words, it's a dirty, tough job but someone's gotta do it. Here are a few examples of letters I've (kaff, kaff) received lately.
"Dear T.W.I.S.I. (The Way I See It): With the election coming soon, I don't like either candidate. Really, I don't. So, with that in mind, should I vote for the lesser of two evils"? No, you certainly do not have to vote between the lesser of two evils. If you examine the official ballot carefully, you will notice that there are about five or six other people on the ballot for President. So you actually get to pick the lesser of five or six evils instead of just two. There, don't you feel better now??
"Dear TWISI: I am so confused. Both the President and the Governor accuse each other of, well, lying, to put it mildly. Who do I believe and how do I decide which one to vote for?" Wow, that's a toughie. You could watch MSNBC for a while and then switch to FOX News but that might even confuse more. But there are several ways you can figure this thing out. First (and it takes a little longer) is what I call the "Eeenie, Meenie, Miney Moe" method. But perhaps the quicker and maybe more reliable way is to get a quarter, (penny, nickle and dime work too), and use the heads or tails method of voting. Another way, which is a little controversial is to find out who your spouse or significant other is voting for and then vote the exact opposite. This always makes for interesting conversations!!
"Dear TWISI: Please be serious now. This is my third letter to you and I really don't think you're very smart, wise or even funny. I really would like some help in the upcoming election. This is your last chance for some sage advice. Don't make me come over to your house!!" Ok ok. A serious answer. This year's election is an important one, (as they all are), and you should take the time, find out how each candidate stands on various issues and finally decide which issue(s) are important to YOU. Some people look at the general view of each person, gather as much information as they can on all the issues while another person might vote only on a specific issue. Maybe you liked the way one person handled himself during the debates better than the other. Maybe you don't like the negative ads and feel this person wasn't as negative. No person running for President is perfect, so the "lesser of two evils" thing is not the way to look at it. That's a defeatist method. Heck, no husband is perfect. Just ask Deb!! But you have to decide which issues are the most important to you and then vote for the person most consistent with the way you feel. You see, it's all about how you feel and what you think. And here's the good news about living in the United States...your vote counts exactly the same as each one of the candidate's vote. You cannot ask for anything more than that. Oh, and don't let anyone TELL you how to vote or make fun of your views. You have the right to your own views.
"Dear TWISI: My one vote won't make a difference. Do you really think I should make the effort to vote?" YES, YES, YES, YES, YES!!!
"Dear TWISI: The Yankees lost. Now what?" Well, it's true, there is no joy in Mudville; might Casey has struck out, but just remember, there really is a "just wait till next year," and tonight as you say your prayers, just thank the good Lord, you weren't born a Cubs Fan. Can you imagine their dismay year after year after year. Folks, That's The Way I See It. Let me know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 319-334-4117. Thanks for the calls and emails about last week's story about Rose. She was quite a lady. Have a great week.