Having reached the dog days of summer, my brain has officially been roasted/bolied/baked into a squishy mush where I can hardly formulate a complete thought on an issue before it reverts back to the only thought that overrides all other thoughts: “God, it’s hot.” I am sure you are feeling the same way, as it’s a hard time in the South for thinkin’, readin’ and writin’.

But since there are important things going on in our country, state and city I have whipped up some little random nibbles that are easy for the left hemisphere of that organ in our noggins to digest. 

It’s a party (or 3 or 4) in the USA
Like the majority of folks in the country, I am not really overly thrilled with either of the choices we have for president. And I say “either” instead of “any” because I realize there are a couple of other folks out there also running against Trump and Clinton. I thought about casting a vote for one of them or writing in my dog’s name, but I know at this late date, it would most likely just be a protest vote and would only end up helping to put one of the evils — either the lesser or the greater, depending on your perspective — into office. And that seems like a cop-out.

But I do think some good is going to come out of this very ugly and depressing election, as it is going to serve to create more viable third- and fourth-party options in 2020 and beyond. 

I have never really understood why the Libertarian party hasn’t been able to get off the ground. Well, yes I do. It’s because it has aligned itself with marijuana legalization activists so closely, and everyone has written it off as the party of Cheech and Chong, so it has never been taken seriously. 

But really, despite your feelings on pot, the party’s core values of being fiscally conservative and socially liberal really appeal to a lot of people of my generation, and I would imagine to younger ones. Don’t mismanage and/or waste my tax money and don’t tell me how to live my life or legislate my morality; I can handle that myself! It would be an appealing option for a lot of folks. 

 And I think if a moderate candidate with more name recognition than Gary Johnson were to run as a Libertarian — say, like a John Kasich — he or she could be a real contender in the next election. Probably a little distance from Cheech and Chong would help. 

And by the same token (or shall I say “tokin’”?), I think there will also be room for the progressive wing of the Democratic party to break off and offer up a candidate more pleasing to the Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren-type supporters. 

Social media will only aid in this, as candidates will not have to rely so heavily on media coverage or expensive advertising to get their message out. Though we have already seen the election battleground move from television to our iPhones this cycle, we will see it even more in the next. And as grim as this election seems, it does give me hope for the next one.

The Bentley Effect
It remains to be seen if the Luv Guv will be able to hang onto the governorship until the end of his term in 2018 or if he will be removed from office. I think we all wish he would spare us from further nationwide embarrassment and just resign, but if he hasn’t by now, that doesn’t look very likely. 

But no matter what happens, 2018 will be here in the blink of an eye and we will be asked once again to send someone to Montgomery to lead our state who we hope won’t do anything that deserves jail time. 

The irony is Bentley seemed like the perfect scandal-free choice back when he was first elected. He had his sweet little wife of many decades who drove him around the state during his grassroots campaign, and he was Mr. Sunday School and a small-town doctor. But somehow he still ended up being corrupted, even if it was all for love. (Barf!)

But other governors and state officials have found themselves in trouble because of their “love” of money and/or power. And somehow we keep choosing folks who find themselves in a variety of compromising positions, whether it’s being in bed with lobbyists metaphorically or advisers literally. So what should we look for in our next governor?

 We need someone who has accomplished or done something meaningful before he or she got into politics — someone who isn’t terrified by the idea of one day not being an elected official. Those who tremble in fear at that thought make for the absolute worst leaders, as they will do anything to keep it. It’s a grody vanity thing. 

And to avoid the Luv Guv situation, we need someone who has lived a little more, so the first time a young aide (even if said “young aide” is 50ish) flirts with him (or her), he or she will know better than to go down that road. Intellectual AND emotional wisdom is key.

And we need someone who comes into office financially secure, otherwise those sweet “arrangements” with lobbyists become far too tempting.
 
It doesn’t seem like too much to ask, but in reality, confident, accomplished people with a life who are financially secure don’t really want to jump into that mess in Montgomery. But I sure hope someone will and save us from yet another national embarrassment.

Word on the (city) street
So the latest word on the street is that former Mobile mayor Sam Jones is going to run against current Mayor Sandy Stimpson in the election next year. I don’t look forward to watching that battle being refought, as it was quite divisive for the city. 

I don’t think Jones was a horrible person; he just wasn’t a very energetic, exciting or communicative mayor. The conversation I had with my husband about this last night perfectly illustrates this point.

We were watching the news and the reporter was standing on the railroad tracks downtown and her lead-in was, “Mayor Sandy Stimpson wants to bring Amtrak back to Mobile … we’ll have more details coming up.”

Frank said, “Do you ever remember seeing any news report that started with ‘Mayor Sam Jones wants to bring … (anything to or back to Mobile)?’”

“Nope,” I said. 

God, it’s hot outside.