Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Politics Is A Dirty Business

Hi Bill

Pat and I became obsessed with the presidential campaign between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump during the last few months. We were certain that Hillary would be elected. Who in their right mind would vote for the guy? Well there seems to have been a strong hidden undercurrent of support for the guy that we never even considered to be possible. We all know the results of the election and now we must accept him as our Commander and Chief and even hope for his success.

Well, you are probably thinking that this blog post is another thought piece about the now completed (Thank God!) presidential election. However, it is not about that campaign or election. Instead it is about my one and only political (well semi-political) campaign back when I was a senior in high school. I realize that there is really no comparison between the now completed presidential election and my little high school run for office. However, the presidential election somehow reminded me of my high school political exploits.

During my senior year in high school, I decided to run for one of the Student Association officer positions for some reason. Thinking back, I don’t think it was my idea to seek a Student Association officer position. I believe it was my friends, Mac and Frank, who encouraged me to give up my integrity and run for office. I really had not considered participating in anything like that. However, I had held officer positions in my DeMolay chapter and I thought that probably provided a decent foundation for a run at a position among my senior class high school Student Association officers. At that time, I really had no idea what those Student Association officers did. I don’t remember ever paying much attention to the Student Association previously.

Well, with encouragement from my "homeboys", I decided to run for a Student Association officer position. However, I remember trying to decide which office to aim at. Let’s face it, I was never presidential in any way and I did not want any important responsibilities to worry about. So the President position was off the table! The Secretary position probably required taking and typing notes of meetings and distributing them to classmates, which seemed like too much responsibility for me. Forget that one too! The Treasurer position involved collecting dues, keeping track of the budget and paying bills and I didn’t feel responsible enough to handle any of that stuff. So that one was also nixed! That left the Vice President position, which seemed to be responsible for nothing and no one. Bingo! That’s The Office I Wanted!  

With Frank and Mac as my campaign chairmen I began my campaign for Vice President. While agonizing over the decision to run for the office, I had forgotten that the senior class officers were usually the previous year’s officers. Therefore, my friend Marshall W, who had served as the Vice President of the junior class, was expecting to be reelected to the senior class office. I worried that Marshall and his friends were not going to be happy about my competing for the office. Marshall was (and still is) a good guy (and also a big and strong guy) and I did not particularly want to irritate him. It was a little awkward, but I don’t remember any serious friction between Marshal and me during my election challenge.

Frank, Mac and I decided that we needed to create some cool campaign posters instead of the usual “Please Vote for Me” posters. Believe it or not, I still have one of the posters that we created. Frank, Mac and I came up with the ideas for this poster and we got some help with the drawing from my father:

One of my campaign posters
Click to Enlarge

I also had to deliver a “Please Vote for Me!” speech over the school PA system. Again, believe it or not, I still have my hand-printed copy of that speech, which I typed below:

This is Clark Hallman, Class of 67 Vice Presidential candidate.

Today is the Big Day. The day of the General Election. The day when you must choose the officers who will lead our class in not only the coming year, but also in the years that follow graduation.

I know that today at the polls you will choose officers who are capable and worthy of leading our class. Our class is the greatest class in the world and I’m proud to be a member of it.

The office of senior class Vice President, to which I am seeking election is a very important post.

I do not feel that it is necessary for me to name my qualifications. You as a voter should have checked into those yourself. Also I’m not going to make any promises except one, and that is that if I’m elected I’ll work to the best of my ability to serve our class.

I decided to run for this office because I wanted to do something for my class and I feel that as it’s senior class Vice President I could serve it best.

My opponent has served his class both in sports and as Vice President. He has done a fine job.

However, now it’s my turn. Please give me this opportunity by voting for me in the election today.

Thank you.

What a bunch of crap, huh!  I can’t believe how I totally avoided any description of experiences or qualifications that I thought might have prepared me for a post among the class officers. 

Me, Gail D, Scott M and Barbara M
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Well to my surprise I was elected Vice President. I joined Scott M. (President), Barbara M. (Treasurer), and Gail D. (Secretary) as a 1967 class officer. I tried to carry out all the important duties of the office, but without much enthusiasm. I appeared at the Student Association meetings, but participated as little as possible. I attended all (or at least most) of the social events, i.e., dances etc., that the Student Association sponsored. (That was a tough duty, huh!) I like to think that I also helped some with other responsibilities and events. However, my previous assessment of the Vice President’s responsibilities was accurate. I really didn’t have much to do and that’s what I was shooting for at the time. 

Actually, I believe probably the main reason I decided to try to become a class officer was because Barbara M. was one of those officers, but we don’t need to turn over that rock right now! 

Luckily, I was good friends with most of my classmates, even though they were a fairly large group, as you can see from the following class photographs: 

My 1967 High School Class
Click to Enlarge

When I think about those high school years I have good feelings, but also some regrets, because I should have been more serious about some responsibilities and I should have treated some of my classmates better. I pretty much just coasted through high school, but somehow I must have acquired at least an inkling of responsible behavior that I was able to enhance during college and my adult life.

Bill, I would enjoy hearing (or reading) about your experiences in a much larger high school than I experienced.

I hope you and your family are well, happy and prosperous.

Take Care.



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