I have decided that it is time for me to come forward and endorse — watermelon. For all of my 60 years I have not cared for the taste or texture of the big green melon and have told anyone who asked that I can’t stomach it. Quite a few of my family and friends like it though, and I hear it’s a pretty good fruit, so it now has my endorsement and you should eat it.

I’ve never been what I would call a political zealot, didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to staged debates or campaign ads on television before this year, instead choosing to research candidates through such mundane things as past performance, voting records, prior promises kept, treatment of their fellow candidates etc., but this year has been a whole different ball game. This year’s presidential campaign has been reality TV at its finest and I have been drawn to it like never before. While so much of this year’s campaigns have been surreal (substitute laughable if you wish) one particular aspect of politicking has recently caught my eye. It is the political endorsement. I have watched with interest as House Speaker Paul Ryan bestowed his highly valued endorsement on Mr. Donald Trump. It is comforting to know that Senator Bernie Sanders believes Mrs. Hillary Clinton is the best option for The Democratic Party, and I was totally relieved when Mr. Trump finally decided Mr. Ryan, who wasn’t quite there a few days before, actually got there and was, afforded the presidential candidate’s endorsement. My question to these endorsers is not one of who is most suited to run our country (although I will say that I struggle with that more than ever). No, my question is do you really think we believe you!?

It has been painfully obvious to me during the campaign process that Speaker Ryan does not care for Mr. Trump or his views on how to run the country. Mr. Trump does not like Speaker Ryan because Speaker Ryan doesn’t like him. Mr. Sanders doesn’t seem to favor any of Mrs. Clinton’s policy views nor her past record and yet it seems so important in the political world that the various endorsements are bestowed. Going back to the political zealot thing, I certainly understand those diehard party voters wanting their party on the same page, I probably have opposite party friends who wouldn’t endorse me for dog warden over Michael Vick if he were in their party, but to the rest of you out there, isn’t it kind of off putting to see how phony our candidates must be just to keep those big party dollars rolling their way. Honestly, will Mr. Trump’s endorsement of Senator Ryan now ensure the majority of Wisconsin voters take up the Ryan banner? Are Mr. Sanders’ supporters now solidly behind Mrs. Clinton since he said it is OK? I have never voted for a candidate because one of my favorite movie stars or athletes said it was a good idea and I would prefer that someone within my own party shy away from endorsing a candidate if it was apparent their views clashed. Maybe in this case, their silence might actually be golden.

It has been fun so far and it’s only going to get better as two supposed old friends try to tear each other apart and make up nasty names for each other. Who needs enemies with these kinds of friends right? At any rate as I mentioned before, I offer my whole hearted endorsement of watermelon, go ahead and eat it knowing it has my solid backing and support. Don’t expect me to eat it though and I’m drawing the line at cantaloupe, I just can’t in good conscience get behind it.

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Steve Cox is member of The Messenger’s Board of Contributors, a lifelong resident of Nelsonville and has just written his first and hopefully last political column.

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