The Royals stomped the Chicago White Sox on Monday, 10-1. I’m ready for them to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals in four World Series games this fall to complete the season. The crowd was roaring according to what I heard on the radio. What more could we ask for spring’s beginning?
Well, while not as exciting as baseball, I wish we had more public appreciation for the folks who sought an office in Tuesday’s municipal elections.
Voters filled seats for city governments and school boards. Most were lucky to get a pat on the back from a family member or maybe a phone call from a few interested citizens.
Royals third basemen Mike Moustakas homered to the opposite field on Monday for the Royals, setting off euphoria.
Those who won election on Tuesday will be getting packets of paper and e-mails that require detailed scrutiny to keep our towns and schools running. “Moose” will be wildly cheered when he has a good game and even applauded when he’s down.
A public servant voting on difficult financial and personnel questions will hear little if things go well and bitter griping if things go wrong. Guess which person our youngsters are aspiring to be?
I don’t begrudge us the excitement of baseball.
A 98 mile-per-hour fastball is amazing. The crack of a bat against ball makes all our heads turn. How we admire the soft “thunk” of a bunt and a human speeding down the first base line.
Oh the relief a double play provides if our guys turn it.
However, if the Royals fail to win another pennant (doesn’t the word another sound sweet), our property values will not drop. Neither will we knock the front wheels out of line on the jalopy because a pothole went unfilled. Our boys in blue’s won-loss record will not affect negotiations on whether or not Google Fiber or some other kind of super high speed Internet arrives in our neighborhood.
A big year for our bullpen might prompt our kids to practice pitching a baseball or a softball into an old mitt in a backyard game of catch. T-ball hitting practice under the old backyard oak tree anyone?
Yet the parental or grandparental satisfaction of seeing a child’s good grade card counts for more. That depends in part on how well those elected to school boards provide policy guidance.
We want our kids to succeed in life. Sports help, but academics help far more.
Plus schools today provide far more to our children than math, writing and science. They are society’s incubators for tomorrow’s leaders that keep our towns and businesses working.
Very few of us have ever filed for elected office and asked people to vote for us. Many of us have played baseball or softball with people cheering in the stands. A far smaller percentage of us have sat at tables or podiums to decide public policy with onlookers and media (like me) scrutinizing our choices.
Our society is cynical to a terrible fault about politics because of an extra-divisive time in American politics and loud voices spinning fiction with fact in shrill voices. But if we want good government, which makes good communities, we must elevate the praise and status for public servants.
So, if you have a neighbor, friend or relative who stood for election on Tuesday or is already serving, pat them on the back. Win or lose, they’ve been willing to serve at a grassroots level of democracy that keeps daily life running smooth.
That leaves us free to tune Denny Mathews in on the radio on a summer night and dream of baseball glory for our team. Good luck to all elected on Tuesday, and let’s go Royals.
Bill Graham, who lives in the Platte City area with his family, may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.