Home The Columnists Behind The Mike Surviving Politics

Surviving Politics


By: Michael Aun


Those of us who overdosed on politics are looking forward to a welcomed reprieve from all the political pontificating that has inundated the airways for the past two years.

The anger and frustration that accompanies all the moaning and groaning is not going to change the results no matter how much the losers scream and yell.

The only winners in the process are the pundits who sit on their soapbox playing the role of “talking head,” most of whom have never run for anything in their lives.

The other winners are the networks who sell advertising to all the candidates who dump billions each election cycle, trying to convince you to vote for this or that.

Having unsuccessfully offered for political office back in 1980, I found it is cheaper to buy a politician than it is to be one. I fruitlessly tried to unseat Larry Koon, a long serving member of the South Carolina House of Representatives.

While I fell short, it was not until 24 years later in 2004 that Nikki Haley did dethrone the long serving Koon for the House District 87 seat. Haley was only 8 years old when I ran against Koon in 1980.

Mrs. Haley went on to serve as Governor of South Carolina and most recently served as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, where she accorded herself quite successfully before leaving her post.

Many pundits do not understand why Haley would step away while she was arguably at the top of her political game. Could it be that good people with good hearts deserve a break from all the non-sense?

The so-called experts find that too difficult to believe. They immediately accuse her seeking anything and everything. The current evidence suggests that she just decided to walk away.

Some would have you believe she is positioning herself for a presidential run in two years. That is a pretty tall hill to climb, but certainly not out of the question. Maybe she just wants a break from all the nonsense.

Perhaps the real answer lays in what has not yet happened, i.e. the political unknowns of the next two years. What will the balance of the first term for Donald Trump bring? Trump wants what all first term Presidents want- a second term.

For the politically naïve among us, I choose to take Mrs. Haley at her word. For my own part, I was actually stunned at the tactics used in my own modest campaign some 28 years ago. I came away with a new respect for anyone who offers for political office and a firm decision that my first race would be my last.

The truth is no matter what position you take on an issue, some are going to be mad and some are going to be glad. It is the nature of the beast. If your skin is not thick, the political arena is no place for the meek.

My grandfather (Elias S. Mack, Sr.) and my uncle (Elias S. Mack, Jr.) were in politics, each elected as Mayor of Lexington, SC exactly 40 years to the day apart. I may have been blind to the dark side of politics in those days but it seemed all sides were a bit more civil, i.e. they could agree to disagree.

Nowadays, the only time the word “civil” comes up is when today’s politicians are having a “civil war.” There is nothing civil about what exists today and it does not appear to be changing.

Michael Aun, CSP®, CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame® is the author of the Customer Service book “Have I Gotta Beg to Buy?”