First, I wish to state that anyone who takes this essay seriously will be prosecuted to the full limit of the law or maybe even awarded a Nobel Prize — whichever seems most appropriate to the interpretation.
School administration is entry-level politics and, having survived 26 years as a school administrator, I am well qualified to teach the rudiments of political skill. Without ever being a fireman, I have taught a college-level course for firemen, so why not politics.
Right now, the political scene is rife with accusations of lying, so lying is surely a pratfall for beginners at this time. You will, of course, need to circulate some lies. But the trick is to have others do it for you. Some truth is just as dangerous as lies, so you need to be careful here, too.
To test for the danger in truth, you need a stalking horse. A stalking horse is one who circulates a dangerous truth to see how the public reacts. You will do well to remember that truth can get you into a lot more trouble than lies because the truth may be harder to undo than a lie.
If you must get a rumor started, go with the caveat, “I have been told by reliable people.” All successful politicians have fall guys in place to back up alibis, but they do not come cheap. Political tricks are very expensive, and you will need to get the backing of some deep pockets if you expect to amount to anything.
All lawyers know that you need to hire your own expert if you are dealing with an issue that tolerates experts.
Do not overlook the trivia of politics; learn how to spell potato, and keep up with how many states are in the United States. Be sure to count Massachusetts and Mississippi as states.
Be sure that you know the meaning of the words circumlocution and disambiguation. If you really get hemmed in, you might try clarification instead of disambiguation and beating around the bush instead of circumlocution. Don’t try this with men wearing expensive Armani suits and Gucci shoes, however. In my next essay, I will try to tell you how to keep old wounds from healing and perhaps closing out a big segment of your support.
If you want to be a statesman, that is a whole different ball game, and I am sorry that I am not qualified to be of any help to you. I do, however, wish you well.
TOBY HIGHTOWER is a retired educator and former Hopkinsville High School teacher. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Write to him at 222 S. 25th St., Apartment 434, Terre Haute, IN. 47803.