Why Political Craps and Why Now?

Tom Ufert
Published on: 13th June 2014
To fully understand and appreciate the intent behind my new book Political Craps, I thought it was appropriate to spell out a few things. Probably the first question many people have is "Who is Tom Ufert and what does he know about politics?" This is certainly a relevant question before accepting anything I have to say as credible! Everyone who has had any contact with me in the last thirty years can definitely attest to the fact that I am a "political animal."

Since the age of seventeen I have had a keen interest and burning desire to play a role in the political affairs of my homeland and the world at large. It is my firm belief that politics plays an intrinsic role in the life of every human being on earth. Whether you subscribe to that notion or not is really inconsequential to the reality of human relations. Politics does affect you whether you believe it or not!

Conviction in the reality of that basic fact, has inspired me to become personally involved in the political process. Therefore, from the moment I embarked on my first political campaign to become student body president in high school my path was pretty much set. The overwhelming victory of winning in a four way race without a runoff, the first in Loyola College Prep's history, and leaving office with a budget surplus after an unprecedented year of successful SGA events only served to whet my appetite. I spent five years in college earning my double BA in political science and history, founding and chairing the campus College Republican chapter which led to becoming the state vice-chairman of Young Republicans and serving as an ex-officio member of the senior party's state central committee. In 1986 I was honored to receive an LBJ Congressional Internship, in 1988 was a White House Fellow nominee, and received a Rotary International graduate Fellowship to study East Asian political affairs at Australian National University.
why political craps, every vote counts
Over the last thirty years I have volunteered and served in numerous capacities on eleven different political campaigns for public office ranging from city council, mayor, congress, Senate and president. My past political mentors or candidate employers include former Louisiana congressman/governor/presidential candidate the Hon. Charles "Buddy" Roemer, former advisor to President Ronald Reagan Morton Blackwell, former Louisiana congressman/Senate candidate and assistant chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush the Hon. Henson W. Moore, and former Mayor of Dallas, Texas/Senate candidate and recently retired U.S. Trade Ambassador the Hon. Ron Kirk. My campaign endeavors have always focused on electing the best candidate regardless of political party. I have been a Republican, a Democrat and now consider myself an Independent. In recent years, primarily due to my physical challenges resulting from three life altering disabilities acquired in 1992, I have concentrated my efforts on charity fundraising and private advocacy on behalf of certain causes or individual private citizens. Though life has altered my original career plans to become a public servant or diplomat, my interest and sincere desire to be an active and informed citizen has never diminished.

Without a doubt many people have been amused by my choice of titles. Most of them jump to the natural conclusion that it refers to the commonly held view most everything political these days is a heaping pile of manure. In actuality the title Political Craps has three primary themes to convey. First, as the book cover illustrates I contend that America's present leadership class is playing a very dangerous betting game of "craps" with the future of our nation and its people. Seemingly politicians, and to a great extent the voters themselves, are betting on America's future hoping on a lucky roll of the dice rather than properly investing in concrete solutions. Second, the word "craps" is an acronym for Compromise, Rancor, Affluence, Policy, and Stupidity-there is a chapter in the book addressing each of these subjects. Finally, the third theme indeed deals with the popularly held impression that America's politicians and pretty much everything they tell us is a pile of "crap."

Perhaps the third overriding question by most people is "Why now?" Over the last several years, intensified partisan polarization, congressional dysfunction, and campaign rhetorical animosity have heightened my concerns for the future of this country and the overall trends in international affairs. My 500 word essay for the Rotary fellowship in 1987 arguing that China would be America's greatest geo-political competitor in the 21st Century, has become increasingly more credible with that nation's efforts to exert its influence. In this day and age of an interconnected global economy and twenty-four hour news coverage with the internet that allows for a closer knit human marketplace of ideas, no citizen can afford to bury their head in the sand and pretend that current events don't affect them.

Therefore, I wrote Political Craps to dismiss the foolish claim that "my vote doesn't count!" Every Vote Counts! Dictator and evil tyrant Adolph Hitler was elected Chancellor of Germany by a single vote in the Reichstag! Famous statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke is noted for several pertinent quotes that should strike a chord when people whine and complain about the present nature of our political culture.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

"All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent."

"Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it."

"The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse."

"It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare."

"Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion."

"When the leaders choose to make themselves bidders at an auction of popularity, their talents, in the construction of the state, will be of no service. They will become flatterers instead of legislators; the instruments, not the guides, of the people."

"The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion."

"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little."

"All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter."

It is my firm belief that the United States, and therein the entire global community have reached a crossroad that shall irrevocably affect the fate of all mankind for decades to come. America has long proclaimed itself as the "protector of democracy." Presently as the leading economy in the world and the unquestioned military superpower the United States of America, for the sanctity of world peace and economic prosperity, can no longer afford to languish in a quagmire of divisive partisan gridlock and petty personal squabbling among its leaders. As the guarantors of American democracy, her citizens can no longer tolerate this deplorable status quo. Political Craps is meant to reinvigorate and reignite the inspirational spark of participatory democracy.

There are far too many issues that demand the vigilant attention and educated participation of every American. The world and indeed the hopes of future generations look to us for leadership and partnership in overcoming the challenges of this new century. Our responsibilities and moral imperatives as American citizens invoke us to lead not from behind, not as belligerent overseers, but as trustworthy humanitarians walking hand in hand with the peoples of the world into a new golden age of humanity. It is impossible for us to be the "protectors of democracy" if we forsake our obligations as citizens by remaining apathetic sheep in the face of domestic intransigence and partisan divide. Therefore, I plead with my fellow Americans to take heed to the core principle of Political Craps-Get Informed! Get Involved! Politics Affects You!

The coming election cycles of 2014 and 2016 will set the stage for America's role in global affairs for decades to come. Our children cannot believe in a better future if today's electorate refuses to address the calamities of the last decade. From global terrorism to economic depression, from growing dangerous geological and atmospheric conditions to growing threats of hunger and disease, our generation must take up the mantle we were entrusted to wear.
Leaders must lead for the greater good rather than cower to stagnant ideological dogmas or popularity polls that fall on the wrong side of history. If today's leaders don't have the character and courage to do what is right because it is the right thing to do, then the time has come to pass the torch of leadership onto a better class of thinkers that will. In the end as voters we ultimately decide our own best manifest destiny and must accept the consequences of our action or inaction in the face troubling times. It is my sincere hope and prayer that Political Craps will inspire others to follow their hearts and consciences to do what is best for us all.
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