Supporters want you to honk, wave

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 13, 2016

The last time Mr. Honey was excited about politics of any kind, it was 1992. He put Ross Perot signs up in front of his restaurant, and in our yard.

Mr. Robin Swift, a former state finance director who was a Republican before Republicans were cool in Alabama, never forgave him for that. In his mind, it was Mr. Honey’s vote that gave the world President Bill Clinton.

Fast forward to 2016. Ubiquitous cell phones, a 24-7 news cycle, and social media have forever changed our lives and the way we Americans elect presidents. Mr. Honey is feeling political again, but this time, he feels the Bern.

For the life of me, I can’t figure how he got from being a Perot supporter to a Sanders supporter, even though I’ve lived every day of that evolution. I quizzed him about it recently.

“Well,” he said. “Perot was a short guy, like me.”

Yes, there’s that. But Perot was an independent running against the establishment, who thought he could quickly fix problems in Washington. When President George H.W. Bush and candidate-Clinton suggested he lacked the political experience to make progress, Perot said it was true.

“I don’t have any experience in gridlock government, where nobody takes any responsibility for anything and everybody blames everybody else,” he said. “I don’t have any experience in creating the worst public school system in the industrialized world, the most violent, crime-ridden society in the industrialized world. But I do have a lot of experience in getting things done. … I’ve got a lot of experience in not taking 10 years to solve a 10-minute problem.”

He sounds way more like The Donald than The Bern, don’t you think?

But Sanders is Mr. Honey’s candidate. Although he is running as a Democrat, the senator from Vermont has spent most of his political life as an Independent who caucused with the Democrats. His wife is a former college president. Read about him and he sounds like a 1960s idealist, yet he has caught on like wildfire in the early contests of 2016. He is a particular favorite of Millennials.

Mr. Honey was an early convert, and he is doing all he can to help. Last summer, he drove to New Orleans for a front seat at a Sanders town hall meeting (and a few good meals, no doubt).

On the morning of the Iowa caucuses, I heard him tell someone on the phone that he had been busy “trying to help Bernie” because it was caucus day. I don’t think he knows a soul in Iowa, but he was busy filling up his social media feed with information about Sanders, just in case.

This Monday, he plans to be busy again. It will be President’s Day, and he and a few others are planning a honk and wave event at noon on the Court Square. They’ll be out there with big smiles and a few signs, and they’d like for you to honk and wave at them as you round the square.

At the very least, they should be more entertaining than the endless debates and breathless, minute-by-minute coverage of campaigns. So honk and wave, y’all. Even if you don’t agree with Bernie’s politics, this gathering of happy enthusiasts is bound to make you laugh or smile.


Michele Gerlach is publisher of The Star-News.