Smile Politely

Here’s something I know about Matt Grandone

I won’t bore you with a long personal account of my time knowing Matt Grandone, who is the Republican candidate for County Clerk. I’ll spare you the stories from the Little League diamond. We grew up in Urbana, and while we were never super close friends, we’ve always been friendly, and I know him to be a kind and warm person, generous and thoughtful. He is a good friend to everyone he knows, well-liked, and by all accounts, a good co-worker to have at the County Clerk’s office.

He won’t get my vote at the polls, because at this point, I just can’t figure out how to allow myself to fill in the bubble next to an (R), when the leader of that party, to point to a recent example, can’t just condemn the slaughter of eleven worshipping Jews — you know, Americans — while attending a campaign rally and joking about how a bad hair day almost made him cancel said campaign rally. Not the slaughter. But rather, his hair.

As a Jew, and an American, I just can’t with that asshole anymore, if I ever could. He’s the figurehead and philosophical leader of that party, so yeah, I just can’t vote for any of them right now.

But the fact that I cannot morally vote for anyone who is running as a Republican right now doesn’t make a candidate like Matt Grandone a bad human. He is not personally racist, or sexist. The Matt Grandone I know isn’t personally complicit about either of those dysfunctions. His statement about the Ammons’ ad attack was. Not racist, not sexist, but complicit. And that is very different, and worth pointing out. It was a weak statement, because it didn’t condemn the attack. He just stated that he wasn’t behind it. That’s no longer enough. As frustrating as that might sound to some of us aging white men, it’s the truth.

We — and by we I mean everyone, but in particular, aging white men — owe it to those who are constantly dealing with oppression to stand up for them at literally every possible moment in their defense, regardless if we are playing baseball against them, or if we are running against them for a political office. It doesn’t matter if the content of the bigotry is black on black or Jew on Jew or woman on woman or blue collar on blue collar. It’s all worthy of justice, and justice is what we should be after, now more than ever. Tomorrow more than today. Next year more than this year. And on and on.

I felt compelled to write this because it’s important for me, personally, to just state for the record that I think that Matt Grandone is a decent person and worthy of respect. I publish the magazine, and we put out a lot of content, and this is something that is important to me. I don’t expect people to always behave perfectly and always know the best way to do things. And I will be damned if I think that well timed satire about our collective struggles in the right context are somehow out of bounds. But I expect people to learn, and knowing Matt Grandone, he will embrace that. He’s an aging white man too, and I don’t think we’re going to get far without listening and then holding each other accountable to a better way of living.

Regardless, that’s the final word on this particular shit show from us at Smile Politely. If you want to know more about the innerworkings of this weird ass story related to the advertisement that ran last week disparaging Aaron Ammons’ history as a union employee at UIUC, you can read that at the News-Gazette, who also owns WDWS, who sold the disgusting ad to a disgruntled man. It’s right up their alley, sadly.

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