“Never say ‘no.’ If you make a promise, the matter is not fixed. It’s for a future day. It affects only a few people. But if you say ‘no,’ you alienate many people right away.”
After 2,000 years, that sage advice still stands.
It came in 64 BCE to the legendary Roman orator Marcus Tullius Cicero from his brother, Quintus, who apparently was a pretty good campaign manager.
We plebeians may carp that we hate politicos who tell us anything we want to hear, but the fact remains that’s what we want to hear.
When voters get dissed, disillusionment develops very rude remedies.
I resemble that remark. In 1982, the two major candidates for governor were basically the same colorless lawyer. Voters at least expect entertainment from those seeking exultation.
So 34 years ago this month, a bi-partisan bunch of malcontents formed the None of the Above for Governor Political Action Committee (NAGPAC). I made sure we raised significant issues (see NevadaLabor.com) but we respected another truism: “Before you can preach, you must entertain.” So advised legendary Hollywood director Frank Capra.
In honor of the Great Reaganesque Recession, I called a press conference at the aptly named Depression Deli. We formed a soup line and I spoke from a soapbox.
It got national press and the only one not laughing to this very day is the humorless guy who won.
From my crate, I noticed a striking brunette who resembled Jacqueline Kennedy.
Thus began a long friendship between the lady, Beverlee “B” Shields, my wife and I. She was married to superstar Nevada cancer doctor John Shields until her death August 24. Her daughter, Lisa, became Diane Sawyer’s right-hand at ABC News and currently serves as a major executive at New York’s Council on Foreign Relations.
B was the crazy friend most people dream of having. We had B. May she dream in peace.
LIFE’S GUIDEPOSTS. I may soon do a whole column listing ways to tell if you’ve lived in town too long. For instance, if you walk into a bar for the first time but its resident drunk calls you by name, think about moving. Another is when you begin reading obituaries before the comics.
On the same day B’s obit ran in the Reno paper, Jim Elliker’s appeared below it. I knew the family in the 1970’s. His mother and father, Gay and Shirl, ran Jewelart in Moana West Center. They stand among the finest people I’ve ever known. Shirl passed away a couple of years ago (Barbwire 2-27-2014). They lost a grand-daughter, Jim’s niece Callie Hutson, not long thereafter.
Jim Elliker will be remembered at an 11:00 a.m. memorial service Wednesday, Sept. 7, at the Sparks LDS church, Rock Blvd. at McCarran. Elliker, 50, died in a fiery Aug. 30 light plane crash in a Sparks RV park. He leaves his wife, Megan, and four children.
May your love and laughter reverberate for 2,000 years.
Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 47-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com. As always, his comments are strictly his own.
E-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org> Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.