I have to admit that I am often confounded and almost always disappointed when it comes to the nuts and bolts of politics and the machinery that cranks out candidates and sets the tone and direction for their campaigns. It was that way with the 2004 Presidential election where both Kerry and Bush went to great lengths to out-do each other in the “manly factor” – you know, shooting birds, shooting hoops, walking tall, taking tough -– in their effort to win votes.
I didn’t and still don’t get it. Unless elections are going to be decided by a shoot out or a buzzer shot, I don’t find much value in all this macho junk. Instead, for the 2008 presidential race, I’m going to be weighing the “grandmotherly factor.” Make no mistake; this has nothing to do with gender. Rather, it’s my measurement to determine who in that crowded field of contenders is going to care for us “kids” the same way my beloved, widowed Irish grandmother cared for her 11 children and two dozen plus grandchildren.
No matter how bare her cupboard, her family never went to bed hungry and neither did the “hobos” -– men forced into homelessness after the depression – who came to her kitchen door for a warm smile and a hot meal. In her tiny little home, there was always room for one more. Conversely, there was never room for favoritism. My grandmother didn’t love anyone us of best. She loved us all equally and made sure that each and every one of us received the same gifts for birthdays and holidays… no matter how few pennies she had in her purse.
She had no bag of tricks, just bags of yummy spearmint leaves, and the only thing up her sleeve was a lace hanky she used to wipe our tears.
My “grandmotherly factor” gives weight to the candidate, who, as president, would…
…sleep with one eye open to make sure the rest of us are sleeping soundly and maybe has those “eyes” in the back of their head to better keep us from harm’s way;
… believe that nothing is so serious that it can’t be resolved over a cup of tea with plenty of milk and sugar;
… reassure us that no matter how many times our hearts will break, there will come a time when our hearts again will sing;
…see to it that we all eat our vegetables and that the vegetables are free of pesticides, herbicides and other poisons;
…send us out to get fresh air – but not before the air is once and for all purified of toxins, particulates and pollutants;
…sing instead of shout; comfort instead of confront; placate instead of dictate; and lead with a soft hand, rather than rule with an iron fist.
I believe that a gentle leader can “make gentle the life of this world.” And I believe this is our only hope if we are to leave a loving and lasting legacy to our grandchildren.
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