My Privacy and My Good Name

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

I suppose that I’m not the first person to sit in her arm chair and consider the possibility of running for President of the United States to save the country. It’s fairly easy to lounge on the sidelines and point out all of the flaws of those who accept the mantle of leadership and responsibility for our great big crazy democratic republic. It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it. Why not me? 

Of course getting to the White House requires running through a gauntlet of campaigning and extreme vetting by the media and the opposition. It’s unlikely that anyone will make it all the way without some real or imagined scandal being disclosed. The sport of politics is vicious these days to say the least, and throwing one’s hat in the ring takes a certain level of courage and hubris, but I’ve thought about it now and again nonetheless.

Last night I had a recurring dream of totally rearranging the furniture in my home. I was moving heavy pieces from one room to another and shuffling objects around to create a more pleasing arrangement, an update or modernization of what I have. I encountered one problem and interruption after another in spite of my careful planning. I had a vision that looked great on paper but didn’t quite come together in reality. Unexpected disasters took my focus in unanticipated directions and so even after an entire dream cycle of working very hard I still had a mess on my hands when the morning came. I awoke feeling exhausted and somehow defeated. Sometimes I imagine that is what it must be like to be President. 

Still, from a far away perspective it feels as though I can see the problems and solutions for our country better than those who have inhabited the Executive Office. Maybe the fact that I even think that I have the answers is a good sign that I possess enough audacity to throw my hat in the ring. I’m not so sure, however, that I am willing to put myself and my family through the wringer of inspection and criticism that will surely follow even though my life is truly an open book. I can say without hesitation that what you see with me is what you get, and yet I feel certain that an enterprising journalist or pundit will somehow interpret my past in ways that make me out to be someone that I am not. At least that appears to be the way things work in the world of politics. 

So I will begin my political ambitions with full disclosure of the aspects of my biography that may cause some ripples and tongue clucking. I admit that in my youthful fervor I was opposed to the war in Vietnam. My friend Claudia and I eagerly joined groups that spoke out against the escalation that sent more and more troops into the jungles for a cause that increasingly seemed to be fruitless. In truth my participation in anti-war events was entirely limited to agreeing that I did not want to lose another American in battles that seemed ultimately hopeless. When the marching and protesting began I left the ranks because I was not keen on becoming involved in potential violence. I was a rather wishy washy proponent of pacifism that had more to do with being around cute young men than real fervor. 

What will no doubt become public in a campaign is a photo from a University of Houston yearbook from the nineteen sixties that shows me as a member of the Students for a Democratic Society. I sit beaming front and center with my friend Claudia, not realizing at all that some considered the group to be communist and verging on terrorist. Ultimately I would come to learn that many though of the SDS as a very unAmerican group, but I was just a dumb eighteen year old kid who thought she was saving the world by joining, taking the photo, and then promptly backing out of any commitments. I mean I was also good buddies with cute guys from the young Republican Club as well.

I have always been open about my mother’s mental illness. I suppose that given the tragic state of her mind it might be argued that I am a bit genetically predisposed to a bit more quirkiness of personality than some. I do sometimes become overly emotional about things and I overthink all of the time, but those traits also make me enormously compassionate and logical as well. I’ve made it a long way without succumbing to mental illness and I actually believe that my familiarity with it is a plus. I understand quite well the incredible need for reforms in how we help those whose minds are ravaged by chemical imbalance.

The one thing that even I can’t seem to defend is my age. In truth I agree that I am too old for the job. Ironically I am actually younger than the two fellows who most recently ran for the highest office in the land. I am of the mind that we’ve now given five Baby Boomers a chance to set things right in our country and it’s time to turn over the reigns to Generation X. I’m not like Queen Elizabeth who clings to her title until her heir is too old to even matter. I truly believe that there is a season for every generation, and now we must look to younger souls. The world will soon belong to them and their children. They should have more of a say in how that world should look. 

So after briefly announcing my candidacy I am compelled to withdraw on the grounds that deferring to the next generation is most certainly the wisest path. I’ll be happy to consult with anyone willing to take the reins, but for now I’m content to keep my privacy and my good name and return to my arm chair to kibitz.

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