Unlike Whitley, I voted for a Presidential candidate, because I?m in the same situation that most of you are: I don’t know the candidates personally and I feel a need to vote for somebody. I share Whitley’s concern that Bush and Gore may have personality problems, because in today?s climate of scrutinizing and finger pointing, what sane and normal person would run for political office?
I was reminded of this during the Clinton scandals. At the time that Lewinsky fever was sweeping the media and causing old friends to disagree so violently that they stopped speaking to each other, and when parents ran to turn off the nightly news lest their kids receive an unintended sexual education, we buried a dear friend.
Our friend was not a conventionally moral man. He was a good father, but a lousy husband, who made Clinton look like a boy scout. I always used to say, “He?s a good friend, but he?s just not husband material.” I felt that I couldn’t think kindly thoughts about our deceased friend and at the same time find fault with the President. It would have made me feel like a hypocrite.
Our friend was fascinated with politics, and he did run for local office once. He liked to visit a local house of ill repute, and during his campaign, he was confronted there by news reporters with TV cameras, who had obviously been alerted by the rival candidate. His excuse was that he had just stopped by to use the phone, but he didn’t make a convincing case. He lost the election, but it was close (this is Texas, after all). If elected, he would have done a fine job.
What relationship do our personal actions have with our private lives? Is a great painter like Picasso less of an artist because he was a terrible husband? Is a great humorist like Mencken less of a writer because he made some anti-Semitic remarks in private?
As we travel through life, we all pick up bad habits and deficiencies along the way. We seldom take the time to look ourselves over and honestly try to spot our weaknesses, the way a dog might check himself for fleas. We can only hope that our public acts will transcend our private lives, so that what lasts after we?re gone is the best we had to give.
We all have public personas to some extent; few know us as we really are. I tend to be seen as a loyal and longsuffering partner, who has seen much travail without the reward of personal UFO experiences. While this is not altogether untrue, it?s only a small piece of me. At a UFO conference once, a well-meaning reporter kept following me around, extolling my virtues until she began to make me nervous. I finally snapped at her, “I am NOT a candidate for sainthood!”
If we are put on a pedestal, or in front of a TV camera, it’s likely that our weaknesses will be revealed. I know more intimate details about Bush and Gore than I want to. What I want to know more about are their policies, what they plan to do (and will be allowed to do) once they?re elected.
Most people never knew that FDR was in a wheelchair or that he was having an affair with his secretary. Few knew that John Kennedy liked to frolic with a bevy of beauties in the hot tub or that Jackie Kennedy was a chain smoker (or that Queen Elizabeth still is, for that matter). Such things didn’t used to be so important to us; we used to allow people to keep their private lives to themselves. We didn’t expect them to neck with their wives or talk about their religious beliefs in public.
I hope our next election contains less innuendo and more hard information. I would like to base my next vote on something more than spin.
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