Wednesday, May 04, 2011


When I was a junior in high school I ran for Secretary of my senior class.  I’d been elected to the student council each year and I thought I could do a good job taking minutes and all. I’m pretty sure I got on the student council, my entry into politics, my freshman year because I had two well-known, well-liked, handsome older brothers. They paved the way. Even though my personal ambitions were of the ballerina-kind, I was a good kid and listened to all the adult voices that claimed beefing up my list of extra-curricular activities was the way to go if I wanted to get in to a good college. I didn’t know then that Juilliard, the only college I wanted to attend, would not be impressed by my being elected Secretary of my senior class. I campaigned, (hung posters around the school) wrote a speech, and was, to my amazement, elected! No one knew what courage this whole business demanded. I was shy, did not have an approved wardrobe bought in the favored store in nearby Ridgewood, New Jersey, and, a very tricky bit for me, had a bilateral lisp. I dreaded giving my speech to the entire student body (about 400 kids.) But I did it and that was my political career. I have no idea why I won-possibly because I had fewer enemies than the other candidates; my trudge through high school hadn’t included much drama, if any. There was plenty of drama in my dance life, but I didn’t think that counted very heavily outside of various studios.

I’ve always been bowled over by national politicians. They are of another species.  They want to make decisions for other people. Lots of other people. They want to lead public lives and know that they will make enemies and that people will say mean things about them. How about that? Even when they are successful and their side wins an argument, they just wake up to a day filled with new battles.  It must be tremendously difficult to be in the public eye and yet stay out of trouble and easy as pie to slide into a quagmire of one kind or another. Yet these men and women run for office thoughout their lives, ever trying to keep their names on more and more lips, their pictures on more posters, and their speeches heard by bigger crowds. Holy cannoli! Not a life for me.

I’ve been a serious voter though. I do my best. Talk, read, listen; try to figure things out so that I can make educated choices. Not so easy.  I’ve been bamboozled a few times-and I’ve certainly gone with the losing side and had to live with people who I had no faith in being the boss of me, at least for a term or two.  But, you know, Obama is someone I trust. I think I have from the get-go. I like that he’s tall and has a great smile; I like his wife and kids; I like his background and think it’s cool that he’s of mixed race, and I trust him. I believe that he does his best, and I find that I’ve never had reason to question his choices as our President. So, with this, with the killing of an unarmed monster named Osama bin Laden, I’m not going to wrestle with something that until now I’ve not had to deal with. A murderer was murdered in my name and that’s all right with me. I didn’t dance in the streets about it, but I’m not surprised that many people did. If bin Laden had been shooting at the SEALS, I wouldn’t have had to re-organize, accommodate, think about this news at all. It’s just that I grew up believing it was wrong to shoot an un-armed man, and now I need to believe that in this case, in Osama bin Laden’s case, it was an okay thing to do.  And I’m going with that. I’ve stretched a little and that’s fine. I’m on board.

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