On not being bedazzled

If you have never in your life done anything you’re ashamed of or could have done better, you’re welcome to reject any and all Democratic Presidential candidates for their personal flaws. But no one gets to her 50s (or even 40s, or 30s) without regrets—no one honest, anyway. So let’s try to judge these people based on their actions and words in the public arena—what they’ve done for others, and what they propose to do.

This is not a taste test; we’re not consumers, entitled to titillation or inspiration or glossy packaging before we purchase. We’re citizens looking for a sister- or fellow-citizen—as flawed as ourselves—who most closely approximates our public ideals, plans and goals. For some reason I think of Tennyson’s Ulysses:

Come my friends, tis not too late
To seek a newer world….
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved heaven and earth, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Today someone expressed enthusiasm for a candidate by saying, “Who cares about votes?” I don’t understand that: every day that goes by, every terrible judicial appointment, every regulatory rollback, every white-supremacist speech or action, shows how critical it is to care about votes.

So let’s stop sipping and spitting and get down to the business of choosing an able candidate. Able to be elected, and able to do what matters as President when she is.

Author: Kelly Kleiman

Kelly Kleiman is a freelance writer on the arts, feminism, travel and social justice. Her reportage and essays have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Christian Science Monitor, among other dailies; in magazines, including In These Times and Dance; in the alternative press; on the BBC; and on Chicago Public Radio, where she’s one of the “Dueling Critics” and a contributor to the Onstage Backstage theater blog. She is also a consultant to charities and editor and publisher of The Nonprofiteer, a blog about charity, philanthropy and nonprofit management. She holds undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Chicago.

2 thoughts on “On not being bedazzled”

  1. Dear Kelly: you have marked your post of 7 March as “sticky” so it stays the first one viewers see, regardless of more recent posts by anybody, including you. Please fix this. It’s a good post, but not to the extent of immortality.

    Procedure: Log in. View All Posts. Select “sticky”. Select the settings cogwheel top right. Uncheck the sticky box.

    1. Wow! I have a big backlog of reading! I was wondering why this blog had gone silent for so long. That was a helluva post to be at the top of the blog for so long, too, esp. given the blogger’s confusion about Somalis…

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