Someone I know has all the right stuff needed to be a great leader, maybe even president of the United States.
She’s always present without any effort. She looks at you with no agenda eyes. She gives her focused attention to whatever is in front of her. Her emotions are pure and honest. She doesn’t strive to have power over others. She learns from her mistakes. Self-preservation is a concern, but wanting admiration coming from ego is not. She is unidentified with the labels others give her. She doesn’t define her worth by whether she is a boy or a girl, rich or poor, white or black, young or old, American or Russian, human or animal, Republican or Democrat, Christian or Jewish. She is free. She is enlightened. If only someone with her esoteric qualities could run for president. But, sadly, she doesn’t even make pee-pee in the potty yet. She’s only two years old.
Do we evolve or devolve over time?
Is the purpose of adult life to make every effort to recapture the attributes a toddler has in order to affect change for the good? A toddler, even with these characteristics, can’t solve big problems, but an adult with such abilities can.
If you reread the inventory of traits listed above and imagine a national or global leader with those qualities, would you cast your vote for such a person? Do the current candidates have those qualities or at least some of them?
Comparing the two potential presidential contenders to my two-year-old playmate might seem ludicrous, but an adult who has worked on themselves, has retained some of the pure inner conditions we are born with, before life covers our essence, would be in a position to do great deeds.
Putting aside hot-button issues and political party, which one has more character?
Was Trump present and self-aware at the NATO conference when he pushed the Prime Minister of Montenegro out of his way to get closer to being on camera?
Was Biden honest when he only recognized his four- year-old granddaughter under media pressure? In a sense, Biden was dishonest. He lied by omission. Trump lied to the American citizenry resulting in chaos and death on January 6. No equivalency here.
Which man is able to put his agenda aside and show genuine emotion devoid of self-interest?
At a presidential rally, Trump, almost tearing up, invited grieving parents on stage. He introduced them by saying, with feeling, “Your son was my greatest supporter.”
Biden also has moist eyes in public on several occasions.
His emotional honesty and well-documented empathy has been written about and referred to as an example of a new direction for male leadership.
Do either candidates recognize their mistakes? Biden acknowledged a massive blunder. The American evacuation from Afghanistan should have started sooner. The nation did not learn from the horrifying spectacle repeated again, reminiscent of the similar departure from Vietnam on April 29, 1975. Biden did not take full responsibility. He admitted the miscalculation, nevertheless, placing much of the blame for the deadly and chaotic US departure on the Trump administration.
Trump never apologizes. He did admit to one mistake during his presidential campaign. In an interview with New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, Trump, a grown-up, admitted that he should not have retweeted a very unflattering image of Ted Cruz’s wife, Heidi, juxtaposed with a glam shot of his wife, Melania.
He also stated the lewd comments he made on the Access Hollywood tape were a mistake. “Anyone who knows me knows that these words don’t reflect who I am. I pledge to be a better man tomorrow, and will never, ever let you down,” he added. Will he ever apologize his attempt to overthrow the United States government? No equivalency again.
The U.S. population has experienced an intense range of frightening problems over the past few years: the COVID-19 pandemic, racial injustice, political divisiveness, global warming, widespread violence, mass shootings, generalized distrust, even hatred for people with different opinions from one’s own. The American psyche, under so many stressors, causes many of us to feel out of personal control.
What do we have control of when both presidential candidates are unappealing to many people for different reasons?
It’s not much of a comfort, but always obvious; the only control we have is of ourselves, minute by minute.
My two-year-old friend is innocent, happily unaware of the perils humanity faces. The challenge for us adults is still to aspire to be like her: present, attentive, truthful, kind and able to put our agendas aside. It would do us all good, lessen the acrimony, if we could forget all the labels we each utilize to define ourselves, and just be humans. Can that save us? Yes, if only in the present moment.