Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Good Leaders

"Goodnight," I said to my son-in-law, "it's good to know all of America can sleep well tonight."

He laughed heartily.

After all, we'd just watched the debates.

Did you sleep well last night? 

I didn't think so. 

However, I was pleased that candidate A & B didn't turn the debate into a barroom brawl. Both candidates were more civil than expected--it was easy to see how they were one time friends or at least, friendly New York acquaintances. Each candidate had as many sincere comments as snarky, vitriolic jabs. Both candidates looked healthy.  I liked that both candidates said they would support one another if the other was elected.Overall, it was a good night, because it might not have been. It's sad, cultural commentary when South Park airs a parody on the presidential debate and calls one candidate the Giant Douche and the other the Turd Sandwich.

When the debate was over, I asked my daughter and her husband who they were voting for. My daughter hadn't changed; my son-in-law said he couldn't vote for A or B. Then the phone rang: Tony was calling to join the after-debate conversation.

"Candidate A is_______, and candidate B is___________." He was in turmoil.

At least each candidate did a good enough job to cast doubt in the other.

So this morning, riding in a cab, enjoying the privileges of a prosperous, safe, free country, I have to move closer to a voting decision. Do I think America and its current policies are in rough enough shape that I need to take a risk to make America great again? Vote for a man who has outsmarted the system to not pay federal income taxes? Or am I happy and secure with status quo, and the competence of a strong, admirable woman, to take a risk that we can be stronger together? A woman who's been under an FBI investigation?

My cab driver from O'Hare was an immigrant from Nigeria. He's been in this country for 19 years. Since leaving his native land, he's watched its further deterioration. He makes passionate accusations of its corrup leaders. He is thankful to be in America.

This morning, my cab driver to O'Hare, has been in our country for 28 years. He left Haiti and having just witnessed the state of Haiti myself, we have some commonality.

"There is money there but the leaders are corrupt," he says. "The last president built himself another house that cost 8 million dollars. Not 8 thousand--8 million. All the money collected from the earthquake relief? I don't know where it is, but it isn't in Haiti. Corrupt leadership again and again."

The rest of the cab ride is silent, because corrupt power is unsolvable for a cab driver and his customer.

Sometimes I wish I wouldn't take this election so seriously, but it's overly evident how important good leaders are to a nation and its people--as I learned from my cab drivers who were driven from their countries by corrupt and greedy leaders more concerned for their own gain than the welfare of the people who trusted them to make a difference.