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HA, HA, HA!!!! Robert Sheridan bobsheridan bobsheridan@earthlink.net Yeah, we tend to get distracted.

We don't care if the ferryboat captain misbehaves on shore as long as he brings the boat in. In fact we're perfectly happy if we don't even know who he is or what he does, as long as he brings the boat in.

Presidents are different. We have to elect them. When we should be looking for a good captain who can sail the boat, we wanna know if his family life is hunky-dory. Like I really care.

What really happens is that we don't like his policies on this or that, but that doesn't win the day, politically. We need stronger ammunition that sticks in people's brains. So we say he has bad character instead. That usually works. So the successful politician has to keep his real life secret and display his display-life, and his display-wife. Then everything is hunky-dory, we think, until the dirt diggers get to work. Used ta be this only happened after the guy died, as in FDR's case. Or Rocky's. Or JFK's. Now we bury the guy as soon as he starts running.

One-a-these days we're gonna have to do some big-time growing up. Guys like Clinton and Giuliani are going to help bring it about, not necessarily because they wanted to, either.

Take the Moral Bandwagon outta the Political Parade. That's the slogan. It's irrelevant and disqualifies too many potential captains who could otherwise bring the ship in.

Do you think that'll catch on?

No.

Why?

The Ship of State ain't a Ferryboat.

The President requires something called "moral leadership." Clinton lost it. Giuliani is watching it evaporate. Those who don't like them, or their policies, won't follow them. Political leaders without followers become pitiful "Last Hurrah" types. Powerless. Can't lead anywhere.

Clinton, I notice, despite his difficulties, made a number of difficult appearances, such as at Oklahoma City after the bombing of the Federal Building and the loss of hundreds. The family members and other members of the public accepted his presence and the aura of the presidency with the grace it was offered. The big thing was the presence of the office of the presidency. Moral objections to aspects of the life of the occupant seem to have been relegated to the off-stage for the purposes of the business at hand.

I think the folks who make up this country have a lot of sense. They knew the guy screwed up. They didn't want to see him impeached over it. It was like they knew he knew he screwed up and wasn't apt to do it again. Meanwhile, there was this country to run.

We'll get there, someday, in fits and starts, but we'll grow.

Hey, we're only 2 1/4 centuries old. Pretty young as these things go. You and I have lived a sizable portion of that time.

We need a philosophy of greater equanimity, one that encourages us not to get quite so excited over every exciting thing.

We gotta calm down a little.

How we gonna do that?

I'm asking you!

-rs



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