Professional, Polite, Prepared to Kill

Dad was a goat herder…

By:  JD Pendry  (used with permission)

I suppose it is not a revelation that politicians often portray themselves as someone they may not be. Some can pull it off while others cannot. It is life experiences and associations that decide who a person truly is and not the stories they tell. We have seen embellished military records, padded resumes and humble beginnings that were often as much fiction as fact. At some point, the façade crumbles away leaving us with a true view of the weak character supporting it. It may be an oval office tryst or failure to simply live up to claimed values, but it is always something. Unfortunately, the façade often holds up long enough to fool too many of us into making a poor choice.

Remember John Edwards’ my Dad was a mill worker? I do not question that his father worked in a mill and I expect there are some values his father taught him, but Senator Edwards was a millionaire trial lawyer far removed from the hardships a mill worker might have endured. He needed that image, however, because we commoners have more respect for mill workers than we do trial lawyers and he knew that. We have had others who flaunted themselves as war heroes with paper records to back their claims. Americans truly admire their heroes, but true heroes do not speak of themselves like that. I have personally known some who deserve the title including a Medal of Honor recipient. The truth is, they rarely bring up their war records in conversation casual or otherwise and appear genuinely uncomfortable about it when others do it.

My Father was a coalminer from the time he was a teenager. He was the oldest sibling in his family and supported them after his own father was killed in the mines. He also spent some time in FDR’s new deal Civilian Conservation Corps and in the Navy in World War II. Dad was a die-hard Democrat, but he would not recognize that party today were he still alive. As we sometimes describe people over here in the hills, he was rougher than a corn-cob, but honest to a fault. He never asked for nor expected anything from anyone most especially the guvmint. He never viewed himself as being in that class of people that the politicians always profess the need to protect. He left me with some important values about faith, hard work and family, but thanks to him I did not endure the hard life that he did and I would not use his life to attempt to paint a portrait of me. To do so would be dishonest.

I recall from the multitude of seminars that I have had to endure one called “who you are is where you were when” or something similar to that. The bottom line is that if you were from the Great Depression, WWII era as my Father was your world view and approach to life might differ greatly from that of the Jane Fonda generation. It is also true that who you are is where you were at the important stages of your life. Where you were and what you have experienced will determine the decisions you make when the situation is stressful and your true character emerges. That is an assessment every one of us can and should make of politicians who seek national office.

When it comes to politics in and of itself, politicians are not stupid. On practical matters of leading our country, however, that argument does not always stand up. What politicians do know is that everyone is not from San Francisco, New York city, Chicago or Las Vegas. It is love of country, working class values, self-reliance, independence, religious faith, strong moral values and professed willingness to challenge the status quo that generally gets a politician elected or at least placed on a national ticket. That describes every politician to which I have ever paid any attention. Or, at least it describes the façade he or she wishes us to see and accept.

The question is when the façade crumbles away, as it inevitably does, who will we find standing behind it? While you contemplate that and study the important relationships of our Presidential contenders, I will be in the back yard working on the bunker.

Copyright © J D Pendry 2008 All Rights Reserved.


July 28, 2008 - Posted by | Politics | , , ,

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