Who Do You Know?

question mark“If you could ask the presidential candidates one question, what would it be?”

I’d ask: “How will my life be different as a result of your four years in office?”

I live in Iowa. So, you might think I’d have had a chance to ask a question or two the past few weeks. Iowa: you know, corn, pigs, first in the nation caucuses. (Those are tomorrow night, by the way, and are evidently the harbinger of a February snowstorm – some kind of perverse poetic justice, it seems). I work in numerous communities in what is called the Eastern Iowa Corridor. Not once have my routes been delayed by a candidate’s entourage. In fact, I haven’t even seen one of them despite the fact that they have been here. I hadn’t been invited to one event until a few days ago: I got a notice about a candidate with Vampire Weekend. (Sadly, I was in Des Moines and missed the event.) But, even in the state capital two days before the caucuses, my movement around town was unimpeded by presidential campaigning.

That got me to thinking: it’s pretty easy to not see them in person. And, it’s pretty easy for the candidates not to see us. I mean, three of them have secret service protection, and a fourth candidate will likely receive the same soon. Not that secret service keeps us plebeians away from the reality show stars of the race, but it puts a layer between us to be sure. I have never seen a president – past or present – in person. I have not been in a live audience where one was giving a speech (I have heard Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin in person, though – but, I digress). In short, we do not know the candidates. They do not know us.

They make speeches. Promises. Accusations. Commercials. But, we don’t know them; the actual real-time effect of their campaigns –  and, for one of them, subsequent tenure in office –  on our day-to-day lives is likely negligible. They are not running for ruling all-powerful tyrant (despite what one candidate seems to believe), and they will be able to make precious few unilateral decisions. That’s comforting.Register Front Page

What’s not so comforting is that these candidates do not know me. Or you. (Unless you have given millions and warranted a private audience.) Whichever candidate you deem most in touch with “normal people like you” is really not in touch with you at all. Their campaigns and words may touch your life, but it will be brief. Just as it is hard for most of us to fathom being a celebrity, fabulously wealthy, or a candidate for president (is that one thing or three separate things?), they don’t know and/or have forgotten what it’s like to be a mechanic, a teacher, an accountant . . . you know, a normal person.

Barring extreme scenarios, the difference between where we are now collectively and individually and where we will be January 31, 2o17, is slight. Because, really, who makes a difference in your life? Family. Friends. Employers. Book clubs. Neighbors. Pets. Poker buddies. Colleagues. Who can have the most effect on your life right now and a year from now? Right. You.

It’s not any of these talking-head suits spouting plans for world-domination and eradication of ethnic groups. I’m not saying don’t participate in the process. Quite the opposite. Educate yourself. Participate. Vote.

But, remember, in the end, your life is not predicated on whether or not your candidate wins; it depends on what you do every day to make a difference for yourself and the people you know.

Think about it.

Join me.



(photo credit: Des Moines Register: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/news/)


2 thoughts on “Who Do You Know?

  1. O.K. I’m thinking about it. And for now I’m inching away from your “candidates are of little consequence” camp. My reasonings lit by a Bonfire of Vanities, I’m sure.

    So, the day to day of the running with the pack means we may not get a glimpse of the lead dogs, but Big Dog detritus often denotes our collective and ever-changing path. And any sudden variation of that trail just might limit one’s ability to take advantage of a poker buddies tell. A stretch too far?

    Even the most provincial of recollections reminds us that recently our fellow citizens were losing their jobs at a rate of 700,000 a month. That many a 401(K) was subject to a dead cat bounce. And the Real Estate market was so underwater that even homes were homeless. Wall Street didn’t just get a hair cut , it went straight up whitewall. And liquidity froze as solid as our Chicago lakefront in early February.

    Now unless I’m breaking bread with the head of the Fed, none of my “Friends. Employers. Book clubs. Neighbors. Pets. Poker buddies or Colleagues”…. effected my life with more sudden and drastic change than the collective actions and activities of the previous administration.

    And I won’t bore with how the “War On Terror,” has us forever going from ” extreme scenarios” to extreme scenarios. There’s no barring that. ( A quick aside—-what was a failure of imagination has now morphed into market for too much imagination.)

    Please don’t misunderstand. Your post is well written and you make your case. And to it I wish I could subscribe.

    Thanks, and have a great 2017.



    • Doug,

      I understand the points you make. Not having been much personally affected by the epic economic events of 2008-present, my view is colored by my experiences. As is everyone’s.

      Of course, there are residual consequences that continue to affect the country as a whole; I have been fortunate enough to not have many investments nor real estate, and I have a job in education.

      I hope 2016 and beyond is prosperous for our country in ways that are meaningful across the board.

      In the meantime, I will have a glass of wine with friends, enjoy my sons, and live in the moment.

      Thank you for thoughtful comments, Doug.

      Cheers, Laura

      Liked by 1 person

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