If you have never in your life done anything you’re ashamed of or could have done better, you’re welcome to reject any and all Democratic Presidential candidates for their personal flaws. But no one gets to her 50s (or even 40s, or 30s) without regrets—no one honest, anyway. So let’s try to judge these people based on their actions and words in the public arena—what they’ve done for others, and what they propose to do.
This is not a taste test; we’re not consumers, entitled to titillation or inspiration or glossy packaging before we purchase. We’re citizens looking for a sister- or fellow-citizen—as flawed as ourselves—who most closely approximates our public ideals, plans and goals. For some reason I think of Tennyson’s Ulysses:
Come my friends, tis not too late
To seek a newer world….
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved heaven and earth, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
Today someone expressed enthusiasm for a candidate by saying, “Who cares about votes?” I don’t understand that: every day that goes by, every terrible judicial appointment, every regulatory rollback, every white-supremacist speech or action, shows how critical it is to care about votes.
So let’s stop sipping and spitting and get down to the business of choosing an able candidate. Able to be elected, and able to do what matters as President when she is.