In this presidential election I am so finished with the mean political attacks and mud-slinging by those leaders that should know better. Why can’t we just focus on the issues? The economy. Poverty. Jobs. Immigration. Or whatever ligitimate concerns we have as voters.
During my career as I was climbing up the other side of the mountain, I have been privileged to interview many presidential candidates. (I once had to meet Hubert Humphrey in a small airport far away from my home base at an ungodly hour just to get an interview about his presidential hopes). But the closest and most intimate presidential encounter was with President Gerald Ford in 1980. (I know. I AM that old!)
I used to be so conscious of ‘doing the right thing’. Afraid not to follow protocol and, in doing so, putting others needs and wants before mine. It took dinner with a president to set me straight.
My husband and I hosted a financial seminar at the Greenbrier, the famous West Virginia resort within the rolling hills of that bucolic area.
Not only is the Greenbrier famous for its elegance, exquisite accommodations and cuisine, but built in the bowels of this grand hotel was a secret bunker for emergency cold wartime use.
While dining with President Ford on the last
evening of our conference we spoke of things politic and personal. President Ford was handsome and quite knowledgeable on world affairs and the current state of our union. He was so charming and interesting and made me feel so comfortable that I began to think of him as I would a nice next door neighbor and momentarily almost forgot his credentials and powerful position.
In the meantime, the Secret Service who had been hovering in the background with their earpieces and lapel pins, began to nervously look at their watches and finally came and whispered in my ear that Mr. President had his plane waiting for him and it was time for him to leave.
Having my “obey” antennas well extended, I turned to President Ford and politely relayed the Secret Service’s message.
He abruptly turned toward me, looked me firmly in the eyes, then turned toward the Secret Service standing behind us and snapped in a voice of complete power, “I am the President and I haven’t had my desert yet!”
That embarrassing moment in time taught me a valuable lesson about Presidential Power. No matter how much they want you to think you are one of them, you are not! Even if they are considered a ‘good guy’. Presidential power is quite heady and, as we are experiencing today, all gloves are off when that office is up for grabs. What you see is not always what you get. Promises made are not always what will happen when in power. The candidate who takes the moral high ground, in my opinion, is the one I can trust to work for my best interests and be respected by world leaders. A great lesson I have always remembered when I go into the voting booth.
©Sandra Hart 2012