I'm of an age when it's nice to know that some things were before my time, to wit the Presidential campaign of 1932. But thanks to the many photographs of candidates Hoover and Roosevelt, I have a pretty good feeling for how these two men projected themselves. Hoover, in almost every shot, looked dour; FDR had that infectious full smile. For a guy who couldn't even walk, he sure was upbeat. I'm reminded of those images in contrasting Dick Cheney and John Edwards. Cheney always looks dour, even when he affects a smile. Edwards can't contain his happy disposition. For a guy who lost a child, he sure is upbeat. And boy do we need upbeat in these troubling times.
George Bush is fond of characterizing himself as a War President. Perhaps we are at war, but it wouldn't be so bad to have a Peace President. In fact, I think that's exactly what we need, a president who is committed to leading us out of conflict into peace. I am not naïve enough to think we can simply wish our conflicts away, but sometimes I feel the current gang on Pennsylvania Avenue has a vested interest in keeping us unnerved and armed for conflict. Indeed, with their regularized threats of imminent danger and reminders that bad things not only can but will happen here, the American public finds itself on the edge. What was that about "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself?" Again, I am not discounting the possibility, or even the probability, of terrorist attacks, especially if we keep on our current belligerent course. But I do think that we all need encouragement and a reminder of how blessed we are relative to most of the world's population. Edwards, like Roosevelt knows of real personal trauma, and with that experience in place, he understands the importance of what the late Norman Vincent Peale called "the power of positive thinking."
John Edwards was exactly the right choice and his upbeat outlook and commitment to positive campaigning seems to be rubbing off on the other John. Kerry is very smart and he knew exactly what he was doing, and its ramifications, in selecting the attractive North Carolina senator. Perhaps he doesn't have the gravitas of Dick Chaney, but look where that got us. A little less gravitas and we might actually survive individually and as a nation.
By the way, as a follow-up on my last blog, I saw "Marty" today. He cuts perfect turkey breast. Guess what? He's changed his hat again. Bill Bradley is gone, replaced by John Edwards. And, he confided, "I think we have a real shot this time." Voters, listen up.