In the presidential race, it’s (yawn) all males. Don’t misunderstand. They are two seemingly nice, bright Hollywood-handsome candidates. I’m just sayin’ – no skirts. That we know of. No something-something-of-the-pantsuits-something and in fact, no hair longer than an inch in any one spot. No women and no hippies.
If I were running for president, I’d have a bunch of big ol’ ideas on my 100 percent recycled granola platform. The first idea would involve frozen yogurt. I know. I’m making light of something that’s totally serious, and I can hear the gritting of my readers’ teeth, which is not good for you, as it leads to all kinds of dental problems. And most of us don’t have anywhere near adequate dental insurance.
Frozen yogurt reminds me of food choices and other health issues. Unfortunately, many children too young to go to work (because of that pesky thing called school) lack decent nutrition. I’m not implying that the shortage of female leadership makes a difference, although who’s been pushing vegetables? Our first lady. Vegetables aren’t as tasty as frozen yogurt to me, but it depends who’s prepping the veggies or serving up the froyo. I’ll bet the White House vegetables are just plain super.
My daughter Sally was a vegetarian until recently, when fish crept, or rather swam, into her diet. I bring this up because Sally has shown leadership qualities as long as I’ve known her, ever since she turned her back on me. Literally. I had back labor with her. I’d like to see our male politicians experience that kind of pain and not do everything in their manly power to pass fabulous health care laws, including one that would prohibit back labor, period.
I’d like to see a female president next time around and I’ve thoroughly searched my immediate circle for possible nominees:
• My mother-in-law, going strong at 98. That alone is the kind of stick-to-it-iveness we need in a leader.
•My older daughter Cassie. Not only does “President Cassie” sound absolutely adorable, but when faced with a list of tasks, she gets stuff done. No congressional stalemating under her watch, let me tell you, or there’d be no dessert after committee luncheon.
• My butcher. She patiently advises me on turkey preparation, year after year. That’s what we need – a president who can cook a turkey, not just pardon one.
I’d run, but I can’t remember anything I learned in school, like where Indiana is.
But Sally’s credentials? Peace Corps. Teaching. And more important, she videotaped dozens of random New Yorkers on the street shouting and singing “Happy Birthday” to me by name. That’s leadership.
On a late-summer visit, settling onto lounge chairs, I ask her: “Want to run for president, Sal?”
She ignores me. Leaders sometimes have to do that, or they’d be answering questions all day and not getting to the essential business of smiling at the camera and saying how perfectly clear they are.
“This is our fun day to relax, Mom,” she says, eyes closed.
“It’s getting awfully warm, Sal,” I say, roughly three minutes and two hot flashes into it. “Relaxing feels weird, right?”
She answers with presidential compassion.
I think calm thoughts and start to doze off.
“OK. Canoe time!” she announces in her outside voice.
I complain about my advanced age and sore back. But in we go. She sits in the bow, her back to me – again.
“Paddle on left, Momsie,” she orders.
“Uh huh,” I say. As if I needed someone to …
She turns toward me.
“Left,” she glares.
She turns back, and I make splashing sounds.
“Mom, try to do it this way. Co-op-er-a-tion,” she says. Smarty-pants. I should never have let her watch “Sesame Street.”
I try paddling again – a little right, a little left.
A little free-style.
For some reason, we are going in circles.
She turns and shoots me a look.
“Mom? Just. Stop. Let me do this,” she insists, in a firm presidential bark.
“Sorry, Chief,” I say, laying down my paddle, as she gently brings us back to shore and we chat and I realize how much fun canoeing is when someone else does the work.
I tell her we need someone in the Oval Office to keep the country on course while people are going around in circles, but she refuses.
Afterward, she takes me out for apple pie, we find Indiana on the computer, and I daydream about a female president.
It’s a longshot, but I wonder if it isn’t about time to snag one of those good and feisty “nuns on the bus” making headlines, traveling the country on behalf of the poor, and put her in the White House.
I bet she’d know where Indiana is.