Wednesday, Apr 25, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Mary Alice Powell

Listening to candidates is a privilege

There is little way to avoid the 2008 election coverage. But why should we try, anyway? It's America and it's our country. Who hasn't - in recent weeks, or has it been months - turned off the TV, thinking enough is enough? I don't need to hear one more speech from any of the candidates.

Lately Dr. Phil and The Price is Right with Drew Carey have brought welcome morning relief from the political talks, the interviews, and the promises.

But it is only a temporary break that I seek. My curiosity soon urges me to turn the dial to see what the guys and the gal are up to, what part of the country they are scouting, and yes, I admit, to see what neckties the men are wearing with their dark suits and if Hillary Clinton is still partial to her turquoise necklace. I am definitely glued to the group of men and the woman who want to move into the White House.

As a person who drags herself upstairs at about 8:30 every night, goes to bed at 9, and fights to stay awake for the 11 o'clock news, I am continually amazed at the integrity and personal strength of the candidates as they dash around the country from rally to rally.

What vitamins do they take? Do they eat a hearty protein- packed breakfast, are they eating their five-a-day servings of fruits and vegetables? Surely they, too, have sleepless nights, and I can't believe jet lag doesn't set in with so many long-distance flights on their schedules.

Still, with the exception of a few tears, or near-tears, in New Hampshire, I have yet to see one facial expression that appears weary, forlorn, or disgusted. Instead, it seems that the candidates have attended smile and cordiality classes for public appearances. But you and I both can be sure that when they get to their hotel rooms they experience some bad moments, and may even throw themselves into a chair in discouragement and disgust. They are human, and all of the attention is not a bed of roses.

I wonder if they ever say to themselves, "Gee I wish I hadn't said that," or if they are as programmed as robots. I wonder that because that is a personal weakness. Often things fall out of my mouth that I am sorry for.

I sat down at the computer to write this column on Tuesday morning in an upstairs bedroom that I lovingly call the office. Other than having a desk, computer, and a file cabinet, it's just a place to write, but a comfortable retreat. A second desk is a child's rolltop, which was my first desk where I wrote stories that mother corrected and saved.

But the furnishings are more important to this room than the writing corner and the antique desk.

It is my "I am proud to be an American" room. The wallpaper is blue and red stars on pastel blue; the border pattern is red, white, and blue hearts with stars. The daybed linens are flags, and all of the pillows are inscribed with "God Bless America." I even found a white lamp with a dark blue shade with red stars on sale.

Sullivan, the old cat, sleeps in this room on a red, white, and blue flannel sheet.

I am obviously a good shopper when my mindset is on a theme, and what better theme for the heart and mind than our country?

Here in my little corner of this great country, my love for America is displayed, but it takes more than wallpaper and pillows to work on our patriotism.

I have not missed voting in any election since I voted for Dwight Eisenhower the first time and stood in line at the voting booth with a pounding heart and fear that I might make a mistake.

We have a long way to go until election day. There will be a saturation of newspaper stories and TV programs about and with the presidential candidates. I imagine that before it's over someone will manage to dig up some dirt about another candidate. But try to remember, as I do when I get tired of their repetitious chatter, that we are fortunate to be Americans and have the privilege of hearing the candidates and to vote our choice.

Since childhood we have heard the old adage "only in America." And, you know that is very true.

Mary Alice Powell is a retired Blade food editor.

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