"You cannot create experience. You must undergo it." ~ Albert Camus "I want a president with a record of public service, someone whose life's work shows our children that we don't chase fame and fortune for ourselves: we fight to give everyone a chance to succeed." Michelle Obama "Achievement is talent plus preparation." ~ Malcolm … Continue reading HOW TO HIRE A PRESIDENT – PART 2
"Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for 'tis better to be alone than in bad company." ~ George Washington (Note: As a teenager, Washington wrote a book of etiquette.) Never hire someone who knows less than you do about what he’s hired to do. ~ Malcolm Forbes … Continue reading HOW TO HIRE A PRESIDENT – PART 1
What It Will Mean If She Wins
In the early days of the American Revolution Abigail Adams wrote to her husband, John, “I long to hear that you have declared an independency. And, by the way…if particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion.” Well, the American Revolution lasted nearly eight years and Abigail’s ladies’ “rebellion” has lasted nearly two-and-a-half centuries. And it’s still going on.
"My candle was nearly burnt out,
when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light,
I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open."
~ Frankenstein, Chapter 5, by Mary Shelley
This year as Halloween approaches we find ourselves facing a terror that surpasses the usual seasonal frights of Michael Myers, werewolves, ghosts, poltergeist and vampires: the Presidential election season.
For many of us, the shocks we have received are akin to the horror that Dr. Frankenstein felt about the creature he had created. We've watched with revulsion as our modern-day monster of incivility, bullying, intimidation and hatred has opened its eye and been unleashed upon our nation.
"Voting is a civic sacrament."
~ The Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh
According to an article in The Atlantic, the right to vote is mentioned five times in the Constitution of the United States, more than any other right, including the rights to "the freedom of speech," the "free exercise" of religion, "to keep and bear Arms," or "unreasonable searches and seizures." Yet there is strong disagreement among experts -- including elected officials, Constitutional scholars and Supreme Court Justices -- whether the Constitution grants the right to vote or rather implies that it is merely a privilege. But if the right to vote -- and not the privilege to vote -- is mentioned five times, in those words, it seems pretty iron-clad to me that it is indeed a right and not merely a privilege. I decided to check.
“Women who accuse men, particularly powerful men, of harassment
are often confronted with the reality of the men’s sense
that they are more important than women, as a group.”
― Anita Hill, Speaking Truth to Power
Twenty-five years ago, Anita Hill, a distinguished Yale Law School graduate and Washington D.C. attorney, accused a powerful man, Judge Clarence Thomas, who had just been nominated by President George H.W. Bush to the Supreme Court of the United States, of sexual harassment when she reported to him a decade earlier at both the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The accusation reportedly was made privately and dismissed; but a leak to the media prompted Ms. Hill to be called to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee's confirmation hearing.
"Civility is not not saying negative or harsh things.
It is not the absence of critical analysis.
It is the manner in which we are sharing
this territorial freedom of political discussion.
If our discourse is yelled and screamed
and interrupted and patronized, that's uncivil."
~ Richard Dreyfuss, Actor, Civics Education Innovator
"As citizens we have to be more thoughtful
and more educated and more informed.
I turn on the TV and I see these grown people
screaming at each other, and I think, well,
if we don't get our civility back we're in trouble."
~ Emmylou Harris
I'm not sure to which "grown people" Emmylou Harris was referring, but her quote captures quite succinctly our current national descent into incivility. Oh, sure, we get that political seasons have never been known for their calm and courtesy; the turmoil has always ranged from motivational speeches and witty repartee to sharp exchanges and stern accusations. But there has always been that invisible line drawn in the political sands across which a Presidential -- or other -- candidate crosses only at his or her peril. Well, to borrow from the title of S.E. Hinton's 1971 novel, that was then, this is now.
As an etiquette consultant and trainer and having worked on numerous political campaigns over the decades, I have some strong opinions on how a campaign should be run as well as how campaign staff, interns and volunteers should be trained and conduct themselves. A few years ago I worked on a Congressional campaign in which I was responsible for recruiting college interns to work in various capacities; I also supervised them and to the extent that I could guided them in the manner in which they should represent themselves, the candidate and the campaign as a whole. This is crucial because a campaign must project a strong and consistent image that reflects the brand of its candidate.