Friday, September 14, 2007

why i will never vote for bill richardson

dear governor bill:

just as i sit in awe - most days - of the beauty that surrounds me, i find i am never prepared for the ugliness, either. nor for the kindness that can follow.

this week, i had one of those days.

i encountered a particularly nasty breed of customer - the sort who believes me to be 'beneath' him in every way and thus bound to adhere to unspoken standards. he is busier, smarter and in all ways more important than anyone else. the world stops revolving on his command.

which is why it became a national emergency when he couldn't get his newly delivered office chair to rise and lower at his command ... clearly the only object in his gravitational pull ever to refuse to genuflect.

until he met me.

see, what you might not know about me (and what he didn't care to learn) is that i consider us all to be equals. you might make more money, but i might be taller. you might be more attractive, while i might be funnier. doesn't make either one of us 'better' than the other. it just means you have more dates and more money and i tell a good story and don't need a booster seat to reach the dinner table.

and you'll never know that when i tell you i'm going to do something for you, i do it. i call you back when i say i will (if you're reading this, mom, i'm talking about the work 'me' here, okay?). i will move mountains, if mountain moving is what's required, to make things right.

so it wasn't necessary for your friend to yell at me over the phone and tell me how important it is that you, the presidential candidate, have a chair that goes up and down to sit in at your fundraiser. nor was it necessary for him to tell me i will never be as important as you, the presidential candidate, are or he is or as anyone who will be attending the event.

and it really wasn't necessary for him to storm into the store and demand to see 'that bitch!' or to grab my arm and tell me to 'make it happen' or to pound his fists on the table and tell me i don't deserve any common decency or respect and how my 'perfect, innocent bitch' routine wouldn't work with him and how he was going to tell you, the next president of the united states, and my bosses (and anyone else who would listen) about my incompetence and stupidity. it wasn't necessary to berate and humiliate me in front of other customers and my staff and friends. really. not necessary.

but this letter isn't about me or my day, really. (although, you may be interested to learn that i have not, in fact, lost my job. the reaction has been quite the contrary, if you really want to know.)

but what i think you should really be interested in is the number of times your friend invoked your name in the middle of this tantrum. he was shouting your name through the store - which may be part of his job, i don't know. but, i would like to think you'd have been appalled. but then, i don't know you. i will never know you.

and now, i will never vote for you.

i'm going out on a limb here, but i'll bet your friend isn't very high up in the campaign. not very important. and i'll bet someone lets him know that everyday. might even yell it at him. and maybe that someone is higher up, but still doesn't feel very important. and so on, and so on, and so on. which is unfortunate. because when that happens, those folks always find a way to project that unhappiness and 'unimportance' out into the world. and it has to land somewhere. this week it landed on me.

and now, i'm giving it back to you.

i don't know what you do or say or believe when the cameras are turned off and it's just you and your staff together discussing the day or the next event or the campaign. but somewhere, somehow, you've given them the impression that it's okay to bully and humiliate people to get their way on your behalf. it's not the mark of a good leader ... or even of a good person. (have you learned nothing from george w.?)

and so, i can't allow you to be elected. i'm sorry to crush your dream like that. really, i am. i wouldn't ordinarily consider myself to be a 'dream crusher' - but i can be one, if dream crushing is what's required.

i won't tolerate another president who thinks he can sit back and smile for the cameras and act folksy while letting his friends bully their way into getting him everything he's ever wanted. and i'll do everything i can to make sure it doesn't happen again.

and when you don't win, you might feel angry or humiliated or even unimportant. i want you to remember that feeling. learn from it. treat people better. take responsibility for the environment you create. and say 'thank you' with the kind of honesty and fullness the people around you deserve.

let that be the way you change the country. only then will you truly be a 'leader.'

- leigh anne


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