Leaving the grocery store the other day, I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen since the start of the summer. We asked about each other’s kids and families…and then this:
“So, Joyce, are you still on your ‘Pete’ kick?”
Aw, gee. Here we go again.
“Well, if you’re asking if I still support Pete, then yes, I’m still kicking…harder than ever, I suppose,” I answered.
“Yeah, ok…well…” she mumbled, not trying to mask her uneasiness (displeasure?) with my answer.
“So-o-o-o… what do you know about Pete?” I was ready for a round with her.
“Well,” she began with a chuckle. “I know you’re nuts about the guy! I see all the stuff you put on Facebook. But I get it. I like Pete too. I really do. I saw him on a Town Hall and I thought, ‘Whoa. This guy is good.’ He seems really smart. But you know, Joyce, I think we all need to get behind the candidate who has the best chance of beating Trump NOW. We can’t wait until next year. There are too many Democrats running, and we look like we don’t have a clue who we are or what we stand for. It’s just chaos and I’m worried.”
OK. I was ready to take her bait — because I had enough of my own bait tucked away in my tackle that I could deploy at a moment’s notice.
“So which candidate do you think the Dems should rally around?” I asked.
“Probably Biden,” she answered with all the excitement of someone about to undergo root canal. “He’s been leading all the way so far.”
“Oh, I see,” I replied. “I think Biden’s a good guy too. I really do. I think he’d be fine. I know he’s polling the highest right now. People know his name. Like I said, I think he’d be fine. But it’s still very early in the race, and I want more. I want true love. I want passion. You know, fireworks going off, heart fluttering, a ‘take-my-breath-away’ kind of more.
“Oh, I don’t know about that,” she said with a wry smile — and a discernible side eye. “I just want out of this nightmare. I’ve had about all I can stand of this disgusting administration. What a train wreck. I really think we just need to play it safe to win. That’s all I’m saying. Nothing against Pete. I think he’s terrific. But we have to get that monster out of the White House.”
“Well, I certainly agree with that,” I said. “He’s gotta go — for SURE. But wait. You know me. I’m generally a risk-averse kind of person — right?”
“Well, yeah, I suppose.”
“I like to play it safe too. And I can’t imagine feeling any safer than I would with Pete sitting in the Oval Office. And I feel certain that Pete can beat 45–100%.”
“I don’t.” Her words hung in the ensuing silence. “Everyone wants more, Joyce. But we can’t always get what we want, you know? At least, not this time.”
“OK, I’ll put it another way then,” I replied, reaching into my tackle box. “I deserve more. And so do you.”
“What does that mean?” she asked. I felt a tug on the line. Time to start reeling.
“It means that we deserve more than the same old, same old,” I began. “It means we have to stop believing that we are not worthy of a brilliant, compassionate, courageous, unifying, charismatic president with fresh policy plans like more citizen involvement in service to our country, opportunities to lift marginalized minority communities, greater access for all to higher education, equitable pay, healthcare as a human right, humanitarian immigration reform and more. He’s a collaborator, a convener, a visionary, a humanitarian. He’s a whip-smart guy who advocates for change that benefits the human condition. Why don’t we deserve this? Isn’t this worth fighting for?”
She looked at me and nodded every so slightly.
“Look,” I said, taking her hand in the most gentle, Pete-like way I could. “We have been drowning in a toxic pool of hate, inhumanity, bigotry and narcissism for nearly three years. Don’t we deserve more than just being satisfied to come up to the surface and take a breath? Don’t we deserve to come up and out of that pool, breathe freely and be showered with all of the cleansing healing Pete will instill?”
“Well..I guess so.”
“If we don’t get in there and fight for Pete — and that includes everyone who thinks he’s terrific but is worried he can’t get 45 out the door — then we don’t deserve for him to be our president,” I told her. “He’s fighting hard and he deserves to have people who will fight as hard as he is to reclaim our democracy and give us back our soul. Of all of the candidates in the field, Pete is the one who can do it. He checks every single box. Brains. Bravery. Humility. Truth teller. An upstander. A humanitarian. A peacemaker. All that and a loving heart too.”
“Maybe you’re right,” she answered. “Maybe.” She thought for a moment. “But I’ll vote blue no matter who. You?”
“Yep, sure,” I said. “But I want Pete to take that seat.” She smiled.
We started to say our goodbyes and gave each other a hug. She left and walked towards her car, then suddenly turned around.
“Joyce!” she called out. “I really do think Pete is terrific. I’ll take a closer look.”
“Great!” I said. “I hope so!”
Hook, line and — well, I’ll need to be patient for the sinker. I’ll let you know. #20PETE20