Roger Marolt: Thankful for kind politicians
I am thankful for getting over myself in the realm of politics. I have accepted the right to vote for what it is: a tremendous gift in the whole that propels democracy, but of little consequence alone in my hands. Like a drop of rain, it’s power comes when in due course it finds its way into the raging rapids of a mighty river, helping to sculpt the landscape of a continent. It doesn’t get there through combative determination. It goes with the flow.
When it comes to steering the direction of this country, I can do nothing by myself. I will cast my vote and wait. If I appear disinterested, it is because I have no choice, only acceptance. I feel younger having come to this conclusion. I haven’t felt this way in years.
You may ask yourself, how did I get here? It was a purge a long time in coming. I vomited political poisoning. I sweated out the toxins of party affiliation. I felt the cleanse was completed by my reaction in a recent conversation steering towards a political bend, but ending up at an destination I see myself settling in.
A staunchly Republican friend, euphorically high from sniffing a Fox News opinion poll on his Apple news feed no doubt, gleefully asked if I now counted myself among the many who voted for Joe Biden now sorry they did so. His provocation caught me off guard, not because we don’t generally bait each other into political arguments. We do, often, and usually heatedly so. I paused because I was surprised. Did people who voted for Joe Biden really regret doing so?
“No,” I replied. “I like him.”
My friend went on to list all the insanity, incompetence, incoherence, and even the potential incontinence of the Biden presidency as he perceived it. He summarized his rant with an emphatically rhetorical, “What do you like about him?”
I didn’t think. “He’s a nice man.”
My friend agreed that Biden is a nice man, but pressed me on how I thought he was handling the more important and pressing issues facing our country. I doubled clutched. I hitched my giddy-up. I was figuring out by what means was I going to move forward with that question and, in that moment, I took a giant step backwards.
“There is no more important issue to me than that,” I quietly declared.
Did it make sense? The world is a mess. What with the planet blowing its thermostat, the too long resting soul of racial injustice waking to haunt, the virus that will never succumb to herd immunity, inflation, whitewashed definitions of self defense, restroom identity, deadly opioids laced with deadlier fentanyl, war, famine, hunger, no affordable places left to eat out anymore — how could kindness be the most important issue in the world?
I don’t know how, but I feel strongly that it is. Applying the laws of supply and demand to the analysis, I see it is an intangible commodity in short supply. In as much, the price of kindness has shot up faster than the cost of gas, mattresses, and refrigerators locked up in the supply chain. In fact, the price of kindness seems to be so high right now that few are prepared to bear its cost.
The cost is humility and the gratuity is compromise. I used to posses these qualities in my savings account of currencies I needed to provide a good life. As a younger man I paid more attention to the issues I felt were important. I voted, but actually derived satisfaction from doing what I could aside from that. I understood my contributions were small, but in my hands they looked big enough and I found them more precious to hold that grudges over inevitably failed political debates. I knew nothing about politics and, so, perceived the futility of engaging in them at the cup of coffee level. Those were good times. I focused on a lot of other things that did enrich my life that I actually had some control over.
I can be kind. Politicians can be kind. This is within our control and the results are beyond argument. Perhaps I sound naive in saying that kindness is what I value most in politicians, but if it is the characteristic I value most in all personal relationships, why would I discount it in choosing leaders? Besides, if kindness isn’t the greatest pursuit in giving and receiving in life, what is the point?
Roger Marolt would rather a politician demonstrate kindness than make promises. firstname.lastname@example.org
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