Last week I took some vacation expecting to get a lot done around the house and take a little time for some recreation.
The score for the week was hard labor on home projects 10, recreation 1.
One of the projects I had to do around the house was to build a retaining wall, which took more time than I expected. (Don't these kinds of things always do that?).
I began by laying a concrete base and then put blocks in the concrete and stuck rebar inside the hollows of the block into the soft concrete. I spent a lot of time trying to be sure the block was level so the subsequent layers would also have a chance of at least ending up somewhat even.
The next day I began to lay the block and fill the cylinders with concrete. As I did that I noticed that I had not totally leveled the first layer the way I should have and as I laid the block, layer upon layer, those initial deficiencies became exaggerated.
I am no mason, and this wall wasn't something that was really important other than that it hold dirt back, so style wasn't required, but it did make me think about how putting in a block wall is a lot like picking a presidential candidate to vote for.
Despite the fact I was sweating profusely in the hot weather, and every joint in my body was aching, my more cerebral side started to reason the initial thoughts in my head.
Right now we as Americans have a chance to start out fairly clean with who will become our next president. For the first time in decades we will have a president who was not part (either president or vice president) in a former administration. Some might say that Hillary Clinton was part of Bill's administration, but technically she wasn't.
At present, as debates and straw polls go on, we are laying the blocks for a foundation that will extend many years down the road. So what should we look for? Well I think that depends on how each of us feel about particular issues.
Some people are one issue voters. They vote on something like gun rights, abortion, immigration, the Iraq War, so on and so forth.
Others look at their party and see how the person fits their idea of what their parties candidate should do to fill the mold.
Others are concerned with moral character. These voters look at the person and say if they are honest and moral, it won't matter which party they are with.
Still others try to find a compromise in what a candidate believes (or says he or she believes) and what that voter thinks.
All these are valid ways of picking a candidate, but I tend to lean toward compromise. None of us will ever find a candidate for a political office that completely agrees with what we think, all the time, on every issue. There are people out there that think that a candidate must be that perfect in their eyes or they are no good. But in life we seldom find perfection. Heck, most of us end up marrying people who we don't agree with a lot, yet we have a good relationship and things get done. Sometimes it takes two or three tries to find that person, but then that is life.
Back to the wall. My wall was a compromise; not quite as straight as I would like it to have been, but still it serves the purpose I need it to supply. I think that is where my pick for president will be constituted as well.
There are a lot of good candidates on the board right now, and we all know that political will and power will whittle that field down quickly beginning in January of next year.
What I will personally look for in a possible president is a good strong base, some staying power like the concrete itself, but also the flexibility that the rebar provides to the structure of a candidate.
The person I pick won't be perfect, but then who is.