Attending Pete’s rally in Las Vegas on Tuesday was my first experience at a political rally in my 65 years.
As voters, we have a simple task. All we are asked to do is to state who gets the position. And for all the claims a candidate makes, whether they be promises or policy proposals, when the dust settles on election day, as voters, we are left with only the hope that the candidate will do what is promised. And to that, we all have one criterion that is a common consideration for each of us in the selection process, though the degree of importance will vary, and that is the candidate’s character. It’s that momentary glimpse into Pete’s character I was not prepared to experience, and it all came to light in a single handshake.
In that moment as we shook hands and looked at each other, he spoke first. “Thank you for coming” was the appropriate acknowledgement he stated, a line he repeated many many times that night. But in that important single moment upon which all time was coming to a momentary halt, I found myself shifting gears. It suddenly wasn’t that I tell him how something was important to me, or a policy of his I liked, or anything I thought would be cute to say as a light comment. I wasn’t the important thing here, Pete was. I can handle myself. What was important in that moment was to let Pete know that what he is doing is important and coming from one supporter, that was recognized and his character was valued. As our hands clasped I smiled and calmly uttered, “Thank you for running. You’re a fantastic man.”
Pete never broke eye contact. There are any number of things he could have said in response to my basic statement. Absent was any sense of ego on his part having been complimented, or dismissal of it for being way to sophomoric or painfully awkward. In its place was a genuine respect for a supporter of his, a seemingly humble graciousness as he said in a somewhat somber tone and a distinct nod, “Thank you.” It was in that moment that I heard in his tone and saw in his eyes the genuine respect Pete has for people, the essence of his values in wanting to truly bring people together, not for some ulterior motive to be President or ego driven aspiration.
It stunned me how impactful this all too brief encounter was in seeing Pete’s character, illuminating how right it is for Pete to be President of the United States. As we separated so he could move on to the next anxious supporter, there was that unexplainable moment of coming to know that the Pete we see, hear, and read about is not some hyperbolic myth fabricated by the marketing mechanism central to a campaign.
I had read that for people who have known Pete for years will say to anyone just discovering him the thought may be that he is too good to be true. That it’s like waiting for the other shoe to drop, only to realize there is no other shoe. In that handshake moment I can concur, there is no other shoe.
[read in full at Medium.com]