Presidential Elections

Dreams and Disappointment

I get Mitt Romney. So does Al Gore. In a strange way all three of us have something in common. In the case of Gore and Romney they were, as the saying goes, “To the manor born”. Although my own beginnings were more humble, and I was born poor, the three of us shared destiny.

Al Gore, Jr. was destined to be president, literally. He was not only raised in Washington, D.C., he was born there. His was father served as a U.S. Representative and subsequently as a U.S. Senator from Tennessee. As little Al grew up, he learned to converse with representatives, senators and ambassadors. He served in the military, was elected to the House of Representatives and to the Senate. Finally, he was elected Vice-president of the United States. Al was on his way.

Mitt Romney was also destined to be president, though not quite as literally. His father was governor of Michigan, a far cry from the halls of Washington. He learned to converse with businessmen and he became rich. Mitt failed in his quest to become a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts. However, in spite of the fact that his father failed to pass on the importance of sharing tax returns, Mitt succeeded in being elected governor of Massachusetts. His destiny seemed less tied to his political heritage than to his visions of self-importance. He felt America owed it to him. Still, Mitt was on his way.

I was destined to be pope. It is true that my parents were neither famous nor powerful, but I had something that Gore and Romney did not. As I was growing up, everyone told me my mother was a living saint. I went to church more often than Jesus, and my parents received more religious literature than the local parish. I went to the seminary and learned to converse with nuns and priests, even a few bishops and cardinals. Finally, I was ordained a priest. I was on my way.

Then came disappointment for all three of us. I came to realize that I had no real prospects of being elected pope, so I settled for parish life. Gore deflected the chants of his followers who called him the “real president” and settled for cooling the planet. Romney realized that he is not everyone’s beloved hero, and so he blames.

One thing I do not share in common with Al Gore and Mitt Romney, is that I keep dreaming. Not about being pope. My dream is that I never have to hear Romney speak again. It is such a peaceful sleep. There are no lies in this dream, so there are no fact-checkers. There is no arrogant wealth, so nobody else is demeaned or made to feel worthless. Indeed, in this dream there is no “us v. them” of any kind.

But what we wake up to, is at least as important as what we dream. Yesterday I awakened to the cold reality of Mitt Romney still speaking. I heard him wallowing in his disillusionment and self-importance. I heard him saying what a wonderful candidate he was. I heard him blaming Obama, Obama’s team and especially the 47%. By the way, he lost by more than 47%.

Now I am left with a terrible choice: living in a waking world where Mitt Romney is not silent, or sleeping.

Good night, my friends!