I’m average, exceedingly so. Rather than see that as a detriment, I see it as an asset, a connection to the tens of millions of average Americans. I’ve come to understand my place, to know if I feel something, others must feel it as well. If I’m touched by a voice, others are too.
I’m aware of my limitations, my education, the depth or paucity of knowledge on one subject or another. I know the people I’ve spent my adult life with, what they care about, who they mingle with and what their hopes are. I’ve taught them things. I’ve learned from them. We are the wisdom of the crowd.
I’m not an academic or a professional. I’m not an athlete or artist. I don’t possess any remarkable insight or prescience. I’m just like you.
Marco Rubio is a lot like me; a lot, I contend, like many of us. He’s young, smart, idealistic and cocky. His best gift is self-awareness. He makes the best use of the talents he has. He is a special kind of speaker, so he’s built upon it, learned to use his voice, control his demeanor, and do his homework so he can articulate his positions, not to be a phony but to better explain it to the rest of us.
His cockiness has gotten him into trouble, but his evolving maturity is evident. He has made mistakes while growing into a better adult. You haven’t?
Who among us has not looked back on a day or a period in our lives we’d like to change, to wish away or somehow erase from the memories of those we may have hurt? Average people make mistakes but most of us take too long to learn the lessons. We try to enlighten our children but sometimes we’re late for class. So we have a beer with them and tell the how we made the same mistake once and we wonder, “will they be ahead of it for their children?”
I’m a libertarian. I like many of the presidential candidates. Some have good ideas. Some would probably make good leaders, but only one will get my vote. Why Marco? Because Marco Rubio is just like me, an American with potential. He is one of us, but he is our favored son. He is the bright kid we sent off to the big city for an education, the one who returns with a plan to break our enclave free of the ruts and on a path to prosperity.
I believe him. I trust his passion is real. There are pundits who say he is a great orator, “but maybe a little too slick.” That tells me they recognize a formidable debate foe; that they are preemptively striking at his rhetoric as somehow disingenuous, because he’s too good at it. Something must be wrong. “We’ll find it,” they surmise and “we’ll expose it”, if for no other reason than to knock him down.
We need Marco’s skills. That enclave he’ll make better is my average America, the forgotten all-of-us under the big tent, the group that bears the greatest burden. We aren’t rich; they’ll always be fine. We aren’t the elites; they control the narrative. We aren’t the poor; someone or some entity looks out for them, if only to appear virtuous. They are the purveyors of conspicuous altruism. They need to stay on the invite list for the cool parties.
We don’t get those invitations. We are farmers, maitre d’s, managers of tire shops. We are at our kid’s games, except for when we’re working overtime. We have a cousin in the Army and one who’s not going to survive the next overdose. Our dad died in the Vietnam war. When she was a teenager our mom was raped by her boss, but she’s never told anyone. Our grandmother is a seamstress, our Uncle Bob can gut a deer. Our daughter plays cello, but not very well. Our son is an all-state point guard, but he won’t play in the big show.
We are merchant marines. We own a dry cleaners. We work at an obscure county clerical job but we have weekends and holidays off and will retire with a pension. We watch too much television. We’re overweight. We don’t know who the Secretary of Defense is, but we know Rhonda Rousey can kick ass. We love being American. Some of us know why, some of us know we should but not what it entails; some of us care more than others. Because—America.
America is not just a country, it’s a religion, an ideal, an attitude, a hope for the oppressed peoples of the world, a stubby middle finger tossed at the dictators. America is not a place it’s a way of life, a culture of cultures, a unique swagger.
Our republic, like our families, has improved with wear. Over centuries of strife, rebirth, the facing of faults—we’ve gotten better at being us. We uncover problems and try to fix them because we, like Marco, have evolved. We’re cocky, but we earned it. We are a country that used to own slaves. We died to change it. We had a criminal president. He resigned in disgrace. We elected a man of color not to one fluke term but to a second term in our highest office. If you don’t like the way he thinks, guess what? We have a black neurosurgeon with different ideas near the fore of the campaign. And when the next one comes along we won’t notice his race, because it won’t matter. We are better with every passing decade, and now it is time for another change, a generational step forward. It’s a time to thank the legacies of the Bushes and Clintons, learn from their mistakes, build them libraries and move forward, with youthful idealism.
Marco Rubio personifies the America of average Joes. We live with hopes for our children while we struggle against the fears they won’t make it. Our country and our kids were conceived with the hope of greatness. We were bred for strength and honor. We’ve reflected as a nation, sometimes violently. We’ve examined our faults: slavery, denial of suffrage, child labor, robber barons and a host of other problems. We admitted our shortfalls, made the necessary changes and grew into a more complete country, the greatest ever designed by the mind of man. More often than not we get it right. We may fight about it, but we clean up the dirty dishes and put out the garbage.
Marco Rubio has made mistakes, took his gifts for granted, perhaps even abused the free reign he was given, but he learned and became a better person for it. The decisions we make determine how we get here and the next one helps us get to a better place. The things Marco may have done wrong in his life don’t define him, what he believes in his heart does, what his wife and children see in him do. Those things matter. They matter to me.
Their affection is genuine. It’s patent. I saw it immediately after the third debate in the way Marco’s eyes opened to his wife’s face as they met before the podiums. He cares what she thinks of him. This isn’t a marriage of political expedience. It’s a real man and his wife, Jeanette, the mother of his children, working together to bring back the great vision of America his parents had, to help us see it again through his eyes, the eyes of our favored son, to not be swayed by the elites who insidiously work to control our lives, our way of thinking, to shape us like re-education-camp counselors to the ways of state. They speak of the greater good at the expense of free will. They talk about fairness, equality and opportunity, while designing a cabal of media and political noblesse who enjoy the fruits of control.
The old-dog Republicans aren’t much better, more on that in another post.
The Ordinary Meridian
I’ve written about this concept before, this ordinary meridian. It’s the place where we decide to move forward, to take the next necessary step. It’s a level of comfort that requires action. We can seek solace behind it when our lives are chaotic or work to break past it when saddled with boredom or driven to achieve. Crossing the ordinary meridian requires two things: acceptance and resolve. It’s a manner of living, a marker, a level of achievement that gives us the confidence to move up, out or beyond.
America is there right now. We have accomplished extraordinary things, been the ‘last best hope and the ‘last stand on earth’ for freedom. But we’re at an inflection point. We’ve slipped into statism, moving further apart as individuals and closer to collective acrimony. We need a president with an American vision, one for a greater country not a greater legacy. We need a leader who will help us recognize the dark precipitates of socialism and stand against them, to fight with us in defense of individual liberty
Les Brown talks about self-conversation, about listening to the things we say to ourselves. We need to listen to the things we say about ourselves as a nation and ask if they are consistent with the ideals of our parents and the architects of our country. If not, then we need to ask different questions and find leaders who give us better answers. The world needs us to be strong. Without a strong United States the world falls to the madness of dictators. We can be better. It takes work. Exceptional goals require exceptional effort.
Greatness is not a gift. It’s an aspiration. If greatness is a gift then hard work doesn’t matter, then hard work never achieved anything. If greatness is a gift then desire is useless, then no woman ever shed a tear when she earned an Olympic medal; no man ever wept in silence because he fell just short of his goal, but then got back up the next day and tried all over again.
But if greatness is a gift it is one given to everyone who lives within the borders of these United States. It is a gift we cherish, the gift of free will, free speech, free thought, and free souls, unencumbered by the thought zombies of the controlling classes, not tethered by government or elitist doctrine. We are untethered, unchained. We are the unwashed, unloved and under-counted. We are most of America and we deserve a president who understands us, who will fight to preserve the history we make today, for the stories we’ll tell our children tomorrow, about a place called America.
Elect Marco Rubio to be our president. It matters now, more than ever.