Every once in a while you find yourself surprised by your own reaction to something or someone. And it almost always, if I find the time to mull on my surprise, leads to a self-teaching moment. I saw an article a few days ago about the fact that Ed Rendell, the outgoing Governor of Pennsylvania, is about to be out of public office for the first time in quite awhile. Now, I do not agree with much of what Rendell's writings and comments say that he believes...not at all. But I found myself feeling a loss at his departure...and that was a real surprise.
Like Bill Bradley, Rendell was on the other side of the political table and I did not like their policies. So I leaned back and thought about it for a bit...and discovered that I thought they were both "Good Guys."
Let me define who I consider to be "Good Guys."
To me, a good guy in politics is a candidate and office holder who believes in the United States of America as a just and dependable entity...a country they think of as did the founding fathers: an imperfect experiment in trying to protect individual freedom (to succeed, to fail, to suffer, to conquer) by protecting that freedom from danger from both other countries and saboteurs within.
Sure, Rendell and Bradley wanted to encourage helping the disadvantaged; they felt some people need more help than others to succeed and believed that the government should provide that help. In that sense, they had less confidence in the American people than I do, but their heart was in the right place. They wanted to help the deserving, not support the ne'er-do-wells that would live off of the public teat for as long as it would be allowed.
But they believed in the essence of America, of the United States of America, of an assimilated group of citizens that believed as one even as they argued and fought over the details...Good Guys. They, and others like them didn't believe in ignoring our borders, throwing citizens to the wolves of illegal invaders, foregoing their constitutional duty to protect us. They listened to their constituents most of the time...and when the didn't, and the elections proved it, they didn't deny the lesson of those elections...Good Guys.
Wish there were more "Good Guys" out there today. I miss them. And I'll miss my imaginary arguments with Ed Rendell, too.