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By Herman Sillas
The presidential primaries are here, and we are reminded daily. As a political junkie, I love it. My father was active in the union and had meetings in our house to change the union’s leadership. Since politics were always a topic in our home, I thought it would be cool to be a candidate.
My first endeavor was in junior high school. I ran for Student Body President and my opponent was my best buddy, Bobby Bedolla. We both played softball, baseball, touch-football and basketball on the same teams at the local neighborhood playground. I became a candidate because I thought I could change some things. So did Bobby.
We spoke to the assembled student body in the auditorium. All I remember was that as I was speaking into the mic, my right foot started stomping on the floor. I mean really stomping. At least I thought it was. I glanced down at my right foot as I spoke and it looked perfectly still. I couldn’t believe it! My mind told me my right foot was stomping so hard that I couldn’t hear my voice. The audience didn’t seem to notice. I hurried my speech in the hope that nobody would see my unruly foot. Would I be able to walk back to my seat without falling? When my speech ended, my foot quit stomping. Bobby won. I still believe I would have won if I hadn’t been betrayed by my right foot, but Bobby and I remained buddies.
Not to be discouraged, I ran for Student Body President in high school. I ran under the title “Honest Herm,” borrowed from “Honest Abe” Lincoln’s campaign. My right foot behaved and I won.
Following my high school presidential victory, I enrolled at UCLA and sought a degree in political science. It didn’t take me long to conclude that the title was deceiving. Politics is not scientific; it is a process by which leaders obtain the power to lead others. In our country, the process is without bloodshed. We call them elections. I won’t bore you with my other losing campaigns as a candidate.
This year we have a variety of candidates for president of this nation. The Republican Party has one female and seven male candidates still standing. The men include a multi-billionaire, a couple of Latino U.S. Senators, both sons of immigrants, an African-American surgeon, a couple of governors and one ex-governor who is the brother and son of former U.S. Presidents. The woman is a former CEO of a major company.
The Democratic Party has two candidates remaining. One is a 74-year-old U.S. Senator who describes himself as a socialist. The other candidate has served as a U.S. Senator and as Secretary of State. She is also the wife of a former U.S. President.
I have followed the debates very carefully trying to decide which candidate to support but missed the last debate because I attended a joint birthday party of two of our grandchildren. Nathan celebrated his 11th birthday and Hannah, his sister, celebrated her 8th birthday. I sat with family members and friends as Nathan and Hannah took turns opening their respective gifts. I smiled as I observed their happiness and joy. Then it hit me: At 82 years old, my vote for president cannot be about me. My vote has to be for my grandchildren’s best interests. They inherit the country we leave them.
I smile as I think about the political analysts after this year’s election. They will analyze the numerous voting blocs by gender, race and age and reach conclusions about each. I bet political analysts won’t know we seniors voted for what we believe is best for our grandchildren. That’s the view from the pier.
Herman Sillas, a San Clemente attorney and resident, may be found most Saturday mornings fishing at the San Clemente Pier. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.