Failure Potential

I had made up my mind that I would challenge myself this year.  I would try things I had a good chance of failing at doing.  I would try some new things.  In 2016, I set a volume goal and I hit it easily.  In fact, I really didn’t fail at accomplishing any of my goals last year, so among the goals this year was a challenge to do 5 things at which I might fail.

I actually did fail at my first attempt at a 50k – we accomplished about 30k, but decided to stop due to weather conditions and the potential (turned reality) of a harrowing commute home.

My second attempt at a 50k was my second “Failure Potential,” but although it took me just about 7 hours I completed it.  I really really really hate failing.  I got the distance, but in terms of trail races, it was a relatively flat course, so while it was a personal victory not to fail it wasn’t the most technical of courses.

My third “failure potential” attempt was another 50k on a very technical course and about 6100′ of elevation gain up and down a mountain. This as one I probably should have allowed myself to fail; about mile 10 I fell, gashed open my arm, broke a toe and damaged a tendon.  I was so delirious, I actually wound up adding an extra mile by wandering around a little off track. It took more than 10 hours on a course with a 10 hour limit, having been allowed to finish by virtue of avoiding course marshalls for the last 40 minutes or so.

So the fourth was another 50k, and at this point you’re probably saying to yourself, “if you’ve already done 2 what would make you think you couldn’t do it again?”  Here’s where my head was though: the last time I had done the distance, I had messed myself up.  Badly. I really wasn’t sure I was ready to do this again physically, I wasn’t sure I was mentally able to do it.  Frankly, I may not have been able to do it, but at the end of my first of 3 loops there was my friend Rich and his son.  I was such a great feeling seeing them there to welcome me in and to see me off that it was just what I needed to keep going.  Had they not been there to volunteer, I likely would have given it up.

So where am I for the fifth?  Originally, I had a different plan.  I am registered for a December 32-miler that’s described as “nightmarish” and with December weather in New England such as it is, I’m pretty sure this may be one of the bigger challenges of the year – except my boy now has an event on that day and I need to be there.  So I needed a different plan.

Another goal was to break two-hours running a half marathon.  I was able to accomplish that in October. 1:51:56, but a week ago I as given a bib for another half marathon with a three day notice on a much flatter course than the October race.  The week before that, I had run a 10-miler at an 8:18 pace so I really thought I had a good chance of beating that 1:52 time. And so it was, my Failure Possibility was to break 1:50:00.

Image may contain: 6 people, people smiling, crowd and outdoor
That’s me in the orange shirt about 3 rows back. For the record, this was the Wave 2 start line. 9:00m/m runners don’t start at the starting line otherwise.

For the first couple of miles I was feeling good, but I really had to pee: the porta potties at the starting line were packed, so I had to wait.  Fortunately there were some on the route and I availed myself of one at mile 3.  That took about 40-50 seconds,  but my mile pace was still reasonable for that mile.  The real problem kicked in after that though.  I had slept terribly the night before; I went to bed too early, woke up in the middle of the night and was terrified I’d over sleep, so I stayed up.  It turns out running 13 miles on 4-hours sleep is really, really hard.  Never mind trying to beat a 1:50:00 pace.

It had rained all morning and through most of the race.  The course was part bike path and drainage was suspect, so on top of low octane fuel I was battling mud and the elements.  As 1:50 came and went I still had the opportunity to finish in under 2-hours.

And there it was. As I hit 13 miles, I was just over 1:55.  The last .1-mile+ was a path along a water element, which was flooded and muddy.  People were trying to avoid the water and mud by running  along the side, but if I tried that I’d never finish in under 2-hours, so I took the Spartan Race option and went through, high-stepping and all.  A minor victory in that I finished 1:57:38 so I had conquered the 2-hour mark twice this year and really twice in a month, but I failed at my time goal by almost 8-minutes. Or put another way, by about 30-seconds a mile.

My 5 opportunities for failure netted a 3 wins – 2 losses record.  Not bad, really. I found some limits, worked harder and got past one of them.  I’m going to try to beat that 1:50:00 time again, but it’s probably going to be next year before I can attempt it so I feel pretty comfortable that I can report out on this endeavor.  I learned more resilience from this than any other goal I’d set for myself, something I hadn’t anticipated.  The goal was to push myself by getting out of my safe zone.  What I got out of it was that I need to aim higher more often and what I learned was how resilient I can be.  Very awakening.

Very awakening.

 

Advertisements

30 Day Music Challenge: Day 13

One of Your Favorite 70’s Song.

For some of you, you answered this yesterday (“pre-teen years”). The 1970s were an interesting period. The decade picks up the cauldron of 1960’s music and evolves even faster and in more diverse ways. Rock. Hard Rock. Heavy Metal. Prog Rock. Disco. Funk. New Wave. Punk. Electric Folk. Protest. By the time the decade ends, music was all over the place.

One of My FAVORITE 1970’s song? Good lord. Of what genre?

If we’re going by my iTunes play count, my favorite 1970’s song is “Radar Love” by Golden Earring. Which, while fantastic (and already one of my picks) is not my favorite. “Since You’ve Been Gone” by Rainbow is up there in play counts too, but I don’t know that it’s my favorite either. “You Really Got Me” by Van Halen rounds out the top three 1970’s songs by play count, and I have to say that’s not it either.

I would love to say “Brick House” by the Commodores, but I’m a rock & roller at heart. I considered “Kill the King” by the Ronnie James Dio led version of Rainbow or “Stairway to Heaven” or “D’yer Mak’er” by Led Zeppelin or “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath, but those don’t feel right either. The not so short answer is I’m going to make a pick, and not to get me wrong, I love this song, but I’m not convinced in my heart of hearts that it’s my FAVORITE
So, what is it?

Wisdom of Crowds Picks:

Bohemian Rhapsody” Queen

Layla” Derick and the Dominoes

My Sharona” The Knack

“Fool In The Rain” Led Zeppelin

Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” Looking Glass

Rocket Man” Elton John

You’ve Got a Friend” Carole King

Stranglehold” Ted Nugent

Instant Karma” John Lennon & the Plastic Ono Band

Both Sides Now” Joni Mitchell

That’s the Way I Always Heard It Should Be” Carly Simon

Will  You Still Love Me Tomorrow” Carole King

Heard It In A Love Song” Marshall Tucker Band

Joy To The World” Three Dog Night

Hooked On a Feeling” Blue Swede

I Will Survive” Gloria Gaynor

“California Über Alles”  Dead Kennedys

“Ever Fallen In Love (With Some You Shouldn’t)”  The Buzzcocks

Song to the Siren”  Tim Buckley

Dust In the Wind” Kansas

 

Puzzles and Time Travel: 3 Minutes with the Class of 2021.

I’ve not only been honored to be elected to my community’s school committee, I’ve been honored to have been elected by that committee to be it’s vice-chair.  By the time they were my age, both John F Kennedy and Bill Clinton were President of the United States, and I’m pretty sure Barack Obama was running for said office when he was my age if not already President.  In other words, I’m not putting on airs that School Committee is the be all end off of public life or of  honors.

I can’t imagine running for nor serving in another capacity than this.

As part of my role as Vice Chair, it’s my responsibility to act as counter balance to the chair.  Where he delivers the School Committee address to our graduating seniors, the Vice Chair addresses the 8th Graders moving up to High School.

As such, I’ve struggled with what I’m to say for several (read here, approximately 48) weeks, but I’ve finally put together the message I’m delivering our 8th graders…the purpose of this post is to share it with you.

It begins thus:

A few weeks ago, the class of 2017 graduated high school.  The class president’s speech drew an allusion to the class members as puzzle pieces, having spent their school career coming together as one, all held tightly together by each other, ultimately now to come apart to discover how they could now join other puzzles

Graduation is a time of reflection back on the previous four years with gratitude, with fondness   perhaps and with accomplishment:  “You’ve done it!” “A job well done.”  “Onward and upward to better things.”

Today, you’re taking the first step toward that day. Four years from now, you’ll be looking back at this day and all the days between.

You have before you the opportunity to build great things, achieve great things, learn great things, and most importantly become the full expression of your potential.

THIS  is the day you start that narrative, THIS is the day you start the work you will be celebrating on a June evening four years from now.

As Vice Chair of our School Committee, my job here today is to welcome you to  High School, and that I do.   There will be opportunity here that you have only thought about.

  • If you see the opportunity to fill need, be a leader and fill it.
  • If you see the opportunity to participate, be a community member and join it.
  • If you see the opportunity to learn and experience new things, be the student you can be and learn it.

In the next four years, you will become adults.  You will emerge from this place different people than who you are now.  High School is an amazing, transformative experience where you will learn just how you fit together with others.

A puzzle is a great metaphor for the next four years – it’s not an easy or clear cut path finding out how the pieces come together, but eventually through trial and error, they do.  There will be fits and starts, missteps and times where the pieces just do not fit.  It can be messy.

But keep working at it.

It takes work to complete, and when it’s done   it’s truly a job well done.

Congratulations on the completion of your elementary and Middle school experiences.  Onward and upward to better things.  Take the opportunity in front of you – This is the day the puzzle begins to come together for the class of 2021.

Races vs. Miles

In 2016, I ran 66 races.  It started as a stretch goal, and built as I went along.  I built a plan of 46 races for my 46 years, but I hit race 46 in August, and went from there.

For the first half of the year, the majority of races were 5ks.  Twice, I ran three races in a weekend.  It seemed pretty badass at the time.

My real mission there was to keep reinforcing my newfound interest in fitness.  Have a race/fitness plan, and work it.  In response to a friend asking me why, I said I was the youngest I was ever going to be.  And thus I did it.

I took few chances.  The Ragnar Relay in May 2016 was a bit of a chance in that I was saying I’ll run 16 miles in 24 hours, something I’d never done, but other than that it wasn’t a stretch goal  The real goal was getting the number in.  That would require being injury free.  And I was.

In October, I ran my first half marathon after an entire week of preparation.

I lost exactly no races to injury.  None.

In 2017 I decided to change up.  Last year I found myself focused on the NUMBER of races, and I got those in.  Hell, I destroyed the goal by 150%.  This year I decided on miles.  Training miles.  Racing miles.  Whatever.  I promised myself I would try things I could fail at.  In January, I DNF’d for the very first time, but it was gratifying.

I COULD have finished, but there was a Nor’Easter blowing in.  It took me twice as long to drive home as it did to drive there.  The trail was covered in ice and snow.  The better part of valor, though, was to say, I’m out.

Sure, this year I’ve run 5ks.  Did pretty good at them too!  But this was the year I was doing distance.  On January 1, I ran a 5-Mile Race.  Then 15k, a combination 13.1, , 10 miler…a 50k…that this time I did finish.  A Ragnar Ultra team.  It’s been amazing.

Last weekend I ran the hardest race I’ve ever run.  It was truly a race that I wasn’t sure that I would be able to finish (One of my goals for the year was to do things I wasn’t sure I’d finish).  6000′ of elevation gain over 31+ miles.  4/5 stars difficulty, technical, and the like.  It was no joke.

I completed it.  My second ultramarathon this year…my second ultramarathon ever.  It wasn’t fast, it wasn’t competitive, it wasn’t pretty.  But I finished.

But I broke my foot.

This past week has been tough.  I’ve been largely sedentary, my toe hurts like a mother.  I mean, bad.  I’ve been to the E/R, I’ve been to the hospital, I’ve had no less than 7 X-rays on it, I’m scheduled for a CT scan and surgery next week.  It’s FUBAR and bad.  That race will cost me no less than 3 more races.  I insist it was 100% the right decision to push through and complete the race, but I’m disappointed that I can’t work my plan.

My friends all had wonderful and kind things to say to me about my race total goal last year.  By the end, I was dismissing their kind words with disclaimers such as “they’re mostly 5k’s…” or “my time wasn’t that good…”

Boy was I wrong, and here’s why.  You have to maintain health and physical ability to be able to run a race total goal.  My 2017 goal was miles – I’m likely to hit that goal, even though I’m likely to wind up out of commission for a month.  If I had taken a month out of my running schedule last year, I may not have hit my goal – July 2016 represented no less than 11 races alone.

66 races in a calendar year – more than 70 if I was holding to my February-January year – was a feat not because of the difficulty of the race, but because of the difficulty of staying healthy over that period of time.

As I now nurse my foot, and pinkie toe the size of my thumb that’s preventing me from participating my favorite races – a Spartan race and a fundraising triathlon – I have to remind myself that yeah, 66 races is pretty badass.

With my one race last Saturday, I equalled 10 of my 2016 races – One 50k vs. 10-5k’s, but they’re different races with different skill sets.  My goal this year is mileage, but the importance of acknowledging what’s been accomplished remains huge.  I’m racking up miles this year – and I’ll be hitting hit more than ever once I’m recovered –  but one can rack up a lot of miles pretty quickly.  To hit X number of races over a year requires stamina, but also staying power.

Lesson learned.  Staying power, doing those weekly 5k every Saturday is important.  It means you’ve made it through another week.  That you’ve outlasted everyone else sleeping in.

The number, then, is just as important as the mileage.  Don’t belittle your accomplishments, no matter how small.  There’s a lot that goes into every single one.  Take none of it for granted.

The Power of Friendship and Loyalty

Some of the most important people in my life are people with whom I went to high school.  I’ve been out of high school for 30 years, I’ve earned 3 college degrees, but it’s the men I went to high school with that hold these special places in my life.

My kids are 10 years apart and both of their Godfathers are men with whom I went to high school.  They’re the people I associate with the most.  And they’re not necessarily the same people I associated with in school, it’s a continuing evolution driven by the community engendered by the school and executed by these guys.  We’re a tight bunch.

In 2013, one of these men suggested I run something called a “Spartan race” after I mentioned how I was interested in the “Warrior Dash” that had been recently held.  I took him up on it, and my daughter and I did it together.  It was a transformational experience; it gave me a basis on which to build at another point.  More on that in a minute.

That was the first organized race I’d ever run.  And my muscles turned to absolute stone.  Completely out of shape – my training included a walk down the street to the mechanics shop down the street.  Rather than use that as motivation to get in shape, I let the inertia ride.  Over the next two years, I gained probably 35 pounds.

I was out of shape to the point that my sciatic nerve was giving me trouble.  I had a feeling in my foot like I had been wearing a shoe with kraft paper stuffed in the toe.  My doc basically told me that he’d prescribe physical therapy and if that didn’t work, we’d have to consider surgery.

That was NOT going to happen.

And thus began my journey.  I wasn’t about to have surgery on my back, and after having gone through several sessions of PT (and realizing that I really was pretty sedentary), I started back to the gym.  Walking the treadmill.  Slowly progressing toward increasing inclines…speed…time…distance.

Then…another Spartan race.  I knew what that would take, and that one race two years previous gave me a goal.  Next, A Warrior Dash.  Rugged Maniac.  In the meantime, another high school classmate offered me some fitness DVDs.  How important was it that he share?  He overnighted them to me.  Truthfully, it was that one thing that hit home how serious fitness is and how serious he was taking my fitness – even if I wasn’t that serious.  He ran the Warrior Dash with me and we talked on the shuttle bus;  Just how important high school was to us, the community.  How it was unlike any other. From there, he built a group of these same men with an interest in fitness and health.  We were no longer young.  We have to work at it.  And so, relationships started better than 30 years previous began to evolve again.

So, here we are.  Two years later.  We’ve run wo Ragnar Relays, a couple of mud runs, more than a few workout runs together.  I went from “No, no, no, never” to running anything more than a half marathon, to taking my first DNF with him, and eventually completing my first ultra marathon.

This past weekend, we attempted the North Face Endurance Challenge Series 50k together.  31+ miles. 6000′ of elevation gain.  Though a winding path, it’s this occurrence that brings me to the main point of the post.

We ran this race together, but he’s far more advanced than am I.  Without question, I was holding him back.  If he stayed with me, I’d have compromised his time – and while I know he’s all about the team, I also know he’s at least as competitive as I am and  I know I’d feel a little regret about not running my own race.  I encouraged him to run his own race.

Teammates and friends do not hold each other back.  They support each other so they reach their greatest results. Even if that means that they don’t stick together.

At mile 10, I ate it.  On a trail heading down, I lost it, slid down on my arm, banged my foot; ripping open my forearm and breaking my toe.  Meanwhile, not long after, he hit the wall, hit heat exhaustion.  Bonked. He had taken the mountain head on, took it directly on, and as a result he didn’t complete the race. But he gave that mountain everything he had.

He felt guilty that he had left me, because I slid down the trail, ripped open my arm, broke my foot.  Perhaps I should feel guilty that I didn’t hold him back.

THere’s the crux of the issue.  He’s more physically prepared than am I.  I could have used his support, but frankly having him by my side wouldn’t have stopped me from losing my footing and sliding down hill.  He would likely have finished the race, but he likely would have questioned whether he could have finished in faster time. There was nothing he could have done to keep me upright and we never would have known what he could accomplish if left to his own devices.  On balance, it was the right decision for him to run his race…even if it wasn’t finished.

Teammates, friends don’t hold each other back.  We empower each other. Remaining loyal to ones friends makes all the difference.  Running your own race doesn’t mean you’re being untrue or disloyal to your friends.  It means you’re being true to yourself, and your team, your friends are behind you.  It’s how and why you got where you are.  They’re there to support you.  At the end of the day, the only way you can be loyal to your team, is by giving it your all.  You trust your team will not hold you back; your team trusts you’re giving it everything you have. These principles are not in the least at odds.

The reason you run races you know you’re not going to win, is to test yourself.  Teammates and friends are there for you to be able to test yourself, to keep you testing yourself.

On this last Saturday, the better athlete did not complete the course, but a 30-year truth played itself out yet again.  It showed one more time that the men I went to High School with are some of the most important people in my life and some of the most inspirational.

So far this week, I’ve had to reschedule lunch with one high school friend, reaffirmed plans to remember another’s mother who passed away earlier this year, am trying to figure out if I can live up to my commitments by running a triathlon with a third to raise money for a terrible disease.   My Facebook timeline is full of pictures of me with these guys, to the exclusion of almost everyone else.

Life is funny and it moves in funny ways.  Long story short? The people who knew you when you were young are the most likely to stay with you when you’re not young.  Even if they don’t think so.  Even if they think they’ve let you down when they’ve run their own race.

 

Lessons Along the Path

Intellectually, we all know our lives have a path along which we must travel.  The length of that path is undetermined, and often we’re not sure where it leads.  There are many inflection points, opportunities to course correct, and fellow travelers to influence and to be influenced by.  Perhaps most profoundly, though, is the thought that we travel these paths without knowing how the journey will end.

Perhaps it comes via our choice of direction, perhaps just by circumstance, or it’s set in motion the day we’re born.  Perhaps it’s that lack of knowledge that allows most of us to continue along our way, blissfully unaware where and when our travel ends, when we become one with time.

The longer I’m on my journey, the more comfortable I am with the idea that it’s short and by necessity the closer I am to its end.  By saying I’m more comfortable I am decidedly not saying that I am comfortable, just moreso.  I get it intellectually and I resolve to do better to reach the end without regrets…but yet I continue to do things and fail to do things that would help me come to a place without regret.

I don’t tell the people I love how I feel nearly enough.  I don’t make the time to connect with the people in my life often enough.  I allow grievances and irritations to get in the way and let myself more fully express negative emotions rather than more fully expressing positive ones.  It becomes so easy to let the time pass instead of doing the work of maintaining those relationships.

Today, I mourn the loss of a colleague and friend.  Some weeks ago she had a cold or the flu that she just couldn’t shake, only to find she had Leukemia. Where only a few months ago, she was watching her young daughter grow up, mourning the loss of a beloved dog, basically living her life, today we’re mourning her passing on.  Never in her wildest imagination did she even for a second consider that  anything other than a particularly virulent strain of the flu was causing it to linger.

I’m of course sad for her family, especially “her little” who will now grow up with only memories of her mom – a truly sad proposition on its face, made even moreso knowing what a wonderful person her mom was  – but I’m sad for my loss of opportunity to check in with her just to say “hi” and “you’re on my mind today.”

I just started to write that it’s almost as if we (I) have become emotionally lazy, making friends and just assuming they’re always there.  There’s no work at all in curating a Facebook feed.  Everyone you meet is now your “friend,” all with the same relative ranking of “friend.”  But it’s not “almost as if.” Lazy is exactly what it is.  I know I have become increasingly lazy about putting in the work of maintaining my friendships and other relationships.  It occurs to me that I’m rarely the one who reaches out at some random point and time to make a call.

So while I’ve become much better at setting goals, it’s now completely clear to me that I’ve neglected to make developing, enhancing, maintaining friendships/relationships a goal.  I’ve not demonstrated to the people in my life that they’re important to me, and thus making it increasingly likely that someone will come to the end of their path with regrets.  If I were to reach my journey’s end today, there wold be plenty of regret to be had.  I’m not willing to let that go unchecked; I have to do better.

Today, Shannon’s family replete with grief sets forth to plan the details of saying goodbye, something just a few short weeks ago would have been unthinkable.  I’m sorry I didn’t make more time to give her a call.  We just don’t know how long or short that path is, yet we pretend it goes as far as the eye can see and allow ourselves to be lazy about the things that matter most.

She made the world a better place, I want to be sure to honor that memory by letting other people know that my world is a better place because they’re a part of it.  This should be a simple goal, but I suspect it’s going to take a lot more work than anything else I’ve set forth to do yet.  Simple is not always easy.  That’s why it’s important to keep working toward it.

Nobody Builds Walls Better Than Me

In April 1945, Harry Truman became the 33rd President of the United States by virtue of the death of Franklin Roosevelt.  He had been Vice President for all of 82-Days.

He had been on the ballot for Vice President through the apparent willingness of Roosevelt to allow others’ back room wrangling and cloak and dagger maneuverings at the Democratic National Convention.  This was a man who had been barely re-elected Senator amid concerns with his connections to “machine politics” back in Missouri.  Yet, the sitting Vice-President had been cast aside in favor of the Senator from Missouri.   He had no enemies, and could probably be manipulated.

In the time he was Vice-President, he had met with FDR exactly twice.  He had to be told of the existence of the atomic bomb after having become President, and even then only several weeks.  He had never been briefed on FDR’s and Churchill’s conference with Stalin at Yalta.

He was seen as an inexperienced “every man,” ill-prepared and perhaps ill-equipped to rise to the Presidency.  The American public voted for Roosevelt despite this fact, never apparently realizing just how poor his health actually was, and without understanding it was Truman for whom they were actually casting their ballot.

4-months after ascending to the Presidency, on August 6, 1945, the first of two atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.

72-years later, the American voting public elected Donald Trump President of the United States.  By contrast, the Republican Party not only didn’t try to engineer his election, but actively worked against it.  This is a man displaying little of the temperament nor comport one may expect of the leader of the free world; if Truman were ill-equipped and ill-prepared to be President, after having been a judge, county commissioner, Congressman, and Senator, it can easily be argued Trump is ill-equipped to be a judge, county commissioner, Congressman, or Senator.

And yet, Truman – despite some fits and starts – demonstrated a resolve and force of character that allowed him to will himself to acquit himself well.  His was a history of hard work, faithful service to both his constituents and family, and fully determined to succeed.  He had failed businesses behind him, but the point was he always saw to it to comport himself properly.  He was straight to the point, did what he believed correct, and expected those around him to be as well. He treated those around him with respect, and was humble.

America was lucky.  An accidental President happened to become what the country needed at the time he was needed.  In 2016, America chose perhaps another accidental President, fitting none of the qualities which could be said of Harry S Truman.  No one around Trump considers him to be humble, a student concerned with details, or frankly as someone possessing force of character or resolve.  Despite the perception he speaks plainly and speaks his mind, I’ve found his pronouncements opaque and not only contradictory of his previous statements, but sometimes internally contradictory.

Despite Truman’s past using derogatory racial and religious terms, he behaved in ways that projected respect – perhaps not by modern standards, but certainly by standards of the day.  I don’t find the same to be true of Trump. Believe me, this isn’t to dismiss Truman’s use of the expressions; it is to say that he could perhaps have made for a greater President had he not harbored those beliefs, but he did keep those beliefs private. There was no TMZ, no Facebook Live, no Twitter.  These beliefs were uncovered only in his secret diary, not on a 10-year old, previously unreleased video. The world probably didn’t know that he called New York a “kike town” quite the same way we knew how Trump saw himself the ladies man.  We didn’t know what we were getting in 1944; we did in 2016.

We voted for this man knowing full well what monstrous weapons the US military has at its disposal, and while the Libertarian candidate was mocked for his apparent ignorance of the tragedy of Aleppo, Syria, we voted for a man who has demonstrated little understanding of world affairs, suggesting that the US should have just taken Iraq’s oil.

Where Truman put careful consideration into his actions, where he wanted to avoid conflict with others, we have Trump who apparently chooses to rule through “controlled chaos.” Trumps plan is to set up situations where personalities duke it out, which presumably will determine the winning ideology.

David McCullough’s biography of Truman demonstrates what decisions a President makes and what role those decisions play in the world.  The American public had no idea what power they were giving Harry S Truman on the day they cast their ballots for Franklin Delano Roosevelt back in 1944.  With one telegram, Truman authorized the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Japan – a weapon so mindbogglingly devastating, the world had no way to truly comprehend what had just happened.  On November 8, 2016, we willingly gave Donald John Trump that authority, knowing just how awesome that responsibility is.

My hope for Donald Trump, for the United States, and for the world, is that somehow he figures out how to be the thoughtful leader Harry Truman came to be.  My hope is that Trump comes to understand just how awesome his responsibility is, just how powerful his words as President are, and to not wield that awesomeness recklessly.  To this point, we’ve become a society where it’s actually okay for Neil Cavuto to gloat that his networks’ brand of news is now favored, as though there is a “right” editorial slant.  We’re less than three days into the Trump era and I think less “Harry Truman” and more ” Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho.” Maybe if we demand more, we’ll get more, but I’m more convinced than ever that we just don’t care enough to demand more.  We’ve given up the idea of a leader who really is an “every man,” for that of a Billionaire who appeals to our base instincts and presents as an “every man.”

When Vice-President Truman was led to the White House residence, it was Eleanor Roosevelt who had informed him of FDR’s passing.  When Truman had asked if there was anything he could do for her, she asked him the same question, adding, “For you are the one in trouble now.” President Trump, you have a great weight to overcome: that of history.  You are the one in trouble now.