My girls are now seven. They spend their days at school writing tall tales and memorizing multiplication tables. They are learning to navigate the precarious social structure of a second grade classroom: what it means to be a good friend, the value in honesty and the importance of standing up for a classmate who is not being treated fairly. They are learning to be good citizens in their own world which will someday translate to a much bigger place, because being kind and fair is important when you are seven, and when you are 53.
Four years ago John McCain, then the Republican candidate for president, was confronted by woman at a campaign stop in Minnesota who stood up and called Barack Obama an "Arab". John McCain, who had been boo'd several times for trying to quiet the rowdy crowd, took the microphone from her, "I have to tell you, Senator Obama is a decent person and a person you don't have to be scared of as president of the United States. He's a decent family man, a citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that's what this campaign's all about. He's not an Arab".
Politically John McCain and I don't see eye to eye, but I believe in his character and I respect his integrity.
Rick Santorum, selected yesterday by the people of Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri to be the Republican nominee in November, is not burdened by that same sense of fairness. At a campaign stop in Florida, Santorum did not feel it was his responsibility to correct the woman who told him that Obama was not "legally" the president, that he "totally ignores" the Constitution and that he is an "avowed Muslim". Rather than correct any of these statements, Santorum assured her that he was "doing his best to get him out of the government right now".
Yesterday at school a friend of the girls was called a name by a classmate. He quietly put his head down on his desk and said nothing. Mary looked directly at the name caller and said, "that wasn't nice!".
Mary gets my vote.