Of Wordsmiths And Presidential Picks

in writing •  last month  (edited)

William Southold | Opinion Columnist |The Southold Report

I have made my picks of presidential and vice presidential candidates on the Democratic side, and although they are subject to change, at this point I don’t see anything that might make them. They are Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris, although not necessarily in that order.

They are both so remarkably and undeniably experienced and talented, and have made the right choice to run at this time. I suppose that could be said of any pairing of the current crop, depending on the preferred applied yardstick. My yardstick was a baton tenderly placed in my hand by my father. It is the respect that he had for wordsmithing.

While there are any number of criteria one might apply to their own decisions in these matters, the reason I chose this one for measure I can blame on my father. It was my father who showed me the joy contained in the rightly used word. He accomplished this by way of example. He was a voracious reader and enjoyer of what he consumed. Some of my fondest memories are of him excitedly bringing a passage he had come across to my mother, and reading it to her aloud. I can still hear them as I listened from the next room, both most times chuckling and laughing at what he had discovered. He was the one who first pointed me to the man pictured with this post, who in my mind remains the master wordsmith of perhaps all time. One need only read a short passage from any of this man’s works, whether it be from one of his children’s literature masterpieces or his voluminous collection of essays, to discover this. So, anyway, it is my love and respect for words that has led me to my choice of candidates.

Kamala Harris. She wields her sharply honed questioning like a surgeon’s scalpel. Indeed, if I was in need of surgery, I would want a surgeon of equally comparable medical skills to operate on me. Just watch any of her senate operating theater masterpieces as she fillets one witness after another, laying bare the cancerous misstatements, contortions, and lies for all to see. Her raw talent is well prepared and scrubbed, she has studied the past records as if she were preparing for her law school finals, and she uses the sharpest of her worded scalpels as she operates. One can well picture those misstatements, contortions, and lies shuddering in anticipatory fear in the pit of witnesses’ stomaches, in the full knowledge that they will soon be exposed. It’s surprising more of the witnesses don’t burp.

Buttigieg is more of an artistic type, a naturally talented story teller, always picking the rightly worded example to illustrate his points. He is also a talented interpreter of people’s questions, seeing immediately both their surface and underlying meaning, and can explain back to the questioner and all who may be listening an answer that is both comprehensive and educating. He is also a spur of the moment explainer, able to relate how his experiences apply to us all, no matter what his experiences might have been, and no matter how different they might be from our own. Detractors hurl insults at him, he catches them mid air, throws them down on a turning wheel, and molds them to a cup brimming with truth. He is a master potter in his use of words.

Harris wielding her inquisitor‘s scalpel, Buttigieg with his down home expository skills, I have no idea who should be #1, and who should be #2 on the ticket. Together they could make an unstoppable force for change, and a fair amount of change is what we need, I believe. At least, change from what we are now enduring.

Either one, matched against this blurting blunderbuss of a president or the sycophantic sermonizing of the Vice President, these would be matches to see, to listen to. and read about afterward. That’s the part I would like. To have it all down in written form, so I could go back to it again and again.

We all get to make our picks. I see the field is growing still, even this morning. Oh well, I think I’ll stick to my two.

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(CNS Disclaimer: Mr. Southold has in no way won the Pulitzer Prize.)
(Image a photo of the cover of one of this author's works)

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