My very favorite poem of all time is If, by Rudyard Kipling. I have a tendency to judge people by it, especially the first two lines – if you can keep you head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you. I don’t know of anything that exemplifies George W. Bush better than this poem. I like to apply it, also, to those who are running for the highest office in the land. Few can pass the test. John McCain did. So did Sarah Palin, as did Joe Lieberman. Ronald Reagan was also quite good at it. I don’t know many others, current company included.
Let’s face it, Barack Obama doesn’t exactly any good at it. Neither, unfortunately, is Mitt Romney. I use the If Test, to separate the grown-ups from the kiddies. The term “adult” doesn’t apply here. An “adult” is someone over the age of twenty-one. A “grown-up” is anyone who acts like one. Bill Clinton still can’t act like a “grown-up”. Romney pretends to do so, but in his pretending, he only shows how inadequate he truly is.
An “grown-up” has the ability to say that they screwed up, made a mistake, own up to it, and go from there. The none grown-up adults who play at politics, Mitt Romney, Eric Cantor ,Paul Ryan, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Jim DeMint, etc. all pretend to talk a good game. When cornered, they all talk a good game, but don’t have the capacity to admit they were wrong. These are not the people I want running my country.
There aren’t many “grown-ups” in the room: Lindsey Graham, Tom Coburn, James Inhofe, Joe Lieberman, John Boehner, Steve Pearce, maybe even a few Democrats. Rudy Giuliani passes the test. So does Hillary Clinton, BTW. But – they are few and far between. We don’t need another POTUS who is not yet a “grown-up”. We need someone who can pass the If Test. Mitt Romney fails, badly. So does Barack Obama.
We need a person like George W. Bush.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!