In 1980 I was living in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
I had been encouraged to listen to Dan Quayle, who was running for the United States Senate against a long-term incumbent Democrat. That was the year that viciousness in campaign ads was taking place across the nation. The sitting senator, Birch Bayh, was being trashed pretty harshly by the religious right.
The was the stage, and the actors were set. Being a political junkie since before I was old enough to vote I decided to take the suggestion. In doing so, I was told that Representative Dan Quayle would be at a shopping mall at a designated time to address whoever showed up. I showed up…along with other people.
In the mall there was a small platform, I am guessing about 8- 10 inches high. Congressman Quayle was on the platform speaking and answering questions. I witnessed something which may have little meaning to most, but to me it was significant. I believe it involved Dan’s son, Ben, whom is now serving as a House member representing Arizona’s Third Congressional District. I say I believe it was Ben, because of the ages of the children at the time. I never asked.
Here is what I recall happening. The details are fuzzy, but the influence and impact was not.
Ben must have been playing on the platform as his father spoke. At some point, the toddler toppled over and off of the platform. Nothing serious, it has likely happened to most children, in some manner.
But, what was remarkable to me at the time is that it was A congressman, seeking to unseat a sitting liberal Democrat, that ceased speaking and went to his child’s rescue. He briefly cuddled, reassured, and calmed the frighten boy. He passed his child to another (my belief is that it was the mom, Marilyn). Then, he went back to his speech as though he had never been disrupted.
I left the incident with a distinct impression in mind; “This is the man I want to represent me in the Senate. He is a man that instinctively knows his priorities.” To me that was no small potatoes.
In my religion there is a quote that is occasionally used which says “from small and simple things are great things brought to pass”. Simply standing where priorities are is a very small thing in this day and age. Candidates are “blown by every wind of doctrine” and frequently set aside their professed values for momentary applause. There is a very strong tendency for such candidates to judge the tenets of their convictions to meet the expediency of their campaign…rather than the other way around.
It appears that Rick Santorum left Florida presumably to “do his taxes”. Today, the news media is reporting that he is placing his young daughter, Bella, in the hospital sometime Sunday. Rick Santorum, has chosen to be where he should be (in my mind), rather than scrambling for votes. I personally admire that. The details are fuzzy, but the influence and impact are not.
Now, I am a political hack. I freely admit that. I am harsh in my assessment of candidates, and quick to offer an uninvited opinion. My mind would have me wander down that road in this article, and throw some comparison to other candidates out on the blogosesphere. I will not!
Thank you, Senator Santorum.