(Originally published in Main Line Life 4/30/08)
This may come as a shock to my close friends and family, but it turns out that I am ideally suited to run for President. Since I am a very modest and unassuming person, it took me a while to figure this out. But if it’s not too late, I’d like to throw my hat in the ring.
For one thing, I come from very humble beginnings. One of the most oft-told stories in my family is the tale of how, when I was about ten years old, I made my own Monopoly game. There are few things sadder in this great country of ours than a family that can’t even afford to buy a Monopoly game. But did I give up in the face of this adversity? I think not. Instead I quietly went about the neighborhood asking neighbors for discarded cardboard and paper and made my own game, complete with a board, money, and community chest and chance cards.
As luck would have it I was the first person in either my mother’s or father’s family to graduate from college (a bonus if you are running for President.) As the oldest of seven I often displayed ambition beyond my years – mainly because I couldn’t wait to get out of our overcrowded house. Note to campaign staff: my first political ad should show me being dropped off at the University of Colorado with a tiny suitcase and a paper bag – all my belongings in the world – as my dad lurched to a halt in front of my dorm in his sputtering Plymouth, let me out and then floored it. Contrast this with today’s pampered college freshman.
I have been to many state parks. In fact, until I was an adult I never knew that vacations could be taken anywhere but a state park. When my father had one of his rare vacations, we either drove straight through from Colorado to New Jersey (seven kids, no seat belts) stopping at every state park on the way, or we just went straight to Garden of the Gods, Pike’s Peak, or Cave of the Winds for a day, and then my dad went to the track for the rest of his vacation. I believe that if more families went to our nation’s state parks we would be a closer people, and not spread our money around in foreign places like St. Bart’s or Puerta Vallarta. Spring break at Valley Forge can be very uplifting and educational, and you’ll never be videotaped doing anything stupid.
I have had many blue collar jobs. I began my career path as a popular neighborhood babysitter, then graduated to waitressing, a job I held for several years. Being a waitress taught me many things about life, lessons I believe would stand me in good stead as President. Mainly, you should always have a smile on your face even though your feet are killing you and you have a punishing hangover.
Which brings me to the next chapter in my rather ordinary, yet potentially uplifting life. I don’t have too many skeletons in my closet. No big surprises. I may have inhaled a few times, but that was so long ago – another century actually. I have my share of crazy relatives, but no more embarrassing than any former President has had, or any current candidate. I have always paid my taxes and I am one of the few U. S. citizens who actually paid off all their student loans.
Can we talk bowling? Been there. Pinochle? Done that. I would challenge any of the current candidates to a round or two of Gin Rummy, a game I excel at, and which I believe reveals a lot about a person’s character. My husband, a retired Army colonel has often remarked on my steely nerve as I throw down my cards and call out, “Read ‘em and weep. Gin!”
I also bring to the table a unique ancestry. My father’s side of the family is Irish (nothing too exciting there), but my mother’s family is Polish. Just think of what this could do for our country’s relations with Poland – something I’m sure would be seen as very critical in foreign relations. I would embrace my Polish-ness, and my people. No jokes, please.
In short, there are few Americans who possess such a combination of characteristics as I have outlined here. As many who know me have pointed out, my diminutive stature and passing resemblance to Katie Couric belie my true nature as a bossy know-it-all.
So, please consider me as a write-in candidate – I’ll be using all my names, so as to appeal to as many constituents as possible: Kathleen McDermott-Kurzinski Stevenson-Cox.