Finished a book Monday morning called "The Presidents Club."
It detailed the relationships between sitting United States presidents and former presidents. How they overcome differences personally and politically to work together to get things done.
They really do consider their fraternity a club, the reason being that no one else in the world knows what it is like to be president other than a former president.
The book started with the relationship between Truman and Hoover and worked its way up to the relationships between Obama, Clinton, Bush, Bush and Carter.
Over and over and over again former presidents said that no matter how long you are involved in politics, no matter what your accomplishments, no matter what you campaign on, you have no idea what the hell you are walking into until you actually occupy the office.
George W. Bush had the best quote. He said you have no idea what you are dealing with until you get your first national security briefing.
Can you imagine how overwhelming that must be?
I was amazed to learn just how much influence former presidents have and how much sitting presidents rely on them.
There is a lot that we see publicly, but there is a hell of a lot more that happens behind the scenes.
They have their differences, some petty, some meaningful, they bicker like married couples sometimes, but eventually the bond between them and the enormous weight of the office cuts through the bullshit and they learn how to help each other.
I could go on for hours because the book was fascinating and there are many great stories and historical situations.
However, you do not have that kind of time and neither do I.
The last sentence of the book summed it all up perfectly and knocked me off my recliner and on to the floor, where I curled up in the fetal position while my cats licked my forehead compassionately.
The sentence summed up how presidents and former presidents interact.
"They are the jurors who will not pronounce a verdict, because they know they have not heard all the evidence - and they are predisposed to be merciful."
My mind being what it is, the thought exploded in my head that that sentence, that approach to life, is exactly the way all of us should live our lives.
There is so much pettiness in the world, so much viciousness and selfishness. We humans are so cold to one another, so calculating and hurtful, yet we are all in the same boat. Today more so than ever.
Our lives have been compressed into a desperate struggle to survive against all odds, the odds being stacked heavily against us, as the rich and large corporations rape us and the economy and tirelessly plot and plan to make it harder all the time for the little man to "get ahead."
Still, we hurt each other. Even though we know we have not heard all the evidence.
There are people who are pure scum; evil to the core. People who will take advantage of you at every turn and sleep well at night with a twisted smile on their lips.
These people deserve your hatred. They deserve whatever evil punishment karma can dish out.
But most of us are all over the map. Up and down, evil and good, selfish and generous. We hurt each other one day and care about each other the next.
We don't know what makes the other person do what they do. What pressures they are under, what psychological and emotional burdens they carry.
We have not heard all the evidence.
We need to cut each other some slack.
We need to be predisposed to be merciful.
I will never understand why we humans go out of our way to hurt each other when most of us are fighting the same fight.
This is my eternal rant, and I will take it with me to the grave in frustrated awareness that intolerance never ends.