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  • When I was 15, I was at a family lunch and I told my grandmother I wanted to run for President one day. At the time it was really something I wanted to do, and I expected her to do what she always did and provide a flurry of grandmotherly love and encouragement.

    Not this time. As the words hit her she stiffened, then turned to face me head on. “Tommy, you don’t want to go into politics. Please, don’t go into politics.”

    “I know it’s hard, but I could handle it.” I had confidence.

    Grandma put her hand on top of mine. “Don’t go into politics. You can do anything in the world you want, just don’t be a politician. It’s a family rule.”

    I laughed. “But-“

    “Tommy.” Behind her bifocals, Grandma’s eyes locked with mine. She was soft and forceful. “Promise me you won’t go into politics.”

    I smiled weakly. It was really important to her. “Alright, I promise.”

    “Good! I believe in you, and you can do anything you want, just don’t do that.” Grandma went back to her plate, then looked at me again. “You know I really believe in you.” It was a statement and a question.

    “I know that.”


    I never broke a promise to Grandma, so my campaign was over. 12 years later, over breakfast today, I read about New Hampshire, updated myself on the Republican sissy slap fight, and watched op eds snarl at each other over policy. It all seemed so childish and petty.

    “Thanks for the save, Grandma,” I mumbled to myself as I sipped my coffee.
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