The Matters that Matter

A. Nora Long, producing associate

During the time period of The Temperamentals, to be anything outside of an “Ozzie and Harriet” definition of normal could devastatingly impact your ability to get a job, buy a home, run for office. It mattered, and not because it is important to recognize and value our differences. Race, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, political affiliation could mean the difference between a prosperous livelihood or invisibility. Just down the street, The Huntington Theatre Company is running a beautiful play that deals with the collision of race and class against the American Dream during the 1950s and today in our fair city, when an upwardly mobile African-American family pays a struggling Irish-American family to “ghost buy” a house in an all white neighborhood.

With a looming presidential election, I find myself often embroiled in endlessly fascinating conversations about the personal traits different people demand in a leader. Every day the media tells us about some charming quirk or embarrassing past deed that assaults our individual checklists when we discover our ideal is human after all. One of my Facebook friends was outraged the way President Obama stood in front of the flag. Another giggled at Newt Gingrich’s check bouncing, while another can’t stand Mitt Romney for leaving his dog on the roof of a car. However they (or you) feel about these incidents – none of them are about their proposed policies if (re)elected. But, they matter – deeply – passionately – to a good many of us. How many times have you heard “oh, I like him/her” when discussing a candidate? How many times have you said it? I know I say it all the time – when, in truth, I have never met any of these people, let alone had a meaningful conversation or game of bocce with them. I don’t really know them, and yet I’ve decided I like them (or loathe them) because of how I think that meaningful game of bocce would be.

So, I beg the question of you, dear readers, what matters to you when shopping for President? Does the personal outweigh the political or are you just interested in the facts? Are you somewhere in the middle?