Show up and show out. Simply stated, these instructions can be applied to almost anything: a new job; a new relationship; a new home town; a new attitude.
The implication of this directive is that the outcome(s) will be positive. By showing up and showing out, it is hoped that the impact will be transformative; that a personal change will transpire, and/or a larger group will be affected.
But who does that?
Surely the large batch of candidates running for the highest office in this country are striving to have a lasting impact each time they venture forth into the public eye. While they are all showing up, some just show out better than others.
I’m not talking just about spectacle. Anyone can produce the boom and burst of fireworks. The thing about pyro techniques is that the effects are short-lived, and they always leave the viewer wanting more.
What do I want from the candidates?
I want to hear truly life-altering utterances and demonstrations. I am anxiously waiting to hear about substantive issues and policy corrections from those in the crowded field of Republican candidates; and from the handful of Democrats. I want to hear the stuff I can sink my teeth in, and thereby cast my vote for a representative I can trust to effect change.
What have I gotten to date?
Ben Carson gets my attention when he speaks about his humble beginnings. But then he grasps for higher and loftier ideals that he hasn’t yet reached himself: brotherly love.
Jeb’s albatross has him so weighted down that he is grasping for air. His constant lament and cry-‘don’t call me Bush’- has deprived him of oxygen, and has muted his voice.
Perry shot himself in his foot, his mouth, and in his behind, and had to drop out of the race to nurse his self-inflicted wounds.
Chris Christie is still floating around, hovering like a balloon, vulnerable to the pin prick of honesty and transparency.
Yes, Fiorina has risen from the ashes, but she will soon burn up from getting too close to the sunlight of full disclosure about her business dealings.
And then there is Trump- the ultimate showman. What does he bring? Donald Trump has dollar bills stuck in his eyes. They cloud his vision. And the chi ching from his increasing wealth deafens him to the cry of the poor, oppressed, and less fortunate.
He stands behind a frayed curtain of false alarms, half-truths about, well almost everything, sending up smoke signals and holding up a mirror of deceit. He delivers his message with a big splash of bravado and a healthy serving of braggadocio. But like the Wizard of Oz, Trump’s curtain is being ripped down- thread by revealing thread.
The other bit players are not so deserving of honorable mention.
Then there is Hillary. I just wish that she would break one or two of her political bones, fall down, and then, with humility, continue on her slow walk toward the prize.
But how can our politicians and candidates show us their better selves?
In the past week, we were privileged to witness how one man showed up and showed out; who left us all with a life-long lesson on how to do that.
Pope Francis, The People’s Pope, demonstrated that he is more than just the leader of the Catholic Church; the leader of an institution with nearly two billion members. He modeled for the world to see, and for America to take note of, what a humble servant looks like.
That he was able to demonstrate humility amidst much pomp and circumstance, including fireworks, fanfare, symphonic overtures, and an Aretha Franklin serenade, is a testament to how it is done.
Pope Francis gave us all, especially our politicians and Presidential candidates, a template for how to deliver important messages: Be present. Be honest. Be sincere. Be kind. Be loving. Be intentional. Be real and throw away the script!
CNN, which covered the Pope’s entire visit, from arrival to departure, requested that viewers come up with three words to describe the Pope. I offer mine: What Jesus did.
What would you do? How are you showing up? How are you showing out?
Antonia Williams-Gary is a consultant with Miami-based Savings and Grace Enterprise. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org