Do strong leaders hide in bathrooms?

I’ve been doing some physical therapy lately, and we’ve been working on safe positions for daily activities. This week I’m going to have to work on the proper positioning for face-palming because the last couple weeks have been one face-palm moment after another.

We’ve got some leaders out there who may want to double-check the definition of leadership before I make my neck problems worse.

For starters, could Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump please let go of Election 2016? Living through it once was like having to witness a fifteen month long train crash happening in slow motion. Enough already.

Our president loved being a candidate so much, he’s already campaigning for 2020. His campaign rally in Phoenix last week was a frenzied compilation of regurgitations from the campaign trail. Like a ‘best of’ the worst of candidate Trump times 1,000.

Does Trump understand the point of campaigning for and winning the office of the presidency is to be president? To lead the country?

And can someone tell Clinton that it’s a non sequitur to have spent years convincing Americans that she’s strong enough to be the leader of the free world, but not strong enough to handle a man trying to psyche her out during a debate?

The news of excerpts from her pending book almost caused a face-palm concussion — specifically the passage where she bemoans having to deal with Trump getting in her space on the debate stage. If debating Trump made her clench her fists in gut-wrenching indecision, how did she plan to go head-to-head with the likes of Vladimir Putin?

Given her vast experience personally and professionally, I would have expected Clinton to be up to speed on how to deal with difficult men by now. Unfortunately, the debate stage turned into an opportunity to see that she wasn’t. I’m not sure why Clinton relishes revisiting that experience.

And speaking of revisiting moments best left in the dust, did Rep. Bruce Poliquin publicly admit to putting party politics ahead of his responsibility as an elected official?

At the absolute least, he seemed to admit that he thought getting caught ducking toward the women’s bathroom was strategically preferable to talking to the press about health care, lest he get caught saying something that might cause him to lose his seat.

He did eventually find the men’s room and emerged wearing earbuds.

Talk about profiles in courage. I don’t remember any lessons in leadership that emphasized the “ducking into a bathroom” technique. Further, if I remember correctly our founding forefathers envisioned a free press as a critical part of keeping politicians accountable to constituents.

It’s hard to picture any of those forefathers avoiding that free press by scurrying off toward whatever area women used to relieve themselves back then.

It’s harder still to imagine Senator Susan Collins dodging the press by running toward a men’s room … lol.

On the contrary Collins isn’t running away from the press, nor is she unsure how to conduct herself when dealing with bullies like Governor LePage or Trump. Collins is standing her ground in the ever-shifting moral sands of DC whether on Congress’ pathetic attempt at health care reform or our president’s pathetic response to the events in Charlottesville.

That’s why Collins is on my dream team of cojones candidates for governor next year. I offer her as contrast to all the face-palm instigators.

For further contrast, I offer Sheriff Paul Penzone of Maricopa County, Arizona, successor to recently pardoned former-Sheriff Joe Arpaio. I caught an interview with Penzone on public radio, and it wrapped around my neck like a protective collar.

No face-palms, just respite.

Penzone was elected to replace Arpaio who received a criminal contempt of court conviction for refusing to stop racial profiling policies. In the interview Penzone spoke frankly about the past and present challenges of changing the policing culture in his department.

Penzone tried to strike a diplomatic balance between respect for the president’s right to grant pardons with a clear preference for the rule of law. Penzone spoke with pride about the citizens of Phoenix sending a clear message when they elected him instead of Arpaio.

It’s a message the whole country should heed. Penzone’s victory over Arpaio indicates a majority of citizens want fairness when it comes to race and policing, even in a hotbed of immigration. I believe that to be true of a majority of citizens in every state in our country.

Because of this belief, I’ve done another 100 mini face-palms every time I’ve heard someone freak out about white nationalists taking over our country. Penzone’s interview reminded me of yet another reason I’m not worried about a tiny segment of our population turning back the hands of time when it comes to the progress we’ve made regarding race:

With leaders like Sheriff Penzone, the vast majority of the fine folks working in law enforcement wouldn’t stand for it.


It might be because I wrote most of this post late at night, but I came across this DJ’s response to the Rep. Poliquin bathroom incident when I was doing research and couldn’t resist adding a hyperlink:  Click here.

Patricia Callahan

About Patricia Callahan

Trish is a writer who lives in Augusta. She has worked professionally in education and social services.