Read these headlines because you’ll be quizzed:
- “Panama Papers continue to shake leaders worldwide”
- “Obama approval rating at 50 percent, dissatisfaction with D.C. looms”
- “Poll: 55 percent have unfavorable impression of Hillary Clinton”
- “Americans overwhelmingly view Trump negatively: Poll”
- “Guilty conscience: Stolen sign returned after 30 years”
OK, who would be the best president of the United States? I vote for the thief who swiped the sign.
“NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — It took 30 years, but a guilty conscience led someone who stole a large metal sign in Florida to return it — along with a $50 money order — to the New Smyrna Beach Police Department.”
That’s the best news I’ve read in months. The person who stole the sign asked to be forgiven and said in his letter that the sign was taken in the 1980s during “a fit of youthful exuberance.” The $50 was supposed to cover the cost of installing a new sign that said, “New Smyrna Beach Says No to Drugs.”
Despite all the dishonesty in the workplace, in government, in politics, in the classroom and on The Bachelor TV show, this story offers hope that America can turn itself around. No one is beyond redemption.
I don’t know who that person is — neither do the cops — but I want him to be the next president of the United States. (He’s from Florida, so for all we know, he could be Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio.)
I’m asking the masses of America, the media, government officials, Pope Francis, the unemployed judges of American Idol — everyone — to unite in a crusade to get the sign thief with a conscience into the White House.
You see, we live in perilous times, times that try men’s and women’s souls. (Either Thomas Paine or Gloria Steinem said that.) World leaders are cheating their countries and sending money off-shore, while the middle-class evaporates. The economy is sluggish, Social Security is tottering, and the Millennial generation is terrified about the future of Chipotle.
Americans of character must step forward so we can elect the man who stole that sign as our President or barring that, as Mayor of New York, because he has a conscience, and a conscience is hard to find, especially in politicians. Usually, you find pride, ego, arrogance, stupidity and an obsessive desire to spend other people’s money — namely donors’ and taxpayers’.
At the very least, the Republicans, who’ve had almost 20 people running for president, should track this guy down and throw him in the mix at the convention when they start their machinations to deny Trump the nomination. Equally promising, the reformed thief is from Florida, so he’ll be sure to capture the state’s 29 electoral votes.
This story made me think about my own conscience for the first time in a long time because I’m usually on automatic moral pilot, which means when I see people around me cheating and lying, it seems perfectly natural.
Consciences have gone the way of the phone booth, the Hula Hoop and the transistor radio. What’s happened to America? Have our moral compasses been disoriented by too much high fructose corn syrup?
Once upon a time, there were people who knew right from wrong and they tried to do right, and if they didn’t, that nagging inner voice haunted them until they repented and set the wrong right.
Like the sign thief, we’ve all done crazy things. Hillary Clinton fooled around with her email, Bill Clinton fooled around, and Donald Trump University engaged in alleged flimflams. Over the years, scandals have plagued such revered institutions as WorldCom, Enron, Lehman Brothers, AIG and Volkswagen. And let’s not forget Kim Kardashian’s divorce.
As a result, some 75 percent of Americans think our country’s moral compass is pointed in the wrong direction, which means that even though we go crazy during a presidential campaign, we’re fundamentally good people and know which way the compass SHOULD point.
That contrite thief can help restore this country to its past greatness by pointing the compass in the right direction — as long as the Secret Service keeps him away from roadside signs.
After 30 years, the sign thief did the right thing. He can lead this country forward, although it may take 30 more years. We’re Americans. We believe in redemption. Never forget Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter, not to mention A-Rod.
Contact Joe Pisani at firstname.lastname@example.org.