There are many variations of the saying that the ultimate measure of a man (or woman) is not what they do when they are in public but what they do when they are alone. Another simple, quaint saying is, “it’s the little things.” If we were to juxtapose those two sayings we might just end up with something that would be a fair predictor of the people we know, or wish we knew better, including candidates.
During the Town Hall forum televised Sunday evening between Mark Schauer and Rick Snyder, I was live-tweeting during the telecast and interacting with those who were hanging in there with me. After it was over, I moseyed over to my Facebook page and continued the discussion with quite a few people who were charged up and energized by Mark Schauer’s performance.
On one of the strings of conversation, I had posted about Mark Schauer seeming to be authentic and very genuine during the exchanges. I briefly shared my personal experience of knowing him. At that point a pretty amazing thing happened so I am sharing that string (mildly edited):
|Tony TrupianoOctober 12 at 6:55pm · TweetDeck ·
Anyone who knows @MarkSchauer knows this is who he is. Sincere. Genuine. Authentic. Commanding. Respectful. A fighter.
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Sharon Baseman Tony, what really told me a lot about what kind of person he is was when a friend and I had a fundraiser back in June at my friend and his husband’s home. He and I both got heartfelt, handwritten thank you notes from Mark. Not a typed letter he signed, but a totally handwritten note. I’ve never seen anyone running for office do that. It said a lot to me about who he is. When he wins, I’ll have it framed. I know it was a little thing, but it showed me how genuine he is. October 12 at 7:13pm Unlike · 4
Tony Trupiano That is NOT a little thing and I know he meant whatever he wrote and was sincerely appreciative. This is a man who craves for equality, fairness, transparency and respect. That is worth framing for sure and thank you for sharing that with all of us. October 12 at 7:16pm Like · 4
Sharon Baseman I tell people about it all the time. It’s sometimes the little things that really tell you what kind of person, deep down, someone is. A note like that was worth 1,000 words to me and to my friend. October 12 at 7:18pm Unlike · 3
Mark Richardson I was at one of Mark’s fundraisers. I got a beer out of the cooler. No opener. Mark noticed and immediately started looking around the kitchen for an opener before I could tell him to stop. He found one and opened my beer for me! Kind of a funny story but I do think it shows the kind of person he is: no shallow self-absorption. Genuine consideration for others. October 12 at 7:30pm Unlike · 5
James Melton My son was having baseball practice near an outdoor community event Schauer was attending. Schauer came over to show off his fielding skills (in a suit and dress shoes) and give the kids a few pointers. My son was impressed and thinks Schauer is “a boss.” October 12 at 7:51pm Unlike · 5
The picture that accompanies this post is that hand written note shared and given to me with permission by my friend and super activist Sharon Baseman. She went on to tell me that since she received that note she has seen Mark Schauer many times and he not only remembers who she is by seeing her, but also remembers her name. Big deal? Yes, it is. It’s the little things. As is the story that James Melton shared and the story that Mark Richardson shared in the Facebook exchange, as well. It’s the little things.
Mark Schauer is the real deal. He is an authentic man. A man who has lived lives we have lived. A man who understands what it is like to have to work for what you want. A man who was raised in a middle class family and raised his family in that same tradition. This is a man that understands that deep in the hearts of the average person, people like you and me, that we have fears and anxieties, but we also have hope and dream big dreams.
I know Mark Schauer. I’m not his “best bud” or someone that can command an audience with him anytime I want, but we know each other and we are close enough where I can talk to him about issues and concerns and he listens to what I have to say and I listen to what he has to say. I have had many private conversations with Mark Schauer and many public conversations as well. He is a man first and foremost and yes, as a politician there are demons he has to fight, they ALL do. But, at his core, he is the man that Sharon Baseman now knows. He is the man that James Melton experienced at that baseball practice. He is that man that Mark Richardson had open his beer. Why? It’s the little things.
He is also a guy who appreciates struggle and success. He is a man who desperately wants for the majority of us to have happier, more profound personal lives. He wants dreamers to achieve and he wants children to learn in safe, equal classrooms no matter where you are born and who you live with. And those aren’t so little things.
Fearless voter, Mark Schauer is a fighter and he understands that he has been given a chance to do something for people and whether it was as the Director at Head Start, in the state House, in the state Senate or in Congress, he sees those opportunities as a gift. Oh, and he also knows, clearly, that it IS about the little things.
And, you know what? Just maybe they aren’t so little after all.