I like John Kerry, though I have never been an enthusiastic supporter.
The first time I saw Theresa Heinz Kerry, with her husband, the 2004 Denicratic presidential candidate, John Kerry, I hmmed.
Was it her posture, her non-conformist replies to typical questions? Candidate John Kerry was not charming. I was hoping he'd win the election, -- (I didn't want another four years of George Bush,) but wife Theresa didn't seem to me to be a vote-getting potential first lady.
Everything I knew about John Kerry -- his education, achievements, experiences -- his leadership and heroism in the Vietnam War -- said that he would be an excellent president, but the look of him bothered me. He was more-or-less handsome, but an aura of stiffness clung to him. What was it? He didn't convey the idea that he was a hyper-religious Roman Catholic, but he seemed covered-up, closed-off.
Did it have to do with his first wife, Julia Thorne, who, after 14 years and two daughters with Kerry, separated and annulled their marriage? (Well, maybe, but she re-married; supported Kerry's 2004 presidential run, and died of cancer in 2006.)
Anyway, I just wasn't very comfortable with John and Theresa, as they campaigned for the presidency. But I liked the way she joked and acted -- not like a celebrity -- she spoke her own mind, and I liked the loving way she looked up at him.
They'd met once, in 1990, on earth day, a year before Theresa's first husband, Senator John Heinz (heir to the Heinz fortune, with whom she has three sons), was killed in a plane crash. Though Theresa and Kerry met again at the 1992 Earth Summit, which the 55-year-old widowed Theresa attended as part of George Bush's delegation, their courtship didn't begin till 1993.
Yes, I checked out their romance story. It's incongruous, that I who have certainly broken the rules (living with my guy before we were married), seem to require conforming behavior from someone I might vote for. The Kerrys passed my morality test, even though they didn't seem to be cuddling, compatible couple.
Theresa Heinz is a highly educated 74-year-old woman who has won awards, founded and participated in many projects that have to do with helping people, and helping the environment.
Currently, she hosts the annual "Women's Health and the Environment" conference. She has founded Scholars for Environmental Research. She is a board member of the Environmental Defense Fund. She recently created WISER, the Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement.
I've boiled down the list; I'm impressed that she's fluent in English, Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese -- impressed that she's very rich -- as a Heinz she's worth between $750 million and $1.2 billion.
And Kerry, 69 now, is wealthy in his own right, though not to the same degree -- he's a trust fund beneficiary of his mother's and the Forbes' family trusts.
Okay, they're a wealthy, distinguished, important couple -- not red carpet, not very exciting or glamorous, but John Kerry is now a major figure in the world, as our Secretay of State.
I want to be more interested him, what he says, how he behaves, how he handles the explosive, very tricky relationships that he has to handle.
I think we need to like him . The word "like" -- it's become what? A click, a nod, a quick way of approving someone or something?
I mean really LIKE him.
So I am looking at pictures, reading articles, keeping track of John and Theresa -- is she with him, is he alone at the state dinners? Maybe the power he now has will un-stiffen him? And un-prejudice me -- we seem to be living in a time of Pretty People. It's time for me to judge men and women on the basis of what they really are and do, not the way they look
This couple represents America now, represents you and me. John Kerry and Theresa Kerry need our genuine understanding and approval.