The Many Faces of Joy: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Bernie, Donald and Leon

The Many Faces of Joy: The
Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Bernie, Donald and Leon


Leonard Zwelling

         The pundits are really struggling trying to explain the
results of the New Hampshire primary and in fact the entire course of the
Presidential campaign to date. I am not sure that it is all that hard to

         Those candidates who appear most joyful in their demeanor
are winning. Those espousing dire outcomes or dour visages are not. Those who
are somewhat in between, are just that. In between.

         For sure, the guy having the most fun is Bernie Sanders. I
don’t think he can believe how well this is all going ($7 million raised in 24
hours after New Hampshire with an average donation of $34!) It has to have
exceeded his expectations, but not his hopes. He is a man on a mission who has
been on that mission for 30 years and whose time may have finally come—again. His
message is one we children of the 1960s have heard before. It is not so much
socialistic as it is Aquarian. Bernie does not want to turn the country into
Sweden. He does believe that there are those in the country who have poached
off the poor, who have raped the economic landscape, and who have done so with
impunity and without personal or financial consequence. He also thinks the wide
availability of basic health care and a college education will make us a
stronger force in the world. He’s right when he says that if Goldman Sachs did
$5 billion worth of bad stuff, someone ought to be going to jail. He sounds
gruff, but he has a gleam in his eye and a smile on his face and he seems to be
having the time of his life. For those of us of a certain age, it reminds us
most of Bobby Kennedy. We have been waiting for Bernie since June 6, 1968 and
he is finally here. Joy!

         Then there’s The Donald who seems to take joy out of the
misfortune of others be they women, Muslims, or Mexicans. He “doesn’t want to
say anything,” and then says it anyway as he did with the “pussy” remark
recently about Ted Cruz. Donald is having a good time, too and experiencing joy
the way he always has—at the expense of others. Those who are angry on the
right or who feel disenfranchised from the system, but who don’t respond to
Bernie, do respond to The Donald. Bernie and Donald are like Burt and Ernie.
While Bernie is playing with his rubber duckie in the bath, Donald is scowling
under his golden mane. Bernie is the good joy. Donald the bad.

         The others in the race for President are joyless. Carly and
Christie are now gone and they were both bullies. Jeb is so joyless he has almost
disappeared and this is not a characteristic of his father or brother, who
actually were nowhere near as dour as the kid brother is. Cruz is just mean and
Carson confused.

         There is another joyful Republican though. That’s John
Kasich and his upbeat message has begun to resonate at least in New Hampshire.
That being said, he did lose by 50,000 votes to The Donald, and he will have to
prove that his joy is infectious in South Carolina and Nevada as well as in the
rest of the south if he is to stay in the race a bit longer.

         This brings us closer to home. I found out that Leon Leach
is retiring after his 18 years of service to two Presidents of MD Anderson. I
worked closely with Leon on occasion and he was always upbeat and joyful. He is
an ordained minister and now a PhD all acquired while being paid a small
fortune by MD Anderson for doing—essentially nothing. He wowed Dr. Mendelsohn
by installing Accounting 101 and Financial Modeling 101 into MD Anderson’s
accounting system and then promptly functionally retired unless he was
sweet-talking people in Austin or prominent donors whose language of backslapping
business BS he spoke so fluently over white wine. If nothing else, Leon’s
tenure as an administrator is one of joy. I doubt his coronaries had a day of
stress given his proclivity for delegation while lounging at his ranch, growing
carrots and livestock, and convincing now two Presidents of the essential
nature of his advice which was never anything of the sort.

he was so smart, what happened to the finances in 2008 that necessitated the
clinical faculty having to bail the institution out?

         Leon’s is the ugly face of joy.

         So joy has many faces. Those imbued with it can manipulate
it as well as manipulating those around them through the careful application of
the joy in dicey political situations. Joy can cover the good, the bad, or the
ugly. Joy is something that is essential to be able to see through when it
comes at you through a political lens.

         Be sure that joy is neither vengeful nor lazy. Make sure
that what looks like joy, really is.

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