Sonoma Speaks: What gift would you give our leaders in Washington?

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As the season of giving unfolds, we at the Index-Tribune thought it would be interesting to find out what Christmas gift Sonomans would like to give to our leaders in Washington, D.C.

The responses from folks we questioned in downtown Sonoma Thursday ran the gamut, from heartfelt to angry to beneficent to pointed to sarcastic. One thing they all had in common: Brevity.

Rick Suerth’s response was typical in length. The present he would like to give our elected officials: “Common sense,” he said. The Sonoma resident added that in the U.S. Capitol, “everything becomes partisan, and as a consequence, the peoples’ work doesn’t get done.”

Suerth’s plea for bipartisanship probably wouldn’t be lost on Nancy Rasmussen of Sonoma, who gets the award for economy of phrase in this crowded field: “The Lord’s Prayer.”

It’s not entirely certain whether Rasmussen was thinking about the “lead us not into temptation” part, which a number of elected officials could certainly use some help with.

On the other hand, perhaps Rasmussen was thinking that some leaders could stand to be reminded that “thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory,” with the “thine” definitely not applying to the mortals occupying the seats in Washington, D.C.

Deborah Feore of Sonoma said her gifts would be “broader thinking. More acceptance. Kindness.”

Jene Morris – a former player in the Women’s National Basketball Association, a professional basketball league featuring the world’s best basketball players – said, “A sense of humanity.”

Jake Holzhauser of Santa Rosa, who was on his lunch break, suggested giving “a little Trump doll you could squeeze and it talks back to you.”

Bob Schultz of Sonoma said, “A sense of decency. Have some of that George Bush spirit rub off on them,” referring to President George H.W. Bush, who died Nov. 30 and has been mourned nationally.

Valerie Cucco of Napa said she would like to give the country’s leaders “wisdom, so they can learn from history and make good decisions.”

Along those lines, and even more succinctly, Max Fricano of Glen Ellen said her gift would be “a sense of empathy.”

Celia Rucker had the most emphatic comment – and the last word. “I wouldn’t give them anything,” the Sonoma resident said. She reflected, “The people wanted change and they got what they wanted. Now we just have to get through it.”

Reach Janis Mara at

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