So here I am, doing one of my least favorite chores: cleaning my bathrooms. It's gross and sweaty and takes a fair amount of time to do it right. Coming face to face with the messy habits of my four favorite people in the world, right in my face, is just something I never look forward to. But I do it and after it's done, I do have a sense of relief and pride that it looks much better than when I started.
As I was cleaning this morning, I was thinking of the humbling act of service that cleaning the toilet is. And how if you don't have to clean toilets, either your own or someone else's, you are missing out on a key experience that grounds and connects us all as humans.
So I am proudly introducing the Libutti Reality Scale, which is an easy question to ask someone running for public office. Sure, you may know if they are Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, and where they stand on a number of issues ranging from the economy, security and jobs to immigration, the environment, and social issues.
But when is the last time they've cleaned a bathroom?
Because if it's been over a year, then I'm sorry: you are living in a different reality than I am.
If you want to tell me you understand my issues and my life, and you are going to represent me in a body of government, you'd better have swished and swirled some type of cleaner in the past year. Because if you haven't, than you have not come face to face with the grossness of humans. You have been protected. And that's a luxury.
Just to be clear: I have nothing against people with house cleaners. If I came into a little bit of money, the first thing I would do is hire a maid or housekeeper. But one has to understand that by delegating this job to someone else, one has taken a step (a pleasant step, but a step nonetheless) away from the experience of most Americans. And that puts a little wall between you and me.
Now, maybe that's not a big deal. It certainly doesn't make someone more or less fit to serve. And I am a big believer that I don't want ordinary people representing me, I want extraordinary people representing me.
But I think this can be a helpful tool for those trying to make thoughtful decisions about future leaders.
So I am graciously offering the Libutti Reality Scale as a suggestion to the moderators of the upcoming Republican debate next Wednesday.
For clarity's sake, it is a three-point scale:
Level 1: I have cleaned a bathroom in the past year.
Level 2: I have cleaned a bathroom in the past 10 years.
Level 3: It has been over 10 years OR I have never cleaned a bathroom.
The higher the number, the less you are living the same reality as mine and that of most of your soon-to-be constituents. If you are a Level 1 AND are running for President, that is strongly in your favor.
You are real.