Parade is the place to be

Ah, the Fourth of July. Independence Day. A day to be with friends and family, to fly the flag, to remember the sacrifices of the people who helped to shape the America we know today.

In Amherst, of course, it is a day for the best July 4 parade in the state.

And this year, because we are approaching another First in the Nation New Hampshire Presidential Primary with, at last count, a dozen Republican candidates for possible candidates for the GOP nomination, it could be – really, it should be – a day fraught with candidate glad-handing.

In other words, a really great day to be at the parade and see … who?

Don’t know.

But any candidate who isn’t there is a dun­derhead because it’s a wonderful showcase. Even a Boston television station or two might be there and everyone knows that you don’t count as a serious candidate unless TV deigns to stick your puss on the screen, even if only for a fleeting moment.

Again this year, though, and in months leading up to this spot in time, there have been some calls from politicians around the nation to ignore or at least downplay our Pri­mary. New Hampshire, they say, isn’t repre­sentative of America as it is constituted today and they are right. Our minority population is miniscule, comparatively, so we don’t, they say, give candidates and pundits a good idea of how the rest of the country views things.

We are not, in other words, Los Angeles or New York or Miami and obviously we are not.

What we are, though, is interested, and that has always been the case in New Hampshire. Most of us do not sit upon our hands when it comes to help Republicans and Democrats select their presidential nominees. Most of us vote in one primary or another.

This year, the serious contest is among Re­publicans, not just because of the number of candidates, but because there are some obvi­ous differences among them. Rand Paul is not Marco Rubio who is not Jeb Bush who is not Ted Cruz and none of them are, thank God, Donald Trump who is to politics what the guy in the baggy pants, floppy jacket, huge shoes and red nose was to vaudeville:

"OK, boys, now bring out the real acts."

He’s a fun guy, though, but hard to take seriously because, so far, he seems to have no plans for anything except pontification:

"Greatest jobs president blah, blah, blah."

"Build a border fence dadit, dadit, dada."

Sound the sound bite alert.

The Amherst parade doesn’t give can­didates a chance to speak, and that’s fine because, like Fox News with debates, it would have to limit the number somehow and then somebody would be angry and that’s not what the parade is about. You see, despite the politicians who march, it isn’t a political pa­rade. It’s about honoring America, honoring Americans, and having fun with your friends a family.

Have we forgotten to mention the Demo­crats? Right. Well, let’s see, there’s Hillary Clinton, and then there’s …

OK, Bernie Sanders is an interesting guy and certainly more serious than the Tower of Trump, but come on, people. And Martin O’Malley? Serious? Sure. Able to win? Hmm­mmm.

No, friends, barring some sort of cosmic event, it’s Hillary and once upon a time, indeed in 2008, we thought that was a wonder­ful idea. But all of the simis about the Clinton foundation and all the money and the allega­tions of foreign contributions for some sort of influence just makes us wonder what the heck is going on.

But, for the Democrats, it’s Hillary.

So we wonder how many Independents and Democrats will vote in the GOP primary this year where a real choice is going to be made. And we wonder if whatever New Hampshire does for the GOP will resonate across the na­tion. You know, as in 1996 when Pat Buchanan won our primary and went on to win the Re­publican nomination and defeat Bill Clinton in … well, some alternate universe, perhaps.

And as of this writing, Donald Trump is polling second to Jeb Bush in our Granite State which could convince Buchanan to jump into the race. Or Ross Perot. Or Ron Paul. Hey, let’s get ’em all back.

Seriously, though, this July 4, while you’re spending time with friends and family and after you’ve gone to the parade, spend a few minutes thinking about the candidates. Sure, it’s early. But it’s never too early.

Just ask the people who have been running for months. Years? Hmmmmmmm.