“Delivering Daisies”

There’s an old song by Dory Previn called “Beware of Young Girls.” The lyrics are:

Beware
Of young girls
Who come to the door
Wistful and pale
Of twenty and four
Delivering daisies
With delicate hands

The song was written as a diatribe against the actress Mia Farrow, who had an affair with Dory’s husband, conductor and composer Andre Previn.

But lately I’ve been hearing the lyrics in a new way: as “beware of young politicians.” Like many other loyal Democrats, I’ve been dismayed by Barack Obama’s recent votes and statements. I can only hope they are bumps on the road to the White House and not an irreversible wrong turn.

During the primary season, politicians come to our doors delivering daisies. They say, “This petal stands for universal health care, and this petal stands for ending the war in Iraq. This petal stands for restoring civil liberties, and this petal stands for creating sources of alternative energy.” At least that’s how the politicians I let in my door describe their daisies.

And we reply, “What a beautiful daisy. Thank you for delivering it to me. Now I will go out and vote for you in the primary election.”

Then comes the stormy and complicated post-primary season. (Cue thunderclap and flash of lightning!) The petals become pawns in political maneuverings. Occasionally, a petal is plucked — to save the daisy, we are told! We understand about moving toward the center. We understand that a candidate must win in order to accomplish his or her goals. But what of our beautiful daisy, our personal gift? How many petals will be left on our daisy come Nov. 4, 2008?

My favorite daisy this year was the one Hillary Clinton gave me, but I had to press that in my memory book. Barack Obama’s daisy is the only one I have left, so I want it to stay alive and in full bloom. If the petal count keeps dropping, I’m going to be tempted to tell him — in a paraphrase of The Rolling Stones:

Send me dead flowers on Election Day
And I won’t forget to put roses on your political grave

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