Out of our society, a very few are chosen to lead. Of these, a tiny percentage attain a position of power, be it political, or position-related. The seemingly unattainable position of President of the United States is, no doubt, the pinnacle of political position. Our president, besides being the Commander-in-Chief, the leader of the free world and all of that other stuff, is, necessarily, a smart person.
Any person, so deeply vetted, must have intellect, poise, charisma, and a command of the political environment. Regardless of the talk on the street, few or no dummies ever occupy the oval office. The attainment of such office requires the ability to coordinate a campaign, generate a plan and to execute it under unending scrutiny, to field each question with a rehearsed and proper answer, to incorporate always, and alienate never. One slip and you certainly will fail.
Jimmy Carter is a brilliant man. I believe that he has all of the qualities that would make a great friend or neighbor. He is honorable. He is selfless. He is of high intellect. He is tested and loyal and is stable in times of stress. I do not believe that he was a great president.
Ronald Reagan had none of the appropriate background. He was an actor. He hadn’t a background in business, economics, or even politics. He had seemingly only a handsome face and a good demeanor, yet, I believe, he became one of the great presidents of our time.
One thing that each of these great men share is this – the absolute distain of the unenlightened. I have heard people call our President names, threaten his life, accuse him of subversion. Things that they would never say about their neighbor, they say openly about our President.
It is a wonderful thing, to live in a place where open dialog is allowed that questions or even denounces our government. We are a unique and blessed society to have the freedom that our constitutional government affords us. With this right goes, too, a level of responsibility. We each are responsible to understand the issues and to form opinions on them, to voice our opinions, and to be a part of the process that is our representative republic. This is, unfortunately, not the case.
Many are drawn into these many oversimplifications of complex problems. They fail to understand the need for debate, the building of consensus, and even civility. They accuse Democrats of being irresponsible with money, of buying votes. They accuse Republicans of being elitists, uncaring for the middle or lower class of citizenry. They polarize and alienate and divide. They stand on position without compromise, unyielding to negotiation, ready to fight to the death over any issue.
They refuse to approve budgets, appropriations, they drive our government to the brink of failure – all to prove a point – yet, the point is pointless. If you look back at the political parties that we have today, you will see that they have stood on both sides of the debate over the years. You will find that they just may be simply against what the other wants.
The prime target on the top of the political pyramid is the President. Our disfunction as a society, our disfunction as a political entity, our disfunction as a country, is focused on this one man. Our ignorance, our bigotry, our judgmental tendencies, all are openly expressed without even the filters of decency, at this one man.
What we say about our President, be he white, or black, man, or woman, Republican, or Democrat, is what we believe about ourselves. Reagan showed us; the office of the President of the United States deserves a level of dignity, and every person who is enlisted by us to so serve deserves, too, that level of dignity.
In all steps of politics, we must find, again, open and honest communication. That is dependent on mutual respect and consideration. It is our own failures that we vent at our leader. It is our own ineptitude that causes us to lash out at the one person who we put in the position of ultimate power within our government.