Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Nation We Are Becoming

I sometimes wonder why would anyone run for President of the United States.  But then I realize the nature of the "political animal," as Aristotle so perfectly labeled us.  The power is seductive for those attracted to same.  The desire to sit at the top of the heap, call the shots, and perhaps most significant, to realize you have a place in history, must be all to much for those of us with enormous egos to be assuaged.  Occasionally, we'll see a genuinely selfless person throw his/her hat into the ring, but for most who give it a try, they all have that common denominator.
In this current campaign, we've seen some new lows.  Decorum be damned, most of the political discussions that pass for serious commentary quickly disintegrate into alley fights with people talking over each other smiling a smarmy smile until some kind of order is restored.  What I've seen on the networks lately, I wouldn't let stand in a classroom discussion.  Some role models we're getting these days.

I've been thinking, too, about what the real qualifications of the job might be.  Given life in America in 2016, seems to me that a whole new set of criteria are necessary.
Lets start with Empathy:This new President is going to have to deal with gun violence, and be the bearer of bad news to families as well as the nation.  Since we've taken our place as "The Gun Country," it's not unrealistic to think that our new leader is going to have a fair share of mass shootings to deal with.
Emotional Strength: Given the state and frequency of terrorism and the degree of paranoia currently present, our President is going to need to be level-headed under pressure.  There will be emergencies both human and natural (nature) aplenty in the next 4 years.
Intelligence:  A captain at the helm better know the lessons of history as well as the latest information about technology, geo-politics, climate change, and cultural sensitivity.  Speaking a few languages wouldn't hurt either.  I would add another characteristic here.  Who do these candidates surround themselves with?  What kind of people do they take for the finest minds out there?  Who will be in their sphere of influence.
Vulnerability and Humanity:  This quality would make some folks I know cringe, but I want to advance it anyway.  A President that the majority of the people can respect is crucial.  Being vulnerable and showing human qualities can do just that, in my view.  Our populace is so polarized now that it just might be too late for any kind of lasting unity, but someone in the White House that earns and commands respect by virtue of just being a human being with human frailties and sensibilities would be refreshingly welcome.
Come November 8, we'll see just what we get.  And...if there is any truth to the notion that the people we elect are the people we deserve, we'll learn a bit about the nation we are and are becoming.

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