There has come a time in every recent presidential election when I’ve started to get a real feel for the candidates and their takes on the most important issues facing our nation today and it all becomes clear.
Well, let me set that stage a little better, if you don’t mind. That could have been confusing to read at first blush.
This clarity in which I speak is not focused on one candidate striking a chord with me that generates enthusiasm and compels me to go buy buttons and bumper stickers. On the contrary, that metaphorical bolt of lightning that descends from the heavens and pierces my brain shines a different kind of light on the candidates we have to choose from to hold the highest office in the land.
You see, it strikes me that it’s now the beginning of March, and I still don’t have a candidate I particularly care for to serve as both CEO of the nation I love, and commander-in-chief of the most awesome military force the world has ever seen.
Let’s be clear: The position of president of the United States of America is not an easy one. Sure, it’s not like being editor of a weekly newspaper at a beach resort, mind you, but it’s still fairly complicated.
The onus of the entire nation’s economy falls squarely on your shoulders, fair or not. The daily pendulum swings of the stock markets generate blame or credit to the person sitting in the big chair, gas prices elicit uninformed correlations to the performance of the president and legacies are crumbled or praised based on that percentage of Americans who are not currently working at any given time.
Right or wrong, justly or unjustly, the buck indeed does stop at the White House, and people really don’t want to hear any complaining about the other party getting in the way, foreign markets upsetting the proverbial apple cart or unprovoked attacks setting the nation on the edge. We are a people focused squarely on results, and we don’t suffer excuses.
As my father was always fond of saying, “Don’t tell me about the labor. Show me the baby.”
Add in the notion that about 45 percent of the country won’t agree with you no matter what you do or say, simply because you align with a different political party, and social media and commenting platforms now give everybody a stage from which to spit vitriol and hate, and it’s easy to see from the outside that this is not a job for the faint of heart.
Yes, it takes a special kind of person to wake each morning knowing the fate of a nation, and in many ways, the world, rests on the decisions you make that day. One must be part scholar, part warrior, part pacifist, part economist, part sage, part preacher, part negotiator and part leader. In fact, it’s almost impossible to envision someone who not only carries all these traits, but is also willing to sacrifice the privacy of his or her family and any semblance of a “normal life” for the duration of a lifetime.
But that’s what we deserve, isn’t it?
Our great nation deserves the best of the best to lead us into a new age — it’s a time of great technological advancements and a world economy seemingly ripe to explore. Of course, it is also a time of immense fracture, with religious, idealogical and cultural differences being spotlighted with the kind of fanatical fervor only seen a few times before.
And, well, those times in the past typically resulted in world wars, nuclear explosions and the rise and fall of empires.
More than ever, it is my opinion that this nation needs a unifier to stand up and bring us together. When the going gets tough, the tough become stronger, and that is exactly what we must do today.
Is Hillary Clinton a unifier? Bernie Sanders? Donald Trump? Ted Cruz?
I don’t really see it in any of the frontrunners. Look, I get the excitement behind a Sanders or Trump campaign. People are fed up with the status quo and want to see real, permanent change at the top. I share that opinion.
But couldn’t the change come from someone who wants to implement it with a consensus? Shouldn’t grown people be able to sit in a room and find compromise that benefits the great people of this nation, as opposed to digging in their heels to make a political point and creating a giant pile of... nothing?
I look forward to voting this cycle. It is a remarkable right we possess, and maybe it’s time more of us look at it as a personal obligation rather than a nuisance that takes time out of our busy days. Eventually, I will settle in my mind over who I believe will do a less-awful job.
But that’s a little depressing, isn’t it?