Well, it seems as if there’s a little more clarity now in regards to the 2016 presidential election.
Granted, we still have a ways to go before we cast our ballots, and there are still presumably many more dominoes to fall, but the recent announcements by Republican candidates Ted Cruz and Rand Paul have given this race a little shot of reality. People do, in fact, still want to be president of the United States of America.
In other news, people also enjoy getting punched in the face by titanium-crafted robots and being audited while covered in honey and tied to a pole with fire ants being shot at them from an air cannon.
Why would anyone want this job? The hours stink. Your children are scrutinized by the world on a daily basis. There’s no way you can break wind in the convenience store without everyone talking about it, and the opposite side of the political aisle will attack you at every turn, questioning everything from your intelligence to your patriotism.
Oh, and there’s the whole “leader of the free world” thing, and all that comes along with that little title.
Can you imagine a life where you wake up in the morning, do whatever it is you do before you greet the world and then get ushered into a meeting that is centered around nuclear arms in Iran, ISIS, whatever insane yammering the dude from North Korea is spewing forth at any given moment or people burning down their communities in America — because of police officers shooting suspects or their college basketball team did or didn’t win a big game? Then, after the 924 bottles of Excedrin you’d need to swallow after formulating a plan for any or all of those situations, you turn on the news and see they are ridiculing you for how you pronounced a word the other day or questioning where you were born.
Sign me up right now, said no rational-thinking person.
Think of the stresses we are all under on a daily basis. Many of those are very real, particularly in our individual lives — such as keeping a roof over our heads, food on the table and our children happy and healthy. Nobody has it easy in this world, despite our insistence on embracing “the grass is always greener” mantra.
It’s tough out there for all of us, regardless of our race, gender, age, faith or economic status. Think rich people have it easy? Maybe in regards to being able to keep the lights on at home, but don’t think there aren’t stresses that reach all of us. How do you think a wealthy man reacts to hearing his wife ask, “Do I look fat in this?” The same as the rest of us — a gulp and a single tear.
Now try adding on the realization that everything you say, do or decide is scrutinized by news-followers around the world, satirized by comedians and ridiculed and verbally assaulted by talking heads on television who either lost their own elections years ago or are pushing their own agendas with every word they speak.
Politics has always been a sticky issue in this country. Remember when it was considered socially taboo to discuss politics or religion in polite conversation? Yes, people have always strongly held their beliefs, but it wasn’t worth losing friends over or starting a scene. Now? Well, we might as well all get tattoos on our faces of elephants or donkeys so we can be more easily identified.
I was having a conversation the other day with a good friend about how “haters” have taken over the world of being a sports fan. Quarterbacks must be “elite” or they are bums. “So-and-so is overrated.” “The Patriots cheat.” We wondered when all this silliness started, and we decided it was when more people got a voice for their opinions through the Internet.
Let me correct that: It started when people got more of a voice through the Internet so they could spew their hate from the safety of a keyboard and screenname, without having to be accountable or particularly well-informed.
Same goes for politics.
This lack of respect for our commanders-in-chief really got rolling with President Clinton (consider that timeline, in relationship to the boom of the Internet). Clinton was lampooned for his personal transgressions, Bush came along and was trashed for misspeaking, and Obama has had his faith and patriotism repeatedly called into question. All of them have seen their daughters be publicly ridiculed, as well. That personal garbage sets a tone that carries over into the actual political discourse.
Now, they’ve also been criticized for their actions as top dog, but that’s fair game, and that’s been going on since Thag and Gred hosted Sunday morning political shows on caveman politics. That’s what they are supposed to be challenged over, and that’s what makes a great democracy work. But the personal shots do nothing but weaken our image to the world and prevent good people from getting involved in the process.
Keep your heads down, candidates. It’s going to get ugly.