Do you remember when it was political suicide for a presidential candidate to admit he had smoked marijuana…even once? I do. We all knew deep down it was a lie but it didn’t really matter. Because our presidential candidates were supposed to be better than us, principled, educated, refined, pure even – leaders that had poise, charisma, intelligence, and a steady, calming presence.
We needed our potential leaders to be superior to us – not in a demeaning “I’m better than you” sense but in a “I’m here and everything is going to be better” sense. We needed leaders befitting the presidency of the greatest nation this world has ever seen. What we really needed was a demi-god – not a mere mortal. So we went along with the polite lies because we had an innate need to do so.
Fast forward to the present. Our digital world has shattered any pretense of purity. Because none of us are. Now, it’s less how “good” you are and more how “not bad” you are. Sometimes simply “bad”. Our public figures seem to operate from two sides of the same coin. Some seem to flaunt their “bad side” (think Reality TV) while other segments do everything they can to present only the good (politicians, CEOs). Yet none are immune from truth. Everyone has been captured in an honest moment – or an embarrassing one – it’s out there, somewhere, waiting.
But I think we still pretend, we still like to believe that there are those who are better, loftier. And I think that’s perhaps why we ended up with the less than ideal choices facing us in the current election (I know, I know – but bear with me – hear me out).
Some wanted a steady, practiced hand in the presidency – an experienced and groomed president if you will. An almost surprising number wanted change – anything but the one we’ve had. So we went out and “found” our candidates.
Hillary was the old guard – long in experience but with some real baggage and short on morals. But who else was there for the Democrats? Biden? Nope. And wouldn’t it be somehow fitting if there was a woman president after having an African-American president? At the time, Hillary seemed like the safe bet – kind of boring, a bit distasteful, but highly experienced with a long history in the public domain. You knew what you were getting. Or at least you thought you did.
On the Republican side the choices were less obvious. Three or so years ago, I simply assumed Hillary would be the Democratic nominee. The question for me was who would be the Republican candidate. This led me to believe that absent the rise of a new, and as yet, unknown star in the Republican ranks Hillary was likely to become President. This thought troubled me deeply. I’m guessing there were others who felt the same way.
The Republican field started with 17 candidates for the nomination. Stop and think about that. 17 candidates! The single greatest number of potential nominees in the primaries for any party – ever! It wasn’t hope coming from the Republicans, it was desperation. That number was quickly whittled down with most of the old guard candidates tossed out. At the end of the day Trump was still standing while Kasich, Rubio and Cruz were left shaking their heads in wonderment and dismay.
So. What do we have?
On the Democrat side we have Mrs. Clinton – the first woman presidential candidate ever. A policy specialist with an almost unmatched resume. Just oozing experience.
On the Republican side we have Mr. Trump – a political outsider, a brilliant businessman, a billionaire – someone who is immune to political favors, honest, forthright and tells it like it is.
Yeah, but what about all those emails, the FBI investigation, Benghazi? What about that history – the one of scandals, cattle futures, shattered careers and Bill Clinton?
Yeah, but what about the failed casinos, the brashness, arrogance and almost childish demeanor, the inane outbursts that kinda don’t make sense? The policy proposals that aren’t really very Republican…
Nope, nope, nope.
Mrs. Clinton is a policy specialist with an almost unmatched resume and will make history as the first woman president.
Mr. Trump is a brilliant businessman, a billionaire, an outsider immune to political favors, someone who is honest, forthright and tells it like it is.
And so it happened. We told ourselves the lies we needed to hear. We ignored the obvious truths staring us in the face.
We got what we asked for. We got what we deserved.
Sadly, we didn’t get what we needed.
newer post Donald Unchained
older post Milton’s Responsibilities