by Morgan Freeberg | March 24, 2011 10:00 am
I still can’t get used to the idea of a presidential election campaign in one year, running through its various stages in earlier years. The campaign of 2012 has been going on since the first time our current President’s approval rating hit its history-making down-slide, sometime during the spring of ’09. Perhaps persons like myself are to blame for this, for our actions that I, for one, would cheerfully do all over again.
But since the campaign season of 2012 has been underway for two years now, I see it has now entered the “What Do You Think Of” stage. Friends and acquaintances ask me what I think of some new or aspiring candidate. They’re all female, and the spirit in which they ask the question reflects that. Which is to say they’ve already made up their minds what my answer is supposed to be and I’m not altogether sure why they’re bothering to ask me. I give them my answer, and then they ask a different question — or maybe the same one again — consistently demonstrating that they didn’t pay attention to what I just got done telling them. Kind of a “this dress or this dress?” thing.
But the ladies maintain no monopoly on what follows. This next piece of turf they must share with the gentlemen: We seem to have a lot of people out there who, blisteringly disappointed with the way the popularity contest of 2008 turned out, are eagerly anticipating the next one. The problem with this is, as I continue to explain, in vain, over and over…
If it is indeed a popularity contest, you may as well cancel the whole thing right now.
Barack Obama is The Man, you see what I’m saying? He was, in November 2008, and remains today, the pot of gold at the end of the “charming personality” rainbow. Once you buy into the notion that the Oval Office is the repository in which we ensconce the nation’s premiere salesman, there is no need to have another election. Barack Obama can sell anything to anybody. That’s the problem.
The 2012 election is a coming-of-age for a whole lot of American adults. Somehow, for whatever reason, it has become appealing to them in a natural way to make decisions about things like this toward producing a desirable outcome not in terms of the state of objects involved, but in terms of the state of their own emotions. In other words, they feel their way around perplexing problems, rather than think their way through them. That is not to say these are stupid people. It says, rather, that they have yet to mature in certain key, critical ways. It’s an easy thing to do with elections. You don’t get to see the immediate effect of the decisions made by these office-holders after they win their elections, so it’s easy to start thinking about it like a child — “I feel good about the decision I made therefore it must have been the right one.”
The point being missed is that if that’s your process, Barack Obama doesn’t represent any flaw that came afterward. He is the best-case scenario of where this can go. These people, for the most part, don’t want to accept this because if you accept it, there’s no escaping the logical conclusion that if Obama represents an unacceptable problem then so does the process itself!
And you know what the O-man said about change; it can be scary. He’s got that one right. These people need to change the way they make these decisions. They know this, but they don’t want to know this. They need to grow up in a big hurry and start voting like grown-ups, by November next.
Or else let’s just cancel the election. Seriously, save the money, save the carbon pollution offset vouchers or whatever, save the gas. You seriously think we’ll have a personality contest between Donald Trump and Barack Obama, and Trump will lock that thing up?
No, you make it about policies and issues, “If our officials do X, Y is the likely result” — or else don’t bother. And repeal term limits while you’re at it. Obama isn’t Bill Clinton; we are never, in the next twenty years or so, going to find as charming a huckster as Barack Hussein Obama. Might as well make Him our Emperor For Life. We cannot financially afford what He does, but that’s irrelevant. He belongs exactly where He is, and for the indeterminate future, nobody else ever will.
If, that is, certain people can’t grow up in certain ways.
Cross-posted at House of Eratosthenes and Washington Rebel.
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