Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Perception of the Principle of Presidential Personality and Presence

Excuse the sprawling and generic nature of this post. This was just more about having something to say.


So…I write this in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which has left a significant portion of New York City damaged. There are huge flooded areas in Long Island City and downtown Manhattan. At least 100 houses have been damaged by fires in Breezy Point, Queens. There are power outages across the city, in some places purposely put in place by Con Edison, the reasoning for which I don’t fully understand just yet. 35 is the number of lives I remember reading that Sandy has claimed.
The vote for the President of the United States is on November 6th (next Tuesday). I *think I* have faith in how Obama will politicize (it will definitely be politicized) this tragedy in a good way. Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, a stalwart conservative who has promoted Mitt Romney hardcore over the course of his campaign, has already semi-turned over a new leaf and praised Obama and the F.ederal E.mergency M.anagement A.ssistance for helping out with the disaster of Hurricane Sandy, especially in his hometown of New Jersey. Romney, however, has leapt back into his American Civil War state-of-mind and said that the individual American states should be in charge of doing preparation and clean-up for disasters that hit them.
However, I’m here to talk about a perception of the Presidential debates. Over the past 6 weeks, the United States has aired their ceremonial 4. The candidates sit on stage as a moderator, usually a T.V. host or journalist of some sort who does not have a sharply-defined political bias, asks them questions about important national and international issues.
After the first debate, the general public opinion is that Obama lost due to Romney’s aggressive lying and refusal to admit the truth about his views on taxing the middle class, where he’ll get the money to fill our deficit, and actually caring about healthcare for old people. The second one centered on the Vice Presidential debate, where Democrat Joe Biden laughed and smiled his way through Republican Paul Ryan’s corporate-bought, plastered-on smile and usual conservative lies on the facts. The third one was a return to Obama and Romney, who were asked questions by a group of undecided voters. Obama was trained to show courage, to say what he had to say, and to point out what kind of scumbag Romney is. The 4th one was much quieter, with Obama civilly attacking Romney and Romney agreeing to all of Obama’s views, which his voter base hated.
But one thing began to occur to me as these debates happened and Lawrence O’Donnell, a T.V. host on the cable channel MSNBC had explained it best.
We watch these debates and make judgments about the Presidential candidates on them, but they are not the true depiction of how these guys will be as Commanders-In-Chief. These debates display them on stage, by themselves, trying to respond to relatively random questions with the best deliberate and clear answers they can give off the top of their heads, and debating with each other face-to-face to show the public the best image of themselves that they can. True, realistic governing is done in closed rooms, with other people around of varying opinions and fields talking to the President about how to act on certain issues. Governing is also shown in the records of the candidates’ responses to public problems in the past. It is not shown in debating with their opponents and constantly trying to sell themselves to the public.
I also have trouble with people, especially undecided voters, who judge the Presidential candidates based on their personalities. My boss told me that I should appreciate Romney because he’s a church-going man (Mormon) and a father who has given to various charities, amongst a list of other things I could give two shits about. Who fucking cares?
He is pro-Life, pro-private sector, an opponent of Obamacare, not a believer of bringing a definitive end to the Afghanistan War, and a believer that Russia is a “geopolitical” enemy….whatever that means. Of course, in the aspect of War, Obama has a bit of failure as well, having launched combat drones into India, Pakistan and other places that have claimed the lives of over 170 civilians, which include women and children. Additionally, this issue over putting a stop to American companies sending jobs to China has to be further delved into. Romney says he wants to stop it, but he used to (and probably still does) work with companies that have done just that.
Anyway, it is the political principles and social views of the candidates that determine if I vote for them. These are the things that will be governing us. Not the church-going, or their love for their family, or where there from or how they look. I mean, I guess one can say that those things will determine if a President is lying or not. But as I’ve mentioned, one can look into a candidate’s voting history when they were much further out of the spotlight for evidence of that. One can also say that President will act in the interests of his personal views, but that then makes them selfish and automatically invalid in my eyes. A good President acts in the interests and the general good of the nation.
My take is that people should sit down and ask themselves to identify and describe what things they believe will develop and further the nation (and the world, if your heart is big) to a brighter, freer and more educated status, and then see which President properly responds to those things in his ideas.
However, it’s a free, democratic country. People are free to vote for their candidates using whatever standards they like. People have both fully supported Obama as well as try to destroy his administration based on the fact that he’s black. But for this whole qualified-guy-in-the-White-House thing to work, it might help if you paid more attention to things that are relevant to the position at hand. 

2 comments:

  1. A thoughtful piece, my friend, with room for people to make their own choice. Good, liberal work!

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  2. So we have a thing here every week called Prime Minister's Questions - where the opposition leaders get to grill the PM on matters of state - but the thing is that he gets to see the questions, or general theme of them at least in advance and i suspect the same is mostly true of the TV debates in the USA

    Nixon proved that part of being a successful President these days is looking good on TV (by losing to the much more controlled and TV friendly looking JFK) - but the reality is, as you say, that it bears little resemblance to the reality of trying to run a country.

    Personally i think that paying politicians only encourages them. if they really cared about making the world a better place they'd do it for free

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