Presidential Politics

From the Farm:


Published in the Casper Journal January 18, 2012

Why anybody would want to run for president is beyond me. To suddenly have your entire life put on display, like a slow movie, one millisecond at a time, for passersby to scrutinize and scowl at; to have every action, every glance, every word dissected; to have personal relationships torn to the ground - it's an exercise that only the very toughest could hope to endure. The process our nation puts politician-wannabes through is nearly dehumanizing. Their words are "twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools." The cruelty reminds me of "Lord of the Flies," a group of young boys, playing with sticks at being men, who mistakenly kill one of their own.
Our political atmosphere sometimes mirrors the mood in my home. "He said ... She said ..." How do I know who's telling the truth? Mothers not only need to be good cooks, maids, chauffeurs and teachers, they also need to be good attorneys. My college degree has been helpful, but I'll admit, sometimes I wish for a few litigation skills. A law degree would come in handy as a mother, especially when I'm called upon to serve justice. Perhaps a Pinocchio's nose isn't such a bad idea for children ... or politicians.
Mudslinging isn't new, in the White House or in our home. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, two great founding fathers, even stooped to outrageous accusations during a presidential campaign. The people were left to discern who was right and who was wrong. And they chose Jefferson. Smeared by false scandal, John Adams left town in anger the day of Jefferson's inauguration. Although they had once worked for a common cause, the two became fierce enemies. Later, they made up their broken relationship, and miraculously died on the same day, July 4, 1826, just a few hours apart.
In a country where there's no royalty, we the people must choose our loyalties. Thankfully, as a credit to democracy, there are generally honest citizens who're willing to put personal interests aside for our country. George Washington, our first president, had to be coerced into accepting the position. He preferred the country life, at home on his plantation, to that of politics. In a true show of citizenship, he gave up his comfortable lifestyle to lead our country through the first eight years, until he warded off all pleas to continue and returned to Mount Vernon. Thank goodness for men like him.
If we must go through another political season, would there be any way candidates could simply share their ideas, their policies, their plans for leading our country? Instead of the bashing, the mudslinging, the challenging, the picking, couldn't we just hear the truth? Perhaps it's too much to ask of a democracy. Until there's an outraged mother to hand around a few good spankings, there will be meanness. However, despite the criticizing, I'm still grateful for men and women who're willing to put their lives, their family's lives, and their personal reputations on the line for America. It's up to me (law degree or not) to discern between truth and mud.

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