I’m not one to talk about politics but this year’s election has stirred something inside of me. I’m not even sure if I’m a Democrat or Republican. Seriously! Living in Arkansas has opened my eyes to realize why. It’s as if there is an expectation that I should be a Democrat because of the color of my skin and because of my culture. The opposing force tells me that I should be Republican because of my faith. But is it really that easy? One or the other because of this or that? For me, the answer is no. These are not enough for me to base my whole political ideology on and to put my confidence in one political party. Maybe I should be an Independent (shrugs shoulders).
For starters, people change. People can fall victim to group think and groups may veer off to tangents that were never their original platform. I’m not convinced by one party. I’m not even completely convinced that one party holds the answer on how to properly govern a whole nation. More so, I’m definitely not convinced by one candidate. For example, I like President Obama and I think his presidency has generally been a successful one. However, I do not agree with everything he has done, nor do I agree with everything he stands for or thinks is okay. Nonetheless, his leadership is good. He is a leader that is able to empathize with people of different walks of life. He meets people where they are. He does not play favorites. He is able to put aside differences and disagreements for the greater good of the country.
I think his presidency has definitely been a different kind of presidency. I’d like to call it the cooler kind of presidency. 🙂 But I can’t help but wonder if his presidency has opened up a can of worms. I know that what I’m about to say will rub some people the wrong way and may even seem unfair, but hear me out.
I can’t help but think his presidency opened the floodgates for all of the flurry we witnessed in the months leading to the Democratic and Republican conventions. There were so many people running for president, more so on the Republican side than on the Democratic side. Why is that? I believe it is because they all had something to prove and not that they genuinely believed they would be a good leader for this country.
I am perplexed, and slightly terrified, by the options that we are left with on who will become the next president. It seems that I shouldn’t be in this quandary because one candidate is a woman. In addition, Hilary Clinton has ties to Arkansas, but that’s not reassuring to me.
During the democratic convention, social media was flooded with posts about how great it is that history can now record that there has finally been a female presidential nominee for a major political party, and maybe even a female president. I must have been the only woman on Earth not moved by that reality. It just didn’t seal the deal for me. But when compared to the alternative, it only seems like the responsible decision to take! Or maybe I’ll just cast my vote for Cory Booker and write his name in (Shout out to my third hometown, Newark, NJ!).
The American presidential election has turned into a social trend: #FirstBlankToBePresident. I’m not saying this because I feel the African heritage of my being is satisfied that black people have made it since Obama became president. Not at all! After all, I am a woman and I do want women to progress too! However, my concern is that American presidential elections have become a race to be the first-never-before-had-president.
I mentioned that I thought all of those candidates had something to prove. Think about it. It would sound nice to be the first female president of the country, or more specifically, the first wife of a former president to become president, or the first Cuban president, or the first Jewish president, or the first African-American Republican Neurosurgeon president or the first second son of a former president to be president or the first Indian president or the first….Trump president. After all we’ve had our first Catholic president, our first son of a former president to be president, and now our first African-American president. What’s next? The possibilities could be endless!
All that is swell but that’s not what puts food on the tables of the citizens of this nation. That’s not what keeps the cost of living at a manageable rate. That’s not what creates jobs. That’s not what provides wise leadership and guidance for our soldiers and federal agents who work for the protection of this nation. That’s not what protects our borders. That’s not what conducts cordial foreign relations. That’s not what keeps gas prices down or helps to bring down the nation’s debt.
I think we have forgotten what it means to be president. Let’s not lose sight of what the purpose of the presidency is. It is not simply to set a precedent. No pun intended! The real concern is not the rat race to the White House. The real concern is who can do the job diligently and leave a lasting positive impact for the future generations of this nation and even this world. The president of the leading nation on Earth should not just be good for “the first whatever to be president”. They should have the decorum, the temperament, and the tenacity to complete what they have started and to rise to whatever challenge they face. They should not be one who throws in the towel and quits when the rubber meets the road or when the crap hits the fan. They should be one willing to work with others where needed and willing to take a stand when needed. They should be revered and respected by the world and not feared. I would even argue they should be a people person.
We have lost sight of the importance of these concerns and we have turned the presidential election into a grandiose high school student council election. This is why I have felt so ambivalent to this year’s election, because I cannot honestly say these qualities are found in the Republican or Democratic candidates. At this point it really is the lesser of two evils that I would have to go for.
I enjoyed the Obama presidency. It was fun. It was different. It had big dreams, most of which came true. I truly believe Obama has a sense of respect for everyone he meets. That sense of respect and honor for his position as president are what drive him to make the decisions he makes. Obviously he cannot and has not pleased everyone, but in the short life I’ve lived so far, I’d say this has been the best presidency I have lived under.
As we move closer to election day (November 8), I hope and pray that people wake up and realize there’s more to electing the next president than what political party they have always associated with. I especially hope that people do not use their displeasure of these candidates as an excuse not to vote. As we move past election day, I hope that we, especially Christians, take heed to 1 Timothy 2: First of all, then, I urge that petitions (specific requests), prayers, intercessions (prayers for others) and thanksgivings be offered on behalf of all people, for kings (presidents) and all who are in [positions of] high authority, so that we may live a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This [kind of praying] is good and acceptable and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who wishes all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge and recognition of the [divine] truth.