You have to love politics and the media’s coverage of it. Well, I take that back. You don’t have to love either of them. I don’t. I’m sorry, I cannot help it. The older I get, the stronger my cynicism about politics gets.
I wasn’t always like this. Once upon a time, I really looked forward to the first time that I got to vote for a president, a senator, a governor, and so on. It was when I was young, a bit more naïve, and gave little, if any, attention to the words spoken by politicians. Whether or not they were speaking the truth, when they stated ideas or policies that they espoused, was not deeply important to me.
I still remember when I voted for President Obama in 2008. It was an exciting time for me. I had graduated from college the same year, I was hired for my first full-time job, and I had voted for our first African American (or biracial) President, amongst other great events. Honestly, like many other African Americans, voting for Pres. Obama meant a lot to me. I didn’t think we, as a country, would get there in my lifetime. For me, Pres. Obama was like the John F. Kennedy of my generation. He was good-looking to me and spoke well and he connected with young people. I am not saying that it is right to vote for a person, based on those qualities, or lack thereof, but respectable or not, that’s what I did.
Now, I am older. I have gotten to see a person, who I thought was going to be the antithesis of the politicians that came before him, end up being just like the politicians that came before him. This was partly my fault. I was looking at Obama as some sort of superhero, who was going to be bipartisan and really unite our country. Of course, my eyes opened from a dream to the reality that he is imperfect and would make decisions that I would disagree with.
So, let’s bounce back to 2008 again, then come back to today’s political climate. Back in 2007 and 2008, Obama was running for the president’s seat and he just so happened to be going toe-to-toe with Senator Hillary Clinton (now Secretary Clinton). Back then, they bumped heads quite a bit on the road to gaining the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. That is nothing new since many politicians get into heated debates with one another about each other’s ideologies. But what was strange (to me anyway) was that Pres. Obama decided to nominate her as his Secretary of State. Really? You all had just been dogging each other throughout your debates and campaigns and misrepresenting each other’s beliefs, but now you are good with each other and trust each other in high political positions.
I did not look then, but over time, I have thought more and more how politicians flip-flop over their stances with one another when it’s possible to get a position with whomever becomes the winner.
So, we come to today, where we can see that President Obama has endorsed Secretary Clinton to be the next President. But I read an article on NPR’s website that reminded me of how they were bitter rivals that became the best of allies. I still feel that it is fake and just a means to keep Donald Trump out of the White House, but again this is politics as usual. They all seem like pawns in some game that goes on and on and on. Nobody really wants to change the rules or be different than what came before them and we continue on in this endless game. I hate to call it that, but that’s what it feels like.
When I saw the news that President Obama endorsed Clinton, the first thought that came to my mind was: “Was that supposed to be a surprise to anyone?” What else would he have done? Endorse Sanders? I do not think so. Yes, Obama could have chosen anyone because he has nothing to lose at this point. He has had his two terms. But Sanders is a long shot to getting the nomination and Obama (and most Democrats) will do whatever they can to keep Trump out of the office.
I have come to accept that politics in our country is like playing chess on a much grander scale (from what I have seen since I am no real chess player). You have to make moves and decisions that can effect the outcome of the game in different ways. Just like chess has a winner and a loser; politics has winners and losers. Maybe one day, we will see a man or a woman step up to lead this country not in the usual fashion that has caused so much political friction and inner turmoil that still plagues us today.
An unusual presidential candidate that is about civil discourse and stand on their own two feet away from the platforms of what looks to be corrupted political parties. Here is to dreaming of that person!
[Addendum: Here is a link to a podcast from the Hoover Institution. It is: The Classicist, with Victor Davis Hanson: “10 Commandments For The Next President” – (“Victor Davis Hanson presents a decalogue to guide the behavior of the next inhabitant of the Oval Office.”)