Is it possible to already have election burnout? It seems like just weeks ago we sweated through this and have finally become friends again with our buddies voting across enemy lines. Yet, here I am, already getting a migraine and already bored of the mud-slinging and mockery over a job that no one actually wants.
Who really wants to be president anymore anyhow? Once upon a time, the role of Commander in Chief was one of prestige. Now, I almost think the interchangeable terms Commander in Chief and President of the United States should be separated into two different titles for two separate roles. Really, can you place Commander in Chief Abraham Lincoln in close comparison to any “Commander” elected in your lifetime? But, I digress…
In my voting years, the title President of the United States seems to win you this:
- Not the greatest paying job in the country (To put it in perspective, Snooki’s paycheck is higher.)
- An invisible bulls-eye planted on your forehead, upon which at least half of the nation's hatred will be focused
- Your very own Saturday Night Live parody sketch
- A disposable amount of unpaid interns at your beck and call, who will only later ruin your life/historic legacy/marriage/future Hollywood career.
- Unwanted fashion ridicule
- Your family’s appearances, actions and beverages of choice under constant scrutiny
- No less than two stomach ulcers and one necessary heart surgery
And, people wish this on their children at the ripe age of three months! You know, when they learn to simultaneously burp and roll over weeks ahead of their peers in playgroup. “He so smart! I already know he’ll be President one day!” (Note: Never Commander in Chief.)
And, why is it that we equate intelligence with presidential potential anyhow? I can go out on that limb and say I’m smarter than many of our past elects. And, without one semester of college under my belt! (Side note: Lack of higher education does not make me dumb, it makes me poor. Haven’t you all seen Good Will Hunting? Sheesh!)
I'm not bragging. Most of you too can rival the intelligence of a former President. Here’s an informal list I found predicting past presidential I.Q. scores (source:
- George Washington: 118
- U. S. Grant: 110
- Andrew Jackson: 123
- Abraham Lincoln: 128
- John F. Kennedy: 117
- George W. Bush: 125
- Bill Clinton: 137
For comparison’s sake:
- Leonardo DaVinci: 220
- Benjamin Franklin: 160
- Bill Gates: 160
- Sharon Stone: 154
Frankly, I prefer my geniuses in the lab curing cancer or in a workshop making my PC more user-friendly.
I’d prefer wisdom over intelligence in a world leader. Meaning, someone able to apply common logic at the appropriate time needed over someone with the ability to do math equations quickly in their mind. A cautious word goes further in a leadership role than being able to quote every name, date and place in the eight-grade history book. (Note to certain female hopefuls: Please stop trying to do this. It is not a job requirement.)
If you’re gauging your vote on intelligence, stop hurting yourself. You only get to choose from the people stupid enough to run.
Hot topics are another thing that have been hammering the inside of my skull. I know many people vote on social convictions and I don’t fault you for that! I have very strong opinions myself, but realistically… Hot Topic to me means nothing more than that dark store in the mall where you can buy black pants with lots of zippers on the legs. (Zippers with stringy things attached!)
I never have nor ever will change my morals based on law. I don’t recall many laws passed or repealed in my lifetime based on political influence. And, I can’t imagine one being passed or repealed that would in any way affect my day-to-day life. Prohibition has never been reinstated, yet I’m not an alcoholic. Abortion is still legal, yet I’ve never killed a fetus. Gay marriage was just passed in the state of New York yet, amazingly, I woke up the next morning still straight! They’re hot buttons! I know I’m supposed to care, that's why I used the exclamation points! But, a lot of it is just irrelevant to my life. If it's relevent to yours, fine, go forth young (wo)man. (That said, there are ten Laws I try desperately to follow. If you curious, you can find them in the book of Exodus.)
I don’t say this to be provocative, offensive or to incite any kind of riotous behavior (Or hate mail! Unfriend me if you must, but please no hate mail!) I’m just saying, don’t expect to check a box or punch a chad and have someone take the moral weight off your shoulders. Be president of your own household. Teach your children of your convictions. Incite social responsibility amongst your own sphere of influence. More can happen out here than in a white mansion on Pennsylvania Avenue. Don’t expect too much of that position. The president is not your spouse, parent, domestic partner, religious leader, local deputy, HR manager or reporting supervisor.
That being said, what should we look for in a president? It’s pretty much a PR position these days, isn’t it? So maybe (bullet-points are huge this season):
- The self-control to not pass gas in front of foreign dignitaries.
- The strength to keep one’s foot from between one’s teeth.
- The good-natured ability to smile politely for the better part of a 4-8 year time span.
- If I might coin a term: “Schmoozability” seems to go a long way. (Oh, my spell-checker is at full tilt right now!)
- The common sense to hire those who will provide the best support and to give the proper authority to those who can best keep those nasty terrorists at bay.
That seems pretty reasonable.
So, when your child comes to you and states they’d like to become an auto mechanic one day, don’t dissuade him or her. Don’t ask them “Wouldn’t you rather be president, honey?” I’m more worried about auto shop programs being cut in many public schools (meaning, once my mechanic retires, I’ll be hard-pressed to find a new one) than I am about who will be the president of this nation 20 years from now.
Don’t tell your child that an auto mechanic wouldn’t make a decent enough living, because you’re probably that same parent I hear at the local garage griping about how much you’re being charged. My Trailblazer won’t last forever without proper maintenance! I don’t know if the education system expected us to all be commuting by anti-gravity boots by now, but we still need mechanics (and retail managers, and janitors, and someone to raise the food, and kill the food, and sell the food, and cook the food, and serve the food…)
Let your children thrive wherever their talents lie. Because, I still haven’t figured out why anyone would want to be president.
Maybe for the library?