In next president, let's see respect, not just swagger
Dawn Turner Trice
November 3, 2008
I want a president who understands that Article II of our Constitution doesn't give us an overly elaborate description of what the presidency should be. So he (or one day, she) (....hopefully, 'sir' - Simpsons reference #21 from the SNC) has to check himself, understanding that his powers are immense but not boundless. He should neither exploit them nor abuse them.
I want a president who appreciates that he is the embodiment and caretaker of an institution in which Americans of every hue see the best of our country and ourselves reflected back. (What in jumping Caesar's catfish are you talking about? I've read this sentence ten times now and I'm still lost)
I want a president who has the intellectual heft needed to help us dig out of our various holes. (I beg your pardon?) I'm not interested in a "Joe the President." (what if his last name is 'Biden'?)He and I won't ever need to sit down and have a beer, or throw back a few shots of hard liquor or even go bowling. (even go bowling?!? Whoa! Let's not say things we can't take back, there, Dawn!) We've had an everyman; we know how far a false swagger can take us.
I want a president who is curious about the world around him—a president who neither thinks as an ideologue nor speaks in sound bites; who neither believes that issues are simply black and white, nor thinks as if they are. (...not to leave the room, even if you come and get him.....Monty Python reference #26 for SNC)
I want a president who recognizes that he doesn't know everything, so he surrounds himself with people—from both sides of the aisle (because, ya' know, there are only TWO sides) and from opposing viewpoints—who can help fill in the gaps.
I want a president with whom I can "laugh with" as opposed to "laugh at." (did ya'....did ya' see what she did there? How she took the preposition...and...how she...awesome.)
I want a president who wants to hear what scientists say about global warming and then work to effect change. (even if what they hear from scientists is a load of bullshit, I still want them to effect change. And, what the fuck does 'effect change' mean, anyway? I'm getting a little tired of that empty catch-phrase.)
I want a president who appreciates green spaces and sees the importance of creating bicycle and walking pathway systems that rival our interstate highway system. (Look at me! I ride a bike!)
I want a president who has the discipline and stamina of a marathoner and the heart and dig of the best little leaguer. (Look at me! I run marathons!.....and little leaguers suck at baseball. I don't care how much heart they have. Instead, I want a Major Leaguer that falls out of bed a better ballplayer than 99% of the population.)
I want a president who loves the arts and believes in growing national treasures such as the great (now late) Studs Terkel who can write about average Americans with nuance and humanity. (What if the president thought Studs Terkel was a shitty writer? Seriously. So what? Doesn't mean he hates the arts because YOU think he's a growing national treasure, does it?)
I want a president who has convictions but knows when to let go. (...sigh)
I want a president who is loyal to his friends but not loyal to a fault. (unless I would happen to be one of his friends...then, it's okay)
I want a president who can bring an end to our wars and take the billions of dollars being spent overseas and invest them in more affordable health care and education systems here at home. If the movie 'Dave' taught us nothing else, it's that complex problems can be solved with an overly-simplistic, idealistic approach. Shouldn't we hire Charles Grodin to advise?)
I want a president who will not turn over his job to the vice president (except when going under general anesthesia). (is that another 'Dave' reference?)
I want a president who can convey to the country (and through his actions at the helm of government) that there really is no such thing as a free ride or easy credit. And beware of "No money down." (Jesus. Just watch Suzy Orman......If you need the president to tell you that, you've got a lot more problems than bad debt.)
I want a president who can explain, as he might to a daughter, why we should pay our own way so that we're not beholden to anybody. (Yes, by all means, Mr. President, talk to me like a child. I appreciate you dumbing it down)
I want a president who knows that there are still parts of our country where mountains appear purple and amber-colored grain waves and steel buildings stand at attention. And yet our true measure is not how anything looks on the outside, but who we are on the inside. (but, we still need government to take away some of my individual responsibility.....) That will be the America revered beyond our shores.
I want a president who can continue to inspire and electrify as well as remind us that even in our darkest hours there's much to believe in. (ya' know? Come to think of it, a president full of bullshit would be a nice change of pace! I can't recall an unrealistically positive, rah-rah State of the Union Address in my lifetime. A change would be nice!) It's not enough that tens of millions of people have viewed the presidential debates and already have come out in early voting. (sure it is. Ratings. Mean. Everything.) After Tuesday, the real work begins and Americans must stay engaged.
Most of all, I want a president who—after solemnly swearing or affirming that he will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States and will, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States—goes about the business of doing so. (I think Dawn needed to fulfill her word count quota....best to just copy and paste the Oath of Office into the column.)