Ah, yes. Once again it falls upon us, the People of these United States, to take the time to consider the candidate's political records, their voting histories, and their personal platforms ... then vote for the one with the best hair.
I'd like to state, right from in front, that my requirements for a president are somewhat less than strident. Hell, they're practically flaccid. (And please note that the only reason I use the masculine throughout is because all American presidents have been men. Believe me, I'd be jim-dandy happy for a competent female to be elected, but it hasn't happened and doesn't really look like it's gonna happen in the near future, hence 'he/him/his.')
First, I insist that he present himself well. Superior grooming and presence, faultless dress and accessories, and able to speak in public with the skills of a professional toastmaster. Given that the president will be the visible leader of America, this is pretty much basic. God save us from some schmuck who can't manage to form a decent reply or who doesn't have the common sense to listen to a professional dresser.
Second, I want my president to be able to lie convincingly. No stumbles, keep the story straight, radiating sincerity. The president of the country will lie to us. I know this, you know this, we all know this; it is a political fact of life. Name a single president that never lied, either by simply not telling the truth or by actively speaking falsehoods ... go on, I'll wait. Given that it's gonna happen, the president should at least do it well. If he cannot lie well - and what they hell is he doing in politics if he can't, huh? - then he should at least be smooth enough to change the friggin' subject effortlessly.
Finally, he should be discreet. Don't be obvious about affairs, political machinations, and the like. At least have as much discretion as a local PTA or school board member. The president's morals are his own concern, but he should at least care enough to have the appearance of being a just and good man. If he's gonna screw around with an intern, do it discreetly. If he's gonna start a war simply to solidify his personal status within the energy community, then, by God, do it discreetly.
And, as far as I'm concerned, that's it.
I don't expect leadership. I don't expect dedication. I don't even expect honesty. Just that the guy looks good, behaves reasonably in public, is able to speak at least as well as a high school valedictorian, and cares enough to lie well.
In short, a return to traditional political leadership and values!
I'd also like the silly sunnuvabitch to be in reasonable health, have as few ties to organized crime as possible, and carry out his election campaign with at least an attempt at cordial behavior & which is to say, no personal attacks or mudslinging until October, September at the absolute earliest. Labor Day strikes me as a good marker. No mud until after Jerry sings "You'll Never Walk Alone," okay?
And the conventions & what the hell is wrong with holding the damn conventions at the same time? They're never held in the same city, so there wouldn't be any shortages of hotel rooms or prostitutes, and all the major news agencies have more than enough reporters to cover two political conventions at once & so why not? Holding them during different weeks means all sort of crap messing up that night's television and, frankly, I'm a lot more interested in who's getting the axe on "Last Comic Standing" than I am in listening to some two-bit politician tell me why I should vote for his candidate.
I mean the conventions are like the circus and the politicians all pack themselves into this little clown car of unity (and publicity), just to tumble out at a moments notice to scream about how their head clown is the best clown in the country and how the other clown is just a ... well, a clown. (The fact that several of the clowns currently packed into that tiny car were at each other's throats just a shot time ago, as they all vied to see who the frontrunner was going to be, makes it all the more surreal ... and makes one wonder exactly what the hell is going on in that car, huh?)
But, tumble out they do, waving the flag and bellowing politics, for a couple of hours each night during primetime. Hour upon hour of speeches from whomsoever they party believes will appeal to a given demographic, messing up my chance to watch the final episodes of "Drew Carrey." In a way, it is somewhat charming & they way the political parties pander to the various groups and demographics, that is. (Drew is also somewhat charming, but in a whole 'nother way.)
Rather like an incredibly well educated hooker on the street, carefully advertising her wares right under the nose of a nearby cop. "And if it happens to be your bent to utilize another orifice, then the aforementioned honorarium would still apply." So subtle and open, so gently prostituting the entire procedure & Boss Tweed would be proud.
The best part is, no matter which convention goes first, the other political party gets to stand on the sidelines and scream out objections. They laugh and point out how all their opponents were bitter enemies just a short time earlier and how now they're willing to promise anything to anyone for a few more votes. How they're simply pandering to special interest groups and demographics with hollow speeches and platitudes, substance free statements and empty claims.
And here's the best part & just a week or two later, they all switch sides and do it all over! The other side gets to promise, pander, self-promote, and otherwise maintain the high level of American politics, which the first group gets to sneer, comment, and bitch.
Then November comes and a steadily diminishing number of American voters get to cast their vote for whichever clown caught their attention last ... and if I sound bitter here, it's only because I am. Political facts are one of the few well documented items left in this country, yet nobody seems to care about them. You can tell what this guy voted for in the Senate, Congress, or as President. Hell, you can even tell what he voted for all the way back to when he was student body president in high school. You can actually separate the wheat from the chaff, the lies from the facts, the man from his actions ... but nobody seems to want to!
They want to wave the flag and read the latest Urban Legend circulating via e-mail about the candidates, their families, and even their pets. They want to vote for the man who makes them feel best about themselves, who promises them the biggest tax cut, who pledges to provide the best health care for their elderly parents ... they want to vote based on what sound bites the evening news filter through to them, the stories their local papers feel fit to write, and what their neighbor/uncle/brother/barber mentions in passing.
Well, look around, O Sheep .. this is the country you end up with when you don't care enough to study the records and vote responsibly. I am writing this on 30 July, 2004 and there is yet better than three months to go until the election.
START CHECKING THE RECORDS, NOW!
MEET WITH YOUR NEIGHBORS AND DISCUSS WHAT YOU LEARN!
WHEN NOVEMBER ROLLS AROUND, VOTE! URGE YOUR NEIGHBORS TO VOTE! DRIVE THEM TO THE DAMN POLLS IF YOU HAVE TO, BUT GET THE DAMN VOTE OUT!
Remember, you get the exact government you deserve, so give yourself one that cares more about the country than its own damn self.