The need for politicians to understand the issues that affect their citizens has been forgotten in many cases in our national elections.
We see candidates run for office who have either lost touch with the general public or never established it in the first place. Money gives people easy access to fame through TV ads and the general efforts of a good public relations team, but it doesn’t ensure that they have a clue about the real concerns.
We have a lot of candidates for high office who have simply spent too much time in Washington. We also have some from outside Washington who have never experienced the real world of life as an ordinary citizen.
Most of us can sense when a candidate had lost touch. They haven’t had to sit in a traffic jam for years, caught the middle seat in coach on a flight, or waited in line while some bureaucracy screwed up an application for something. They may have never sweated a paycheck, or ridden a commercial bus from town to town.
I am tired of having people in office who don’t know how to do stuff. They have never managed a company, hired or fired workers, or met a payroll. They have no idea how to manage. Yet we send them off to manage the most complex system in the world and are surprised when they are clueless. That is our fault as voters, but we don’t demand better. We also put people in office who don’t understand what really ticks off the ordinary citizen. They don’t have to deal with all the bureaucratic requirements our government puts on our shoulders: the inane health system and 100,000 pages of tax law, or the countless other things that irritate the hell out of us.
And a term or two in Congress does not qualify them in any of these areas. They have “people” down there who do everything for them. Heck, we’ve been told straight out by the leadership that they don’t even bother to read the bills they pass.
I wrote a piece a while ago about the need to demand more from our candidates. Leaders of the Free World (Granite Grumblings, Snap Screen Press, 2011) was a frustrated attempt to require more from our candidates than having a lot of campaign financing and a big mouth with a silver tongue. It remains even more true today. We are running out of time and need to pick leaders who can actually understand and lead this country. Playing the typical game of yelling back and forth, calling each other names and playing to a media that has lost touch with the country is not going to get us where we need to go.
I humbly herewith resubmit my suggestions for some of the things that might finally get us some leadership from people who actually understand America.
Glenn K. Currie
Leaders of the Free World
Did you ever wonder how we got to be the “leader” of the free world? It is hard to believe that it is the result of the quality of our politicians.
Most of our leaders seem to be in Washington because their other careers went dead, or maybe they never had another career. And a lot of them aren’t able to apply themselves well at this job either, based on the amount of time they actually spend representing us at the various legislative meetings.
But once elected, they don’t appear to have much to worry about, because our voters don’t seem to care. Apparently our voters are so dumb they can’t even figure out a butterfly ballot, let alone determine if their representative is earning his paycheck.
No wonder the rest of the world is a little worried about us. Our election standards are even lower than our education standards.
Right now, any idiot who is a natural-born citizen and is at least thirty-five years of age, can run for President. And a lot of them have taken advantage of that opportunity. The election process isn’t doing a very good job of culling the herd. We, as voters, keep putting people into office and then complaining that they are in office. Then we nominate an even bigger idiot to try to replace him or her.
I think, as keepers of the first real primary, we have some responsibility to ourselves and the world, to establish a few minimum requirements to be eligible to be a leader of the free world. And maybe we should also impose a few demands on our voters as well.
For our would-be presidential candidates, I suggest the following eligibility standards:
1) Live in an apartment without a doorman for at least a year.
2) Serve at least one year in any combination of the following non-supervisory jobs:
Food service, manufacturing, sales, health care, transportation, construction, or education.
3) Complete two years of service in the military, the Peace Corps or an equivalent (without a valet or PR person to assist).
4) Ride a public bus across country, stay at least one night in a flop house, and spend at least two weeks in a place without indoor plumbing.
5) Demonstrate the ability to successfully run an organization that is not inherited or funded by family trusts.
6) Personally fill out and file a federal tax return.
7) Demonstrate a sense of humor and the common sense to recognize BS when it is up to the ankles.
8) Read at least one trashy novel and watch a week of daytime television.
9) Demonstrate a working knowledge of baseball and football.
10) Spend a month as a teacher’s aide in an inner city public school.
As for the voters, my expectations must be much more limited. But even with that realization, it seems that there should be a few basic requirements, none of which are currently being enforced.
Voter standards should be as follows:
1) Prove they are United States citizens.
2) Only be allowed to vote once in each election.
3) Be required to identify themselves at the polls. (If they don’t know who they are, they probably shouldn’t be voting.)
4) Be declared ineligible if they are convicts or persons legally rendered incompetent.
5) Be a human being. (No more dogs or parrots getting the vote).
6) Have a pulse.
7) Be able to state the last name of the person for whom Washington, D.C. was named.
None of the above requirements are particularly demanding for either the voters or the future leader of the free world. They might, however, go a long way towards ensuring the humanity and executive abilities of those involved in the election process.