The Race for the United States Presidency



So much hot wind...

The race for the presidency of the United States is on! My interest is captivated by the candidates of the Republican Party – The Grand Old Party (GOP) who held an attention-grabbing debate on August 7 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. Like in a Shakespearean play, I see this debate as Act 1, Scene 2 in the race for the 2016 US Presidency. I consider Scene 1 as the events leading to the rise of Hilary Clinton as a front-liner in the Democratic Party. While I may not be in a position to support any of these Parties, I can’t help being fascinated by the passion of the Republicans who fielded 17 solid aspirants in their Cleveland debate. Wow! These aspirants cut across the strata of American society and geography. They include old and young political lions, governors, senators, business moguls (including the controversial Donald Trump), and a neurosurgeon!


In their August debate, the GOP candidates came heavy on promises and blew hot on domestic and foreign policies: internal security, job creation, gay marriage and abortion, future of Social Security, porosity of the borders and immigration, the nuclear deal with Iran and government surveillance.


Yet it is important to bear in mind that making a promise is quite different from fulfilling that promise comparatively as night is from day. Of course promises are mostly made with good intentions, but real-time circumstances influence the delivery of that promise, especially a political promise that is made with urgency and frenzied passion during an intense competition called “Electioneering”.


Truth be told, no extent of study, acquisition or acquaintance with available facts prepares one sufficiently for doing a job. For example, how well can one prepare for the “job” of pregnancy or child delivery? Its experiences are unique and not always predictable. Similarly, planning, preparing or promising to be a wonderful mum or dad, an efficient business executive, a fearless war-front soldier, or the President of the United States; though exhaustive, will never equate acting the act, doing the role, and being that tough decision-maker. Eventually, a lot is determined by the situation on ground and the available resources. These include information, financial capital, mood of the citizenry, military advice, disposition of other country leaders, acts of God, and so on.


Presently, while peeping through the window of the Oval Office, GOP candidates perceive some decisions as glaringly simple and straight-forward. However, they play down on one point: they do not have access to the totality of the information at the disposal of a sitting president who is daily confronted with tons of information, several possible consequences and not a few likely ricochet effects. In addition, there are those wonderful people called “Advisers” who simultaneously clarify and confuse issues. Surely, all these factors influence some of the surprising decisions emanating from the White House? Correspondingly, matters of state may not be clearly defined in black and white; there may be some grey lines to consider. And let us not forget that those saddled with the responsibility of making state decisions are guys called politicians. Politicians have considerations that dilute the straightforwardness of the decision-making process. Politicians usually find it difficult to answer a True or False questionnaire. Rather, they look for a third alternative that will make them look good while creating a win-win situation for themselves and their affiliates.


Past presidents in the course of their campaigns made their own promises. This is what politicking is all about: making promises. Some promises go through while others have to be thrown out of the window because of the reality that is found after assumption of office. Bottom line: you really don’t know the details of what lies on the other side until you get there. Again, there are policies that may be brilliant but don’t just work out. After implementation at a huge cost-price and the expenditure of colossal amounts of human resources, failure of such policies makes one perceive its initiator with disgust. Interestingly, if like the toss of a coin such policies had worked out, its initiator will be seen as a hero. Time and chance happens to an idea and this may not be directly linked to its merit or brilliance.


The Republicans seem poised and determined to receive power from the Democrats with a “Thank You” message. In view of this, I would like to see a little more humility on the part of the GOP candidates. Of course every aspirant is bound to talk tough and present a convincing front. This is what makes you appeal to the people. This is what is expected. Yet these same people can perceive an aura of sincerity when it genuinely emanates from someone or insincerity when you are merely posing.


Telling someone “I Love You” is not only heard but is also felt and perceived. Therefore, I would like to see some of the aspirants make allowances for details that they are not privy to which may influence crazy actions and funny decisions emanating from Washington. I would like them to bear in mind that being a fire-brand senator, CEO of a multi-billion dollar conglomerate or governor of the “12th largest economy in the world” does not equate being the President of the United States. I would like them to remember that in the event of assuming office as a Republican President, you become the president of Republicans, Democrats, gays, aborting mothers and their abortionists, and to a large extent the entire world. Like a good parent, efforts will have to be made to make every law-abiding citizen feel at home, loved and catered for. There is no script for fatherhood, motherhood or presidency. You are usually guided by God’s golden commandment of fairness, morals, available information, and the ability to act decisively, punctually, and responsibly.


Ben-hadad the King of Aram decided to bully King Ahab of Israel. He kept making exaction from Ahab until the latter could take it no more and so rebelled. Ben-hadad was annoyed! Full of himself, he decided to attack and raze Israel to the ground. But Ahab sent him a profound message, “One who puts on his armor should not boast like one who takes it off” implying that one that has not been schooled in a certain task ought not to lecture, strongly criticize or draw battle-lines against another that has already gone through the grind. Such an attitude could either be defined as naivete or arrogance.


Ahab subsequently marched against Ben-hadad and defeated him in battle (1Kings 20:1-21, NIV) proving that an old dog, though weather-beaten, may still have one or two aces up his sleeve.


This summarizes my message to the impressive-looking GOP candidates and indeed all candidates in their race for the occupation of the White House come 2016: Let him that covets the throne not pride himself over him that is about to step down from the same throne. Let him that is about to serve in a house not exhibit more knowledge about the house and its operations than an older servant.



Originally published on my website

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