Longing for Leadership


obama-romneyWe live really close to Wisconsin (a block and a half away). The state is home to Reince Priebus, Chair of the Republican national Committee and Paul Ryan Republican Vice Presidential nominee. So, our geography, the campaign news reports, and the political conventions have me thinking about politics.

The word, politics is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, but the Greek origins of the word are “of, for, or relating to citizens.” Sadly, the noble origins of the word have been brought down to the level of profanity by our present reality.

Here are some conclusions that have been going floating around my head lately.

George W. Bush was a disappointment. I voted for him and he was a man of conviction, which I appreciate. But he was so married to his convictions; he didn’t seem to listen to those who differed. He was a failure in communicating to the American people who disagreed with him. No matter how large that percentage grew, he never reached out to them.

I really wanted to rebel against my Evangelical Republican roots. Politicizing faith and making politics religious has historically led to a very bad place. Religious leaders in the U.S who got involved in politics seemed to be more loyal to the Republican Party than to Jesus. The politicians seemed to be playing Evangelicals for votes. Evangelicals seemed more concerned about their comfort zone than the poor and disenfranchised. So, I voted for Obama in the last presidential primary.

I don’t have allegiance to either political party, because I believe I would, sooner or later, regret it if I did. I don’t even think political parties are a good idea, especially, a two-party system.

I had issues with Obama’s close associates, a terrorist, a liberation theology preacher, and radical professors. So, I voted for McCain in the general election.

I rejoiced, as did most of the nation that America had grown up to the point that a black man could be elected president. But would he have been elected if he were not black, or would we have had our first woman president? As a nation, we wanted to heal and atone for the sins of our past. It was the perfect time for a black man to run for the nation’s highest office, i.e., an intelligent, articulate, rational man; not an angry Jessie Jackson or Al Sharpton who tried, but never gained much traction.

President Obama has been an utter disaster.

He was hell bent on passing a national healthcare bill at the worst possible time. The economy crashed and unemployment skyrocketed. Those issues should have been his primary concern. Even if you think national healthcare is a wonderful idea; it was horrible timing. Instead of lowering healthcare costs, it has already increased them with higher insurance premiums and costs for employers. The healthcare issue should have been dealt with one piece at a time with a focus on simple, cost-cutting measures, like opening insurance markets across state lines and tort reform. That would have had bipartisan support.

The stimulus had a little something for everybody and little to no effect on the economy and unemployment.

Then there is the issue of spending money like a drunken sailor as we head toward a Greece-like governmental bankruptcy.

The worst thing about our president is that he doesn’t lead. When he should have been leading, he was raising money for his re-election. When he should have been leading on his own initiatives, he left it up to congress to piece something together (Lord have mercy!). When he should have been leading internationally, he stood by as Iran develops nuclear weapons and Syria slaughters its citizens. He was busy alienating our allies, apologizing for America, and diminishing our influence as a world player for good.

The President has out done himself in running a win-at-all-cost, throw-a bunch-of-crap-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks, class warfare, slice-and-dice, issue-avoiding, record-avoiding, junior-high-level campaign. The issues have been Romney’s tax returns from several years ago, whether some companies that Bain Capital helped off shored some jobs, a “war on women”, and pushing granny over the cliff. So, if we believe this stuff, Romney paid no income tax, he off shored thousands of jobs, caused a woman’s death, is mean to dogs, and he is a bad man for having earned considerable wealth. Meanwhile, our nation is becoming the laughing stalk of the world, while our standard of living and family finances are still in the gutter, while we don’t have jobs for millions of workers, and while the world becomes an increasingly dangerous place because of our lack of leadership.

Republicans do the same type of stuff, but the president’s campaign is apparently trying to set a new record for a campaign that appeals to the worse and most gullible elements of human nature and he has been given a free pass by the majority of the media.

His lofty and brilliant campaign of hope and change and hardly any record of public service (2008)  has given way to a mean-spirited, divisive campaign, because now he has a record (of failure).

At least Paul Ryan and some republicans are dealing with issues of sustainability, which has been something politicians have not had the courage to broach as they keep promising more without thinking about to pay for it, and continue pitting the poor and middle class against the wealthy.

Maybe, I am anti-incumbency because presidents always over-promise and under-deliver. They seldom finish well. I am for a single six-year term for the president, then he wouldn’t spend half of his time campaigning.

I feel better now and I am braced for the hate mail.

About Glenn

Glenn Hager is a blogger, former newspaper columnist, and author of two books, An Irreligious Faith and Free Range Faith.
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