Saturday, January 12, 2008
Why I Like Hillary for President
Anyone who has known me since the last election understands, in gruesome detail, what I think about the U.S. Presidency. But I live in Washington DC and the campaign is well underway. I can't get away from it, so ... I'm compelled to say it all again. Apologies to those who have heard this rant before.
I believe the office of the U.S. presidency is flawed. The job itself is impossible, as has been shown to us again and again. A few rise up to brilliance, but after all our years as a country, still, the number of "great" presidents can be counted on one hand. The ones who ascended to excellence did so because of circumstances at hand - big wars and such. And, too, once a person has been brilliant in the office of the presidency, they're bound to get killed or drop dead soon afterwards. The U.S. presidency "ain't right" as my friend Sharon Austin would say.
With all due respect to one of my heroes, George Washington, I see what you founding fathers wanted - fairness, equality (among white men at least). You wanted to see the CEO hat passed around from one to the other - you were sick of monarchies. I get it. When George refused the crown, it was a profoundly revolutionary moment. The idea behind the presidency is great - fair, democratic. But the reality is that we put a "renter" into the most powerful position in our country every four or eight years. It's a big problem.
Any job takes awhile to learn. "Big" jobs take a year or two, minimum, before the person doing the work gets good at it. When I think about the level of responsibility involved in being president, I imagine that to really get good at it must take longer - maybe four years, maybe six. Every four or eight years,we toss the president into the rubbish bin, place another rookie in the Oval Office. And we wonder why presidents always look dazed and confused, why they age so tragically and why many of them begin to shine only after the end of the presidency. Think of Carter, Bill Clinton.
The job itself sucks, but in addition, our presidents have to live in the White House. I am not exaggerating when I say that the White House is the most haunted building I've ever set foot in. A few years ago I was treated to a nighttime tour with a small group. I'm telling you, the White House is CREEPY. Yikes! Ugly, too - butt ugly! Even the way the house is managed is creepy. They use a system that's been in place since 1800, as much as they can. They even still have house slaves, old black men who work their entire lives in the White House as butlers, I guess is the closest polite word I can think of to describe it. Everyone on staff at the House has some bizarre title. And think about it - the White House is a southern plantation house. Lafayette Park, in front of the house (used to be the back yard until the 1940's) was one of DC's largest slave markets. Is that the right idea for the residency of our most powerful citizen? Believe me - that house is WEIRD!! The president has to work from home, too, so there's no escape (except Camp David) from the scary feng shui.
I like Hillary for president for very practical reasons. She's married to one - she knows the drill. She lived in the White House for eight years, so she certainly knows its secrets. They say the Clintons loved being at "home" - they hosted bowling and movie parties and lots of events. Who knows? Maybe the White House ghosts are fond of the Clintons, maybe the spirits didn't give them such a rough time. What I hear is that the Bushes are hardly ever in the house. Figures.
She has lived in the White House, she's married to a two term president, she has worked in Congress. Hillary's got chops. And though I don't agree with everything she says or does, I think there's absolutely no way anyone can accurately promise what they'll accomplish once they're hammered into the stiff, heavy suit of the U.S. Presidency. Campaign promises are, by their very nature, empty.
That said, I would be happy to vote for any of the Democratic candidates. Obama is really such a good guy. The Republican candidates are ... well ... just weird! I think any of them could turn out to be worse than Dubya, hard to imagine. Yikes.
OKay. Enough about the presidency, Reya! Enough!