By Patricia Wilson-Smith
Earlier this year in one of my very first blog entries, I asked the question “Did you know that there has been either a Clinton or a Bush in the White House for almost twenty years?” Back then, I forgot to mention that if you include George H.W. Bush’s time as Vice President, you have to pile eight more years on to that number:
President George HW Bush 1980-1991 (as VP and President)
President Bill Clinton 1992-1999
President George W Bush 2000-2007
Almost twenty-eight years of Clintons and Bush’s in the White House? What the hell is going on, and what the hell are we in for next?:
President Hillary Clinton 2008- 2015 (over my dead, maggot infested body)
President Jeb Bush 2016-2023
President Chelsea Clinton 2024-2031
President Jenna Bush….and on and on and on?
I mean for real – am I the only one that’s bothered by the fact that our nation seems in danger of being hijacked by a political aristocracy?
Dwell on that for a moment while you read the definition of “aristocracy”, courtesy of Dictionary.com:
–noun, plural -cies.
|1.||a class of persons holding exceptional rank and privileges, esp. the hereditary nobility.|
|2.||a government or state ruled by an aristocracy, elite, or privileged upper class.|
|3.||government by those considered to be the best or most able people in the state.|
|4.||a governing body composed of those considered to be the best or most able people in the state.|
|5.||any class or group considered to be superior, as through education, ability, wealth, or social prestige.|
(Clearing my throat, cracking my knuckles, and adjusting myself in my seat.)
At no time in the history of this nation have two families had such a death grip on the highest office in the land. It’s an odd development in a country that prides itself on expanding opportunity to anyone who works hard enough, plays by the rules, and has what it takes to make it. Suddenly, that all applies to pretty much every job in our society except the one where it should apply the most – the Presidency of the United States.
Have we really descended into such mediocrity as a nation that only a few “able” families, superior in stature by nature of their education, ability, wealth, social prestige and noble heritage are qualified to govern us? Is the prospect of a President David I. Smith (my gorgeous son) just completely out of the question now, and if so, why?
I have a very close friend who I love to argue with about the Obama-Clinton rivalry, because he is so adamant that Hillary deserves his vote, yet he has no idea why. The best thing he can come up with is that she brings “built in political power and experience” to the office, and that at a time like this, we need as much political might as we can get.
I laugh at him when he says this. I tell him that the notion that Hillary Clinton would yield any more political power than Senator Obama or any other candidate who might become the next President is ridiculous. I remind him that it has been the case since the beginning of this nation’s history that becoming Leader of the Free World comes with all the political power anyone could need, whomever that someone is. Then, I lovingly remind him that there is absolutely no precedence for what we’re witnessing this election year, and that his judgement (like Hillary’s during the vote on the Iraq War) is clouded.
Think about it – after having George H.W. Bush do a term as president, a young upstart from Arkansas cleans his clock in his re-election bid, and becomes one of the most popular Presidents in recent memory (even if he was one of the most scandal-laden). After two terms, a rough and tumble Texas Governor by the name of (gasp!) George W. Bush is pushed to the national forefront by forces unseen and becomes the next President of the United States. Well, all hell breaks loose. The worst attack on our nation’s soil since Pearl Harbor results in mis-step after mis-step from this one – “Mission accomplished” on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, then “Oops my bad, still thousands more of our young to sacrifice”, and then “It’s all Sadaam’s fault”, and then “Oops, maybe not so much, my bad again”, and then finally “We need mo’ money, mo’ money, mo’ money for Iraq, because if we keep throwing money at the problem, we’ll eventually win”, yada, yada, yada….
Just when we think this hell is about to come to an end – another blankety-blank Clinton – excuse me – the wife no less of the first Clinton steps up to remind us that apparently only two families are capable of running the country. Running it into the ground, maybe. What gives?
I’m sure none of us is quite certain of how it happened, but something is definitely amiss. The stranglehold these two families has on America politics is darned un-American, and I would submit highly out of step with what our fore fathers envisioned for our country. I think that if they could they’d bitch slap each and every American who would dare contemplate voting for Hillary Clinton just because she has some perceived political might that is somehow magically unattainable for anyone who’s name is not Bush or Clinton. That’s poppy-cock. The notion makes no sense whatsoever.
I think the problem comes down to 1) a real need for campaign finance reform, and 2) the need to kick a lazy American electorate in its collective ass. Hard.
For many reasons – technological advancements, the proliferation of new media and communications, hell, 24-hour news channels – the way to win elections is to bring in the money. Candidates for office in this country are consumed with raising money, because they know that it’s the only way to get the massive marketing machine cranked up that they’ll need to keep their faces in front of the public. And because it is that marketing machine, with its 15 second sound bites, 30 second tear-jerker campaign ads, and new age substanceless, repetitive debates that drives us politically, he who markets the best wins the races. Poop on what a candidate actually stands for, or what they actually bring to an office – all we care about is how much his friggin’ hair cut costs!
Imagine if all Presidential candidates were given a 1 million dollar budget, and weren’t allowed to spend another thin dime, how much more substantive their messages would become. How much more knowledgeable of the candidates might we become, if we had to seek out their positions, or god-forbid, pick up a book and read all about them? And how even would the playing field become if the power-fundraisers with their special interest buddies didn’t always lead the pack? See where I’m going with this?
What makes it even worse is the laziness of the American people. We are all now so used to learning about our future leaders in 30 second snippets, through pointless and stilted election ads, and yes, through the oh-so-powerful media, that we no longer even think for ourselves. We don’t pull back the layers of any candidate to get to what’s real. We rely on what the media feeds us, and what we’re most comfortable with believing without actually having to burn off a brain cell to help us choose who we elect to political office, and that’s a low down dirty shame.
The Clintons may have some political clout, but is it the kind of clout that brings good judgement and results-driven governance to the White House? When the campaigning is over, and the votes have been tallied, and its time to bring our troops home, solve our most pressing social problems, and restore our reputation in the world, do we really believe the people that have had their foots on our necks for the last twenty years can bring about that change?!?
Uh, not me. And I can say definitively that I have pulled back the layers of the candidates, for the first time in my life, and what I know about them, and what I’ve learned about Senator Obama has made my choice as clear as day.
Another twenty years of Clintons and Bushes? Only if we’ve given up on the idea of a real democracy. Only if we’ve decided to give in to evolving into an aristocracy, and I just can’t believe that’s the case. We want more for our nation than that, pure and simple. We want the continued ideals of government for the people and by the people, and no one exempflies those ideals more than Senator Barack Obama. That’s why I know that Senator Obama will be the next President of the United States. Because the American people will not be held hostage by political elitism. Not now, not ever. Not in my America.