Ideal President ’08

5 Dec

So I caught part of the Democratic debate on NPR yesterday while driving home. It’s the first one I’ve payed attention to, even though all they talked about (that I heard) was immigration.

Were I to generalize what I heard I would say that half the time they were agreeing with each other, saying things like “Well, my colleagues are right about this, but…” and “I agree with so-and-so about this, and let me say…” and then they’d spend the other half of the time trying to articulate just how different they are from each other. They spent a lot of energy trying to establish their own solid political pasts while undermining the political pasts of the others.

Each one said things I liked and each one said things that I didn’t. They all spent a lot of time and energy saying how the current administration is bad, and how they would be not as bad. Were I to continue generalizing I would say that I wouldn’t much mind if any of them got elected, though I can’t say I’m filled with enthusiasm to vote for them after hearing them all talk on the radio about immigration.

Except for one person. One candidate said something that finally made me understand why he has as many passionate followers as he does. This is what he said:

“My political philosophy — I see the world as one. I see the world as being interconnected and interdependent and there being an imperative for human unity.
And so we need to reach out and education is the way to do it. Let’s have our children learn languages and let’s grow our economy in a confident way: full employment economy, jobs for all, health care for all, not-for-profit health care for all.”

Bravo. That would be Dennis Kucinich.

To be fair, other candidates said similar things with different words. The two candidates I keep hearing referred to as the frontrunners, Obama and Clinton, said it this way:
Obama said “The basic concept (is that) increasingly, we have to view our security in terms of a common security and common prosperity with peoples in other countries” and Clinton said that the Clinton Doctrine would be “a doctrine that demonstrates that the United States is not afraid to cooperate; that through cooperation in our inter-dependent world, we actually can build a stronger country and a stronger world that will be more reflective of our values.”

The difference I see between the three quotes is that one of the speakers, Dennis, has passion for what he is saying. What he is saying motivates his every action. Passion inspires passion. He wants nothing short of “human unity.” Obama and Clinton sound like they’re saying what advisors have told them is a good thing to say. Being “not afraid to cooperate” or viewing our own security “in terms of common prosperity with peoples in other countries” is not the same as seeing the world as one.

Seeing us all as being interconnected and interdependent just seems more… true. I’d be interested to find out what the others would say if they were asked about that. Are we all interconnected and interdependent? What is America’s responsibility to humanity? What is peace? And it would be interesting to hear them answer who they would vote for if they couldn’t vote for themselves…

Also, what would be wrong with a “no-party system” where each candidate would have to define themselves by who they are and what they believe? Short of that we could at least have an all candidate debate and let the Republicans and Democrats mix. Listening to them all agree with each other is boring.


3 Responses to “Ideal President ’08”

  1. kirawen December 6, 2007 at 1:57 pm #

    The question is, would he follow through on those things he’d like to do with education? I find it hard to believe anything a politician says these days. Definitely post more if you hear/watch any more debates, though, as you are pretty much the only way I’m keeping up with politics at the moment haha!

    • junorhane December 6, 2007 at 6:20 pm #

      As you say, it is hard to believe politicians. I think it’s easier to believe someone who is really passionate about what they’re saying, but even that doesn’t mean he’ll succeed with what he’s doing, merely that he believes it himself.
      Clinton, who’s been pretty involved with politics for a while, seems to have the most realistic view of what’s actually possible for a president to accomplish, but the problem with that is that it doesn’t seem like very much. I don’t want to maintain the status quo, I want to shake it up.
      Obama and Ron Paul, like Kucinich, both seem to have a lot of really passionate followers (well, Obama more of them than the other two) implying that they at least come across as trustworthy, but I don’t know enough to know why.

      • kirawen December 6, 2007 at 7:25 pm #

        Even passion can be faked, though, and anyone can be bought off or corrupted.
        I do often get the impression that leaders are so heavily restricted by current laws (and perhaps fear of change on the part of the people?) that they cannot act for extreme change, and extreme change is what we need. It’s all too easy, on the other hand, to squirm around the law and come up with even more ways to restrict and do… well, evil, for lack of a better term at the moment. What we need is someone with a lot of courage, a lot of strength, and a lot of charisma on top of passion for a genuinely good cause.
        I’m pretty sure the party system ensures that there will not be such a politician running for president any time soon, but here’s hoping.

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