Presidential Politics: Do we really want the star persona for our President?

By the NoBo Magazine Editorial Staff

It’s not a bad day when you have an audience of 311 million.  Think about it, this year in the race for President at some point in the day, the media (including our little outlet) is somehow, some way promoting the ideals of one or more persons battling it out for one job.  I think any performer would love the gig.  311 Million screaming fans… that’s one big stage.

Ever find it interesting to watch an awards show or the late night talk shows and see actors, performers, most who play larger than life characters on television or film, squirm with nervous trepidation when presenting an award or simply talking to David Letterman?  It’s obvious to the point where you can see the fear in their eyes or sweat on their brow.  These are people whose profession is on a bigger stage, yet when faced with being themselves their human personalities take over.

Different with politicians, since nowadays they are groomed for every television appearance, every radio talk show, every speech is carefully prepared as to not let the human side-show through.  Once we see that human side, once we see that bit of vulnerability we cast them off the island and into obscurity.

Is this what we, as Americans, want from our President?  Are we so desperate that we look for personality over principles? Have we become dependent on the persona?  John Wayne was born Marion Robert Morrison, yet romanticized as the Greatest American because he portrayed heroic characters on the big screen.  I’m sure if he were still alive, he would be a big contender for the White House.

Abraham Lincoln, who was despised before he even took office, led the country through it’s toughest time in history – ended slavery, reunited the union, fought and won a civil war.  Not the most handsome man and would probably not be a front-runner on America’s Got Talent for his oratory skills.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, legs stricken with polio, yet led our nation through depression, and partially through a world war.  President Dwight Eisenhower a war hero, led the Allies to victory and the US through it most productive and dominant economic era to date.

Throughout history we’ve had our busts too, Ulysses S. Grant, a war hero and also one who had an affection for the bottle.  Ronald Regan, a former actor turned political hero.  Even our beloved Bostonian John F. Kennedy, a creation of his father’s prohibition era plots and schemes for dominance.  These are men who, because of the persona, put a claim on the most powerful job in the world.

What we are becoming increasingly good at in this country is the ability to make excuses, point fingers and constantly looking for the easy way out.  Think about the Republican effort to put Herman Cain and actually try to stick with Herman Cain despite the mounting sexual harassment charges against him.  Was he a great candidate, probably not – considering his flub with international policy.  Was he the exact opposite of President Obama in every way?  Yes, right down to the color of his skin.

The personality we elected four years ago won us over with an expectation of hope.  Have we realized that all we were hoping for was a reincarnation of Bill Clinton?  Breaking down even further, were we really hoping for an economic turn around so we could be comfortable again?

There comes a time when we have to look deep inside our own spirit – (a nice angle that Mitt Romney is trying out – interesting isn’t it?) As Americans we have the right to actually create government in whatever free democratic form we want.  What we have proven so far is all we want is a persona, someone who says all the right things to make us feel good.

Maybe this is the new definition of leadership, we can build robots that think, phones that answer our questions and can vote on who the next musical idol will be. We can define our Presidents on their Facebook popularity, on their ability to talk to us in 140 characters or less.

Or we can expect more from those we elect, from the White House in Washington to the white house the Mayor, Councilor, School Committee Woman or Congressman live in.   We can expect and demand more from our business community, from our neighbors and more importantly from ourselves.  The President is a reflection of who we are as a collective people and defines where we want to be in the world.

It’s a scary proposition that there was more media attention on Donald Trump’s decision not to run for president.  However, it would have been interesting to see the White House redecorated in gold.

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