It has occurred to me that my perspective is unique, even peculiar in these purportedly desperate times. I say this because there are a number of stories in the national press this week that I must admit, seem beside the point to me. No, they’re beyond beside the point. They’re stupid.
That’s not a word I use lightly; stupid. I reserve it for instances where no other word will do. And as sad as it may be as a descriptor of our current state of affairs, but stupid is the focus of the news all too often these days. No matter which network is airing it, regardless which publisher ships it, irrespective of which radio station it runs on…our news is being issued by nitwits without the decency to wear a ridiculous hat to identify themselves to the public at large as idiots in training.
The situation is pathetic.
As an example, within hours of Mitt Romney naming his vice-presidential pick, we began to learn details of representative Ryan’s life that I can’t begin to believe have any bearing on his ability to think, or act, or lead. I’m not sure which editor, in what corner of the world, thought that Ryan’s brief dalliance at the wheel of the Oscar Meyer Weiner Mobile was newsworthy, or pertinent, yet there it was on the news for all to see.
Horrors! We couldn’t possibly have an Oscar Meyer Weiner Mobile driver only a heart beat away from the White House. Certainly not. Just consider the illustrious string of resume’s that have preceded him. There was a tailor (Andrew Johnson), a high school principal (James Garfield), a football coach (Woodrow Wilson), a miner (Herbert Hoover), and an actor (Ronald Reagan).
With all that in mind, is a youthful connection to a major hot dog manufacturing company really such a big deal?
On the opposite side of the coin is the ongoing debate, pointless and perennial as it has become, of whether or not President Obama was born in the United States, or Kenya, or Indonesia, or on Mars. So far Curiosity, the rover that recently landed on the red planet, has found no evidence of the young Barack spending an extra-terrestrial spring break on its substantial beaches. Perhaps Dinesh D’Souza will bring something truly riveting to light in his new movie, 2016. But even that matters little. That ship has sailed, friends. Once the man steps to the podium, takes the oath, and strolls into the oval office – you have a president, whether you like him (or her) or not.
The qualifications to be president are simple and brief. They are stipulated in that ultra-concise document known as the US Constitution. In Article II, Section 1, you will find the rules. To be President of the United States you have to fulfill exactly two prerequisites. You must be a natural born citizen, and you must be at least thirty-five years old.
That’s it. Somebody may want to break this gently to the talking heads on television, there are no additional qualifications. So when they spout off asking pointedly, “Is Random Named Candidate qualified to be the President of the United States?” somebody should point out that slim list of rules in a strong, clear voice.
So let’s be generous and assume that Mitt and Paul, as well as Barack and Joe, are all natural born citizens of the United States who are at least thirty-five years old. In fact, there are considerable indications that they all are. So we’re on relatively solid ground with this one. They’re all qualified to run. The question becomes, of the candidates offering themselves up for the job, are they the ones you would most like to see running your business? Because America is indeed your business, and mine, and everybody else’s, too. So let’s talk rather than shout. Let’s plan rather than react. And let’s take just a moment to consider that it’s possible that we don’t have to hate each other just because we have a different political philosophy of how to help the poor, care for the elderly, retrain those of our age, and educate the next generation coming up behind us.
That really shouldn’t be that hard – should it?