President-Elect Barack Obama and Senator John McCain
Now that the longest campaign in U.S. presidential
history is history, it is appropriate to take moment to praise
President-Elect Barack Obama and Senator John McCain for subjecting themselves
to the almost unimaginable rigors of the cross-country, many months long
ordeal that we require of aspirants to the oval office.
They do this for us, you know. It is fashionable to accuse
our public servants, and especially, in recent years, our presidents,
of sinister motives for seeking high-ranking jobs, but this fashion is,
by turns, ignorant, mean-spirited, and foolish. The hours are long, the
abuse is intense, the money is not especially impressive. Running for
POTUS, and even worse, getting elected, guarantees life in a fishbowl,
with little sleep, limited family time, and about as much relaxation as
extended root-canal work. And yet public servants, always derided as politicians
but in fact people just like you and me, do it. Why?
They do it for the riches you say? Nonsense. Virtually all
presidential candidates are rich to start with. The power? It sounds good,
but in fact the job of President has more responsibility and accountability
than power. The perks? Yes, its a nice white house, and sure, you are
well taken care of and you get a plane. You also have no privacy to speak
of, and a travel schedule that would kill most of us. If I travel seven
times a month Im miserable. It is not unusual for a U.S. President to
travel that much or more in a week
They do it for us. The worst president this country ever
had, whoever that may be, was a patriot and a courageous citizen, and
a man who wanted the best for America. Some were wrong and some were misguided,
and some let the job and the stress and the critics warp their judgement.
But every single one made a great sacrifice to take the job. And in return
we call them names, mock them in jokes and cartoons, call them socialists
or nut-cases or incompetents or morons when in truth we know we could
no more do the job ourselves than fly.
The fact is, almost nobody is ready to be President. It
is a job that cannot be done perfectly, and sometimes can barely be done
at all. It takes courage to seek such a job; more courage—and luck—to
do it for four years. But somebody has to take it.
Barack Obama and John McCain gave us a choice between two
honorable men. They didnt always meet their own high standards of conduct
while giving us that choice, but never mind: we got what we needed. Before
the criticism and name-calling starts anew, let us pause to say thank-you,
Mr. President Elect, Senator McCain, and yes, President Bush
yourself where most of us would never dare, and taking on a task that
is at best overwhelming, and at worst, killing.
Agree with them disagree with them, like them or hate them they all deserve our respect and admiration. They are all Ethics Heroes.