Seconding Whitcomb: Politicians Ain’t the Messiah
My dispositional inclination is to agree with the ProJo’s Bob Whitcomb:
Sen. Barack Obama visited the Capitol in his glory the other week, with other, lesser politicians crowding around to be photographed — testifying to his charm and to the tendency to suck up to the winner.
It recalls how we pay far too much attention to presidential candidates, as opposed to everything else. Much can be blamed on the sloth of the news media; they find it much easier and more glamorous to cover a presidential race — as daily soap operas, or games — than, say, the complex activities of the government bureaucracy.
And an increasingly infantilized society has attributed to presidents super-parental attributes. We invest absurd hopes and hates in this office, forgetting that America’s condition is far more dependent on changes in technology and other big trends than any president. Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, changed our world a lot more than Bill Clinton or George W. Bush.
Mr. Obama has high intelligence, dignity, a smooth voice, close ties to some major economic lobbies — see the farm bill — and the ability to use and discard alliances at high opportunistic speed and (eloquently) contradict himself daily. He may or may not become a good president (and I may vote for him). Most of his success and failure, however, would depend on events far out of his control. And he would not create a heaven or hell on earth for most of us. We have to do that for ourselves. (emphasis added~ed.)
I second Whitcomb (except for the voting for Obama part) and would extrapolate his thoughts to include all politicians and political “movements.” For sure, politics can engender change. But, for the most part, technology, science and even faith (or a disregard for any of the above) have had larger roles to play in the course of our society than finger-in-the-wind pols or faddish movements.
That doesn’t mean we should all check out of the political process. But we certainly shouldn’t believe that the entire fate of our nation will forever be determined by one election, held a few months from now. I mean, this country survived freakin’ Andrew Johnson, right?