Monday, November 17, 2008

It’s All Right Not to Want to be the President

I used to meet a lot of people of a certain generation who would invariably tell me that they were educated like everybody else (they thought) to be the president of the United States, and since they obviously weren’t, regarded their lives as a tremendous failure, no matter what other successes they may have experienced in life -- that evidently were more important to them.

In seeing the first photo of John McCain sitting with Barack Obama for the first time since the recently concluded election, one couldn’t help but notice that McCain seemed to be happier not being the president than Obama was in being the next president -- which I think is a vey healthy picture and attitude.

It was an honor to run for the office, but would have dishonored him to have to win it -- and thus he could let it go so easily, and finally heal that bitter disappointment and rancor that has dogged the presidency since the beginning of this century. No office, no ambition is so great that it should destroy one so completely in not winning it -- which is every bit as great an achievement in public life -- losing graciously.

These contests are not as important as the person one becomes running for such offices. That’s what a lot of people never learn -- and stunts them from moving on to the next level of calling, which may be even greater than the highest they knew heretofore.

In almost every case, what a person went on to do after losing a contest, was what defined the actual limits of their growth as a person. It applies to elections as well as to anything else one does in life.

When one wins an election these days, one doesn’t become the boss, but actually the servant, to every person who thinks they have a right to use and abuse such “leaders.” It really got out of control with one of the finest leaders American history and politics will ever know -- in George W. Bush. It would have continued had John McCain won -- and so I’m glad, as a Republican, to see Barack Obama take over the presidency for a while, and let the Democrats be in charge of ensuring the defense for those living in those most populous and problem-plagued communities in this country, which are its likely targets.

That’s been a heavy responsibility for Republicans to carry -- against the efforts of the Democrats and the media harassments.

The Republicans, led by President Bush, have earned their right to let the Democrats worry about all these problems that President Bush made look so easy -- that any fool thought they could do as well.

Good luck.