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    I’m about to lose control / And I think I like it

    Connie writes about something that gets on my nerves something fierce:

    You see, I don’t want a leader in a president. I don’t want someone to shore up my resolve or reduce my fears and anxiety. I don’t want someone to remind me that patriotism (not nationalism) is a good thing, regardless of what country you’re proud to be part of. I know that Capitalism is better than Communism or Socialism. I know that more freedom is better than no freedom. A president is not a civics teacher.

    I don’t want a great communicator. I want an efficient, quiet, and capable representative who leaves me (and everyone else) alone to be captains of our own industry and champions of our own causes, and responsible for our own resolve shoring up. I don’t believe that government should intrude in the psycho-babble of message-sending that we’re all good and capable, or engage in a never-ending marketing campaign of which program is better than that program. I know that and what really scares me, frightens me, and gives me nothing but anxiety is when people want a person to act as a kind of spiritual leader and mentor…in our government.

    That’s OUR job!

    I’m slightly less nettled than Connie is, I think, at the president’s explaining his reasoning behind a given policy in order to help get the people to back it. He may be basing his decisions on previously unreleased intelligence reports, or he may be pursuing a policy I support but would have justified differently. But she’s right that things get way out of hand when the president makes like one of the guest experts on Oprah–twinkling with telegenic goodwill, explaining things in very easy words and memorable little turns of phrase, and using plenty of pauses so we can keep up–all to ensure we’ll be comfy with what he thinks is best for the nationwide family.

    Connie is writing about Reagan, and I think the point is fair to apply to him. I have to say, though, that I’m not sure he himself wanted to stoke people’s idolatrous fervor. Obama, who’s the obvious politician to view through this lens in our current context, does strike me as getting off on being idolized; but even if he didn’t, it would behove his more intemperate fans to get a grip on themselves.

    Politics is a business that involves deal-making, prioritizing, and compromise on principles that affect millions of people. It’s possible to distinguish more principled from less principled politicians, of course; but lionizing someone who will have to start getting his hands dirty the moment he actually assumes the job you want to elect him to is a set-up for guaranteed heartache. If you feel spiritually empty, go to church–or if you’d then be embarrassed to tell your Sunday brunch companions where you’d spent your morning, become a Buddhist. Or delve into ancient literature. Or move to a farm and busy yourself as a faux-earthy faux-peasant extolling the faux-simple life. Or satisfy your impulse toward worship by falling promiscuously in love with movie or rock stars. Do anything except project your spiritual yearnings onto politicians, who are exactly the wrong people to give performance assessments based on vague, emotion-based criteria.

    Added on 6 August: How could I have missed an excuse to post the video?

    See? These are the things you’re supposed to swoon over: bubble baths, satin against the skin, and champagne. Politicians, not so much.

    3 Responses to “I’m about to lose control / And I think I like it”

    1. Alice says:

      I do want presidents to lead, but absolutely definitely not in any kind of spiritual/ ethical/ moralistic way. CEOs lead businesses, but they don’t tell their employees which church to go to- so the president could be like the CEO of a country as an economic entity, maybe? (foreign policy also affects economics- being invaded/ attacked = bad for business)

    2. carolyn says:

      That last paragraph is solid-gold. I know I find my nightly visits at my shrine to Bacchus to be extremely fulfilling… in a strictly spiritual sense, of course.

      Hope your job hunt is going well!

    3. Sean Kinsell says:

      Alice, that’s fine by me, but those who believe that power corrupts in evil private enterprise but confers saintly civic-mindedness in government are unlikely to warm to your analogy.

      Carolyn, thanks. Bacchus is such a *demanding* god, but it wouldn’t do to be impious, huh?

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