I remember being told as a young boy that every American had the potential and opportunity to grow up to become President of the United States of America. And for the most part, presidential history had supported that. The original founding fathers were men of the Enlightenment who believed that all men could rise up with reason and intelligence. It wasn’t about money or power, but what your principals were. The Founding Father’s themselves were quite flawed, but they were able to put those flaws aside for the betterment of their nation and mankind.
I don’t really feel that is all that true anymore. I don’t think I can, “grow up”, to be President anymore. (I announced my candidacy after my 35th birthday to very little fanfare) It seems the way to become President these days is to have more money in your pocket and an ability to pander to the lowest common denominator. I had hoped a lot of that would change with President Obama, but the system itself is damaged and he seems to be mired in politics rather than change. I doubt even FDR could have fixed this whole mess. I think there’s still a chance though to bring this country back to the forefront of progress and human rights. And it isn’t about money, or education (well, a little) or what lobby is behind you.
It wasn’t always about money but what ideas you could bring to the table. It makes this list of Presidents that did not complete or even go to college, courtesy of Wikipedia of course, all the more important:
Martin Van Buren
William Henry Harrison
Harry S. Truman
Some of these presidents weren’t winners, William Henry Harrison died 32 days after being elected President for instance. But some of these men were incredible powerhouses of inexhaustible strength and intelligence. Their commitment to their country and the preservation of what’s best about America can be seen echoing through history.
I still want to be President though. I think I’d do pretty well at it. I’m courteous, especially to foreign dignitaries. I listen. I’m pretty confident in my history to know that a government that cannot work together for the betterment of its people is not a very good government and is instead, an impediment to progress and prosperity.
We should not be afraid of our future or use too much of the political rhetoric of the past as an excuse for complacency. Happy President’s Day. Remember your favorite President when you get the chance today.