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Can an Idealist be President?

Can an Idealist be President?

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The people of the U.S. have yet to elect an Idealist president. Imagine a Martin Luther King running for the job. Already you feel that’s a stretch, right? However, two major Idealists who did manage to rise to chiefs of state elsewhere in the world include Gorbachov and Mandela.

The problem with American Idealists is they tend to think rich people and large corporations are inherently evil. Even if the moguls might be toxic, they are the wrong people to treat like an enemy.

Here’s my issue. The President of the United States is allegedly the most powerful person on earth. But how would it be possible to avoid mingling with, haggling with, even fighting with the rest of the powerful people in the world and still claim to be the King of the Beasts? To make the point clearly, Hillary Clinton’s participation in the Clinton Foundation is often interpreted as sleeping with our enemies, inviting corruption, and compromising America’s stance in the world. But hello! How could an American President not deal with all of these people — the wonderful ones as well as the horrible ones — and still wield American leadership with knowledge, experience, and strength?

Idealists tend to make a populist case of “us versus them” — regular people versus rich people. What they are missing is that a real President must work with the values and power and strengths and needs of absolutely all the people in the world. Yes, it is true that regular people, through the ballot box, must never let the wrong powerful people take over decision making for them, but neither will those with gobs of money and indisputable world power allow some “crazy” Idealist mess too much with their personal influence and bank accounts.

The reality of the world is that nobody’s ideology is perfect, nor could it ever be. All decisions are always in flux. We cannot stop fighting for what we feel we need to fight for, but we all must realize that nobody wins all the time, nor should they. There are no precisely definable good guys and bad guys on the world stage. It’s a crowded place. If you want to be a King of the Jungle, then you had better be willing to play ball with everyone else who aspires to be a king. If you want laws and economics to be more fair for everyone, as Idealists usually do, then you had better organize your idealistic armies in the voting booths with stronger fervor and passion than that of the princes who would be kings.

So can an Idealist get elected as a U.S. President? John Kerry is an Idealist. He almost made it. If Eleanor Roosevelt lived in today’s world, she almost certainly would have been a contender. The track records of both of those people demonstrate that some Idealists retain a sense of the world as it really is and have enough toughness and foresight to haggle and fight with mighty people of all types.

As a side note, you might be asking if Bernie Sanders is and Idealist and if he could play on the world stage with all powerful people, nasty or wonderful? It is this blogger’s opinion that he might not qualify because he seems overly judgmental and unforgiving of the rich and powerful, people who might eat him for lunch. In addition, Sanders is not as much an Idealist as an ideologue, like Ron Paul with his ideology, or Ted Cruz.

Is Hillary an Idealist? Not for the most part, in my opinion. If she has ideals, they are very long-term. In the short run, her policies are incremental, as any successful leader’s initiatives would have to be in today’s world. Hillary would be more utilitarian and practical than tactically clever or diplomatic. If she wins the election and chooses people in her inner circle who make up for her weaknesses, she may be an admirable Queen of the Jungle. If not, we could be in for a tough slog.

 

 

 

Some people cannot vote

Some people cannot vote

Some people cannot or will not vote for real-world reasons.

My wife and I have been on the streets of Phoenix registering new voters this election season. You would be amazed how many people cannot vote, or will not.

Felons, for example, are forbidden to. Surprisingly both felons and ex-felons that we spoke with tended to admit up front that’s what they are. Of course plenty of people are not  full-blown felons, but are hiding outside the law. Consider folks with multiple DUI’s,  missed court dates, or persistent creditors from hell. Voter registration would shed more light on them than they want.

Plenty of Americans say they are working hard to keep the government out of their affairs. They can, and do, choose not to have government ID’s like driving licenses, medical cards, and voter registration cards. Because social security cards are issued to us as children, very few people can escape that ID, but they can still choose to reject nearly everything else. And we all know that plenty of people earn their living from unreported cash. We are not only talking about illegal immigrants.

Some politicos are pushing legislatures to make voter registration automatic for all citizens. I wonderful if they know they will get blowback from the many people who do not want to be on the grid, automatically or any other way.

We even met a few individuals who wanted to escape jury duty because, as you know, voter registration rolls are often the data source to locate jury candidates.

Homeless people want to get registered, but life can be so challenging that addresses and other contact info become quickly obsolete. So they may opt to not even try.

The saddest reasons we have heard for not registering deal with mistrust and disgust. Thousands  honestly feel their votes do not matter. Many say they know nothing about the candidates or about the issues — which is probably true in most cases. Plenty believe the system is rigged.

If you are an idealist who hopes for a hundred percent voter turnout, you must realize that’s an impossibility. On the other hand, the citizens who choose to vote continue to be the majority, at least we hope so. That’s why we’re in train stations, bookstores, and neighborhoods signing people up.