I got If You Had Five Minutes With The President in the mail, and have been reading it this week. The premise of the book is that you’ve got five minutes with the President, not neccessarily Bush, but the “next” President, whoever that might be. Good premise, right? It’s too bad that the book is packed with celebrities who talk in vague terms about the same things over and over again. There are some really interesting, and entertaining pieces, especially Stephen Collins’ and Richard Belzer’s (so far, I’m about halfway through). Where the book shines is when it gets off the vague and inept Bush-bashing, the premise shines through and offers some really funny and interesting pieces.
I’m thinking about my five minutes… There’s so much I want to cover and address, yet I know that it means nothing to anyone but me. I realize that to those in power, I am nothing. You are also nothing (unless you give six digit contributions to the right people). Maybe that’s what I write about… but really, the President is the President of 280,000,000 people, and I’m just one of them, an average one at that. My salary is average. I have a wife, two kids, two cars, a mortgage, and am overweight. Yep, I’m pretty average. What politician cares about the average American? It surely isn’t anyone in power today, that’s for sure.
I’m worried about the future of our country. After getting halfway through the book, I took a good long look at how I perceive the political process and the environment today, and I’m sick of all of it. The political landscape is beset by a complete and utter lack of ethics. From Ohio’s plan to refuse registrations not printed on exactly the right paper, to the Pentagon’s blocking access to the foreign voter’s information site, to the steady stream of minority voter intimidation in the South, to the continuing abuse of campaign finance loopholes, to the continued twisting of the truth and outright lies told by the Presidential campaigns. There are no more “gentlemen politicians” in Washington.
It’s no wonder the American people are cynical. You’ve given them plenty to be cynical about. From an energy policy written by the companies it’s supposed to regulate to a presciption drug plan written by insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies, we have no reason to believe that anyone in the Government has our best interest at heart. Nothing the government does anymore seems to be done for the “common good”. It’s all done for money, influence or to maintain power.
Mr. President, whoever you end up being, Bush or Kerry, please restore my faith in the promise of Democracy. Do the ‘right’ thing for no other reason than it’s the right thing to do. Don’t lie to us. Listen to those who oppose your positions. Work with the “other side”. Enforce the law justly, not selectively. Don’t think you’re above the law. Please don’t think that because you’re President, or because we’re the United States of America, that the rules don’t apply to us. They do. More so, because we’re supposedly that shining city on the hill. If we’re going to be that city, and we’re going to shine, we’ve got a lot of amends to make, a lot of tarnish to remove and a lot of explaining to do to those who used to look up to us.
Please, don’t just promise to restore “honor and dignity” to the White House. Do it.