I fear that people think that John Kerry will be a Savior of some kind. I fear that people will expect too much from John Kerry as POTUS.
Why? Because there is no respect for popular consent, popular vote these days. No respect at all for the privilege and honor of being able to cast a vote which can change the world.
Jimmy Carter was My President. That is to say, he was the first president I remember remembering in any sort of detail. I was twelve when he took office. Gerald Ford was the President before him, of course, and of course I remember Gerald Ford, but even then it seemed he was just the guy filling the place cuz the real guy got kicked out.
So, Jimmy Carter was my president. Bill Clinton was my Best President. I miss him terribly, get wistful whenever I think about how it was when he was in office.
But you know what? Ronald Reagan was My President, too. George H. W. Bush was, as well. Much as I hated Ronald Reagan for the overweening neglect of anyone who wasn’t rich, anyone who wasn’t big-corporate, anyone who wasn’t straight and WASP-y (whatever their skin color), he was still the president. You can’t NOT respect that.
Or can you?
I always thought of George H. W. Bush as a bit sad, a bit weak, more than a bit effete, but again, he was the President of the United States. I disagreed with so much of what he stood for. I didn’t at all like the fact that he had flip-flopped so majorly on something so important to so many people: a woman’s right to choose. Back when he was Ronald Reagan’s opponent in 1980, he was definitely an old-school conservative about abortion and more directly, about the size of government. He supported the right of a woman to choose the course of her own biology—until Ronald Reagan chose him as a running mate. Then he sold out his ideologies in favor of political gain. But still, he was Vice President of the United States, and then POTUS. And you have to respect that.
Or do you?
George W. Bush, on the other hand, does not feel like my President. He never won the election, he just outdistanced the losing. Thanks to “activist judges”, he got to be president because the voting process itself was deemed undeserving of Due Process. That he’s colossally inept and barely scraping by intellectually on the general ineptitude and/or unwillingness of the populace to look behind the curtain of obviousness and literalism to find deeper truth, is just the acrid icing on the caustic cake.
Prior to 9/11 (that’s 11/9 to you non-Americans), I had a bias against Bush, but I spent the smallest amount of time, at least, wondering if there were any upsides to the things he did. Post 11/9 (that’s 9/11 to you provinicial Americans), it all just fell apart. The wheels came off the wagon when he squandered the feeling of national unity in favor of a self-serving jingoism that served no one but his own friends, at the cost of over 10,000 lives so far. There is no upside.
I can’t say for sure that if Bush wins the election—if he even allows an election—that I’ll think of him as a legitimate keeper of the Oval Office. He has an incumbant—and Incumbant’s—advantage that he didn’t earn in the first place. I suppose we’ll know when we know.
While I have every faith that John Kerry will win this November’s election (assuming Bush allows ones) fair and square and will make an excellent POTUS, I sadly, depressingly, fully expect those on the Right will continue to screech and screed and equivocate about the so-called equivalence of liberalism and “evil”. I feel uncomfortably certain that they will abandon their so-called patriotism and say that “John Kerry is not my President!”
I’m of the mind that they’ll pile on his every effort, they’ll commit either-or fallacy after either-or fallacy (like they’re doing already), they’ll drag him down and then they’ll blame him for failure.
As an American—hell, as a human being—I have an almost obsequious respect for the Office of the President of the United States.
Will the Right, when John Kerry is Our President?