I usually try to avoid political commentary on StE(r), mainly because there are other blogs that do an excellent job of covering such things as the main topic. As an informed person, I tend to read such blogs on a daily basis, taking in a steady diet of the good, bad, and the ugly. But, I'll kick in MHO just this one time.
To set things straight right off the bat, this isn't a rant... more like an observation and an accompanying opinion. OK, maybe it's a rant about the national media's handling of the last presidential campaign. I like Lincoln historically, think that FDR's terms should be looked at with more scrutiny from a historical standpoint. I style myself as a Roosevelt man. The Roosevelt whom a stuffed bear is named after, that is.
But it seems in their haste to talk up the next president of the United States, the major news outlets have decided to draw up comparisons of President Elect Barack Obama to FDR and Abe Lincoln. This is a prickly subject for me on many grounds, but a couple in particular.
I'm a big believer that greatness succeeds the man. If I were PE Obama, I would be praying for deliverance from the institution that helped him win the election. Why? Because right now the national media is seemingly billing Obama on the same level as men who had to actually serve their terms to earn the accolades that he is currently receiving. Not only that, both Lincoln and FDR were presidents who served the nation in extraordinary times. Although our current time has its qualities and challenges, Obama has to see the Nation through the tough times on his watch. Only then can the national media give him the laurel leaves of accomplishment or even greatness bestowed on the likeness of Lincoln and Roosevelt.
As it stands, Obama is going to not only fill some big and well worn shoes, but he's got to live up the near-myth that the media built up for his "benefit".
To live up to the likes of Lincoln, FDR, and the others we as a nation hold in great esteem, we come to my other prickly subject, what role the national media plays in deciding this.
When Obama got elected, two real changes were going to happen; the usual party switcheroo and race of the nominee. Again, the national media played an embarrassing role in advocating the latter.
They pushed heavily for a man who hadn't even completed a single term as a senator. As a matter of fact, it did little to find out what Obama's real stand on issues. Instead, some in the media insinuated that not voting for the Obama was akin to racism.
We the people didn't learn much from the national media, and what did come out usually was via Obama's main Democratic rival or bloggers who posed some big questions and did the leg work that journalists were supposed to do in the first place. Nope, what we did hear about was Obama becoming the first black president and superficial fluff. The national media infatuated itself with Obama, and not what he stood for or his character. So no one really knew about what he stood for or who he really was. Comedy skits were based off this very fact. In fact, no one in the national media really pushed Obama for what changes he was aiming to make.
Although it sounds like I'm beefing about race, I'm not. Personally, I've always thought that Colin Powell would have - should have - been the first black president. My beef is with the institution the people depend for finding out the truth utterly failed, becoming a partisan tool (yet again) in the process. It fell for the allure for what was on the surface and did not dare go any further. It attacked and ridiculed those who posed the tough questions, rather than seeking clarification from the man offering the answers. The national media was determined in burying the last eight years by becoming a PR crutch for a weak candidate whose party wasn't currently in office.
Now Obama has to live up to and past what the media have done to him. Great presidents aren't Republicans or Democrats, white or black - they're men of the people. Lincoln didn't come into office with huge ideas, and as a matter of fact, he came into office with a huge problem. A rebellion hinged on his very election. Although one of the platforms that he campaigned on was limiting slavery in the new territories, his bigger problem as keeping the Union intact. FDR had to lead the Nation out of a economic depression and through a World War. Both died before they could fully realize the fruits of their labor. Both were men of the people, as were many other great Presidents.
Our big question now is the one that the media failed to help us determine. Will Obama be a man of the people, a puppet for his party, or a one-trick pony? When I voted, I had three possible presidential options; 1) someone I didn't know a thing about, 2) someone whose politics I didn't like, and 3) someone who I know couldn't win, but I agreed with in principle. Call me Don Quixote. What a choice to have to make.
Even though my candidate didn't win, I'm willing to give Obama a chance. I'll reserve judgement on his service to our nation until 2010, when my vote gets put to good use once again. Hopefully we'll see some wisdom and good decisions will come from Obama and his administration and be worthy of accolades. Maybe comparisons will be drawn up to him with future presidents, so he'll become known more than just the first black president.
But until he has completed his service, he needs to earn his place in the pages of history. That's something that the national media cannot help him do, nor has the moral right to bestow on him before his term is over. So superimposing images of Obama over the likes of Lincoln and FDR are only deceptive window dressing for the question underneath.
So, good luck, and may the next four years be prosperous for we the people.