Monday, February 29, 2016
Calvin Coolidge was president when I was born. (Mr. Coolidge is back in the news again as the last American president to visit Cuba prior to President Obama's forthcoming tour.) In any event I have seen many a politician come and go – although Franklin Delano Roosevelt took a lot more time in going. Could lessons learned in the political past enrich campaigning in 2016?
The world has spun around many times since “Silent Cal” was in the White House, I wonder if his legendary reluctance to speak out loud and often wouldn't be a good approach. Campaigning has become akin to food fighting in a high school cafeteria. Bad manners, vulgarity and character assassination are ruling the platform. If we were to count the wordage on issues compared to the thunder of promises and negative comments, the picture is beyond sad. Perhaps speaking softly and carrying a big stick - like focusing exclusively on victory at primary polls – would impress us more than this angry in-your-face howling. Bring back Cal!
We are months away - some would say an eternity away – before the actual election of our next president. It's reasonable to ask if we the people can survive the storm of television ads, robocalls at dinner and the 1001 other political intrusions on our time, attention and sanity.
The reality is that politicians, along with lawyers and used car salesmen, consistently compete for last place on the list of professions we respect and admire. It's not like we are being entertained by beauty contests, best movies or something else that people enjoy.
The political season is surely hell on earth.