Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ohio primaries

I'm so excited for the debate in Ohio tonight. I got my absentee ballot yesterday, and I'm voting tonight! Been doing a little research and realized a shocking fact. The speaker of the House does not need to be elected from the House... it could be an outsider! I'm wondering who would be the vice president as well. When I think about the choosing of the vice president, often the runner up is selected. Although, certainly not always! I can imagine both Clinton and Obama in the presidency. But my question then becomes, who would be a better VICE president?

The Vice President needs to be someone strong and determined, hard working, capable of getting things done in a no nonsense way, and has proven he/she can do so with a track record to boot. He/She needs to be capable of ceremonial duties, being high profile, and not always getting the credit for everything. This person has the responsibility of running a country without being totally accountable to the public opinion polls, otherwise nothing would get done.

The President on the other hand needs to be a visionary; strong, determined, a listener, and a problem solver. He/she needs to be able to connect with the common person, at least on the surface level, whether that be from ideals, background, past employment, history, etc. He/she has a responsibility to guide the administration along the fine line of public sentiment and realistic policy making. However, he/she needs to be able to propose radical ideas and have the humility to put those ideas aside if they are not realistic. The President needs have the personal power and charisma to get things done, when and where he wants them with no questions asked. This requires, above all, loyalty. And loyalty comes from respect. But there 2 kinds of respect: one comes from fear the other comes from admiration.

The best President of the United States can be judged in the ability to instill loyalty and respect, have compassion, empathy for the people, be charismatic, benevolent, and powerful. And in my opinion, the greatest act of power is that in which mercy is given. The difference between mercy and weakness is that when mercy is expected, you are weak. When mercy is unexpected, those whom you grant mercy to not only know what could have happened in its stead but also feel indebted, thus strengthening loyalty and your own power.

So the question becomes, what kind of respect does Obama and Clinton, and even McCain instill in me? This encompasses the ability to foster respect in groups of people radically different from my own as well, both inside my country and in other countries. In the end, we are choosing a leader that has enormous power over our own lives and the lives of many many people in countries around the world, both directly and indirectly.

So if all power comes from either fear or admiration (born out of and fostered by hard or soft power), and the Bush administration has preached a doctrine of fear, fear the US, fear the terrorists, fear foreigners, etc. and some of the "best" presidents of the 20th century were those who fostered loyalty in the form of trust and admiration, Chinese loyalty in the 70's and 80's, Russian loyalty during detente, trust in social programs, etc... who can best foster these sentiments in our current three candidates?

President Bush knew that Saddam knew that we wouldn't normally invade and destroy his country. Saddam expected mercy, the hallmark of American power. Our power was weakened because Saddam had no fear or admiration of the US. The misguided War in Iraq was therefore, not misguided in the decision to invade to prove American power. If the United States expected to have power over Iraq, then loyalty either through hard or soft was required to restore that power. But the bully in the schoolyard only picks on the other kids cuz there are deeper problems in his/her own life. The bully also takes no responsibility for his/her own actions and leaves his/her victim in the dust to suffer the consequences of the attack alone.

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