Do you think you can be president of the United States of America? Should you be president of the United States of America? Do you have the qualifications necessary to run this country? Regardless whether you want to be the president, would you like to have a president you see as a person with whom you could share a beer or hang out with?
It seems to me that the desire to hang out or have a beer with the president comes from a desire to view this person as human, as “like us.” But think about it, how much “like us” should the president really be? Are any of the people you hang out with ready to be president or should they be? Are the people in your child’s soccer league ready to run the country? What about the people in your PTA? Are the people you have a beer with at the park ready to run the country? Hell, are the people in your city council, or even your mayor ready to run the entire United States of America?
Just because we could sit and have a conversation with a person does not mean either of us is ready to run one of the most powerful nations on earth. Think about it. Faced with the prospect of leading at least two wars, global starvation, natural disasters, increasing environmental concerns, a worldwide mortgage crisis, an economy on the brink of collapse, millions of uninsured and unemployed Americans, and a multitude of other issues, are you or your neighbors ready to run this country? Could you do it? Could you fix these problems?
Don’t just ask yourself if the person running for president could drink a beer with you or hang out at your church. Ask yourself if this person can manage the complex and myriad problems facing this massive nation. Over three hundred million people are citizens of the United States. Three hundred million! Could you lead three hundred million people? Perhaps in considering whether someone should be president we should worry less about whether that person is “like us” and start asking if they can do the job, because I highly doubt that most of us could run this country. I doubt our neighbors could. I doubt our friends could. Perhaps after years of experience and training we could do it, but not right now, not today after drinking that beer. Being “like us” does not qualify someone to run this country. It might make someone more likable. It might provide us with some link to the enormity of their responsibility to feel that person could be “like us.” Being “like us” may make us feel in another lifetime at another time we actually could do that job. Unfortunately it is not enough to determine whether someone could be president of the United States.
Presidents should be super heroes. Yes, they are human. Yes, they shit. But I want someone in charge of the fate of a very large number of people to have superhuman strength and abilities. Just because this person could have a beer with me is simply not good enough.