Monday, March 21, 2016

The Presidential Chair

Vasu Reddy From Chicago

Barak Obama is only the 44th President to occupy the presidential chair in the USA.  For the most prosperous democracy on earth, the USA has yet to have a women president.  In the elections that followed president Regan in the early 1980’s, and each successive election has been more visible because of 24/7/365 cable television, and the subsequent and ever increasing coverage with mobile and internet services.

When he started out to run for the presidential office, President Regan did not have 24 hour breaking news and instant messaging to reach out to millions of people with a click a button.  The presidents and the presidential contenders had remained civil in debates, advertisements and communications.  The presidential elections were primarily ideological and in line with the party’s agenda.  There was little personal animosity displayed in public, and most of the election drama came with policy challenges and sometimes simple one line pot shots.  The famous one was from Regan to Mondale “where’s the beef”.  It was a simple challenge asking to back-up the statements with substance.  That single line was so popular it still has commercial value in challenging for substance over speech.  The personality and persuasion of an individual seeking the highest office in the country was the main factor to display vision and leadership, in convincing the voters to go to the polling booths to send the individual for the next four years to represent the most powerful nation on earth.

Since the communications, cable news networks and the internet reach every citizen (just about) on earth and continues to become more and more affordable and widely available, the tone of competing adversaries has increasing become negative.  To touch the human attention, the negative connotations and aggressive behavior has become an attention grabber.  Even for a few seconds the negativity does grab attention.  Negative advertising and crass references about the opponents have become staples in all election cycles.  The latest presidential primaries have become more than reality television, which is beyond viewing for a normal family audience.

Combining the cost of elections in each presidential election these days runs into billions of dollars.  The process is long and drawn out and lasts more than a year every four years, and for the duration of the election cycle we only hear negative and abusive advertisements and about each other.  If anyone is paying attention to these comments, no one should be chosen out of the competing candidates.

The irony of each of the election cycle remains the same.  Once elected the party’s policies and agenda are driven by congress and senate.  The majority in power will demand and push to implement their party’s policies and political manifesto.  What has not happened with any of the administrations (even when they change) is balancing the budget and reducing the deficit, along with overhauling the economic, education and immigration agenda.  These remain issues in every election process, but once in office they are issues that are postponed to be dealt with next elections.

Global economic uncertainty and religious and ideological issues continue to be hurdles to managing just the internal issues of USA.  Its outreach to global security and constant threats to its national security, and cost of military and unpredictability outside of its own domain, all add to the burden to managing the national resources.  All negatives and outside of the control of the USA add to the burden to the spending, and constant communications and coverage keep the negatives on the minds of people.  There is no escape from any bit of coverage, and most of it is negative.

Undoubtedly the most powerful chair in the world anyone who aspire to occupy is the USA presidential chair.  The contenders are aspirants who are increasingly aggressive and funded with millions to go after their opponents.  The tone of the campaign is no longer what we called presidential.  2016 is reflecting age old rivalry between gentlemen in a modern communications world.  The decorum and respect is lost to each other (along with the public who needs to listen to these folks), the candidates who are no longer gentlemen in nature only desire to sit on the presidential chair.

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