So You Want to be the President ... WHY?
by Dr. John E.
Bonfadini, Ed.D., Professor Emeritus, George Mason University
Grandma and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary in
June, and afterwards, we took a weekís vacation at Myrtle Beach with our
youngest son and his family.
Days were devoted to sand and ocean. In the evenings, the
grandkids like to visit Broadway at the Beach. Plenty there to do and buy.
Ride Makerz, a model-car store, is the male version of Build-a-Bear. One
evening my grandson Brandon was inside building another car while I sat
outside on a boardwalk bench watching all the people.
As the groups of people walked by, a persistent thought
kept running through my mind: Somebody really wants to be president of all
of this humanity!
There were people of all races and creeds. The face of
America is changing and becoming more diversified. There were many
multi-racial families. Brandon, my grandson, was adopted from South Korea
and made our family multi-racial, but no one noticed. America has become
more complex, and whoever wants to be president will have to please a much
broader spectrum of humanity than leaders of the past.
We are a well-fed populace. A large percentage of the
people I watched from the boardwalk bench were on the chubby side, with way
fewer skinny Minnies than in the old days. I donít think food shortages will
soon be a campaign issue here. Helping other people of the world who are
hungry ó thatís a political issue for the next president. Iíd like to
suggest that all those people I saw who are a bit overweight donate one meal
a week to feed the hungry of the world. It would be good for all concerned.
People are more outspoken today, and express their ideas
in many ways. Almost everyone had a shirt with a saying. The
messages covered a wide spectrum of ideas. There were love messages,
team logos, comic sayings, sexual statements, pictures of animals, pictures
of kids and family, and even political points of view. Then there were the
tattoos. Wow. I just didnít realize that so many grandmothers and mothers
have body graffiti. We certainly are a people who like to let others know
what we think. So, Mr. or Mrs. Future President, be prepared for a lot of
input. Youíre not going to be the leader of a passive population. I also
noticed in the parking lot many cars with bumper stickers espousing
different ideas. I think itís going to be difficult to please all these
people. So Iím warning all presidential candidates ó itís likely you wonít
be loved by many and will probably be disliked by a lot.
A lot of people were talking on cell phones. Many were
wearing earphones. I was hoping they might be listening to a good book, but
most were on their way to losing their hearing, listening to noise (I have a
hard time calling it music). Note to Mr. or Mrs. Future President: Those
fancy smart phones are giving people a lot of instant, unfiltered
information. Youíre going to need good communication skills to handle these
constant news flashes. Oops!! There goes my iPhone. Oh. Just another cartoon
about the president. I get one forwarded almost on an hourly basis.
Mr. or Mrs. Future President, all those kids just got out
of school. I donít know if weíre really teaching them the right things.
Every year the elected representatives say they are going to build a better
student ... now thereís an idea for a new store ... Build a Better Student.
Elected officials are always saying theyíre going to improve education, but
seldom does anything ever get done. I think weíre spending too much money on
SMART PHONES and not enough on SMART KIDS.
Grandma is sitting in a wheelchair next to me. She broke
her foot and canít put any weight on it for eight weeks. She has a special
boot that cost $400. My government-provided health care paid for it. That
allowed me to have sufficient finances to purchase some exotic shoes for the
grandkids and me. I love my New Balance walking shoes. Whoever the next
president is better not touch my health care. If I had to pay the bill for
grandmaís broken foot, Iíd never be sitting on this bench in Myrtle Beach.
Mr. or Mrs. Future President, you
realize that you and your family will be the punch line of every late-night
comedian. You wonít be able to do anything that someone doesnít make a joke
about. Your every flaw will be scrutinized, so be prepared and if you donít
have a thick skin, apply for another job.
We spend the last evening of our vacation on the strip in
downtown Myrtle Beach. Iíve always been a proponent of getting everyone to
vote. Mr. or Mrs. Future President, Iím not sure all of these people are
really qualified to vote. I wasnít completely sure what many were qualified
to do, but Iím guessing that the ability to make intelligent decisions isnít
one of their qualities. Maybe they just need more schooling. Mr. or Mrs.
Future President, itís easy for you to end up with a ďbig head.Ē So many
people want to talk to you. They even will let you kiss their kids. You have
the keys to the biggest piggy bank in the world. Who cares if the bank is
empty ... we all want some anyway and many people donít like putting money
in your piggy bank. Can you have the courage to say NO to everyone? There
are a lot of politicians out there wanting the presidential job. The winner
will be the leader of the free world. Just remember, that doesnít mean that
everything is free. To the final candidates in the race, I congratulate you,
and please be nice to the other candidates. It sets a good example for our
children. You know, the same kids whose future youíre always talking about
protecting. Show them some class now. A lot of us will see you at the polls.
Want to make a quick response? Tweet me at Twitter.com/Drjohnbee.