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I don't understand why anyone would want the job of President of the United States

I don’t understand why anyone would want the job of President of the United States.

It’s a 24 hour a day job, 7 days a week.  The fate of the world and the lives of every living thing on the planet rest on the shoulders of post A-bomb presidents.  Their lives and the lives of their families are spent in a glass house that is constantly being pelted with stones tossed by the news media, the opposing political party and anyone with the ability to type and who has a social networking account.

Having grown up during the presidencies of Eisenhower and Kennedy, I was raised in a world where presidential personal indiscretions were off-limits to news reporters.  I didn’t know Eisenhower had a war-time mistress or Kennedy was a womanizer until Eisenhower and Kennedy were both long gone.  I was too young to care about politics and grew up trusting the Office of the President would protect me and my family and trusting that it would represent America as a decent and fair member of the world community. America was the hero that always came to the rescue.

Now, of course, I’ve seen too much to put my head in the sand and ignore the consequences of abuse of power, misjudgments and the vindictive nature of politics.  I believe the news media should let us know if there is unequivocal evidence that our elected officials have cracks in their character but there should be no tolerance for conjecture in order to sell newspapers or online advertisements.

During the last presidential election many of the comments and posts I saw on our social networks that were directed at our President by American citizens were obscene and many without relevant content.  While I respect the right of a person to speak their mind, there is such a thing as responsibility and certainly all Americans should, at the very least, respect the Office of the President if they cannot respect the person occupying that office.

As for the President’s family, I know since Jackie O we’ve all become more interested in how a president’s wife looks and dresses and I like to think interested in the good works accomplished by our first ladies, but many of today’s “news stories” about the President’s family have entered into the realms of are you kidding me and who cares?  During the last presidential election I saw comments and photos about Michelle Obama, with absolutely no campaign related information, that would have been tolerated only in the back alleys when I was a kid.  Recently, I heard some idiot suggest that if the President wants to take guns away from citizens then why not take the guns away from the people who are protecting his children; two girls who potentially would be prime targets of any number of terrorist kidnapping and assassination scenarios.

I don’t understand why anyone would want the job of President of the United States.

The President earns a $400,000 annual salary, along with a $50,000 annual expense account, and a $100,000 nontaxable travel account. We’ve all heard of athletes and entertainers who spend that kind of money on a long weekend.  The Presidential office has not had a raise in 12 years, since 2001.

I don’t understand why anyone would want the job of President of the United States.

Yet, there have been great men who fought for the job and who rose to face history head-on while making hard decisions that formed the country we are today:  George, who stepped out of the ranks of our founding fathers, Abe who saw us through the Civil War and started us on the long road to equality before he was shot to death because of the job he held.  Woodrow guided us through WW1.   Franklin’s “new Deal” that got us through the Great Depression and his signature on the Declaration of War after the attack on Pearl Harbor that committed us to WW2, a war that ended when Harry made that fateful decision to drop the A-Bomb.  John’s cold war stand-off with Khrushchev when we learned that hiding under our school desks would protect us from the fallout from the atom bomb and John’s assassination that broke our hearts.  And, Jimmy’s attempt to hold countries accountable for their civil rights decisions in order to qualify for US support.

I use their first names not out of disrespect, but to emphasize they were human beings like the rest of us who made the choice to accept the world’s most difficult job.  Whether history has proven that the decisions made by these men, and the men that preceded and followed them into the Oval Office, were right or wrong, they had to carry the responsibility for the consequences of their decisions, a responsibility that is unimaginable to most of us.

That’s why I respect our presidential office even if I did not always respect the man who worked there. 

Why do men seek and accept the job?  Some think it's all about ego, some men may have been swept into office by circumstance.  I like to think many of our Presidents accepted the job out of patriotism, love for our country. 

So, on this Presidents’ Day 2013 I am thankful to all of the men who tried their best to protect us and lead our country forward and … wait for it … I am looking forward to the day when America is ready to give us women a crack at it.

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