1 Chicken, 2 Cars

Shirley Chisholm, first woman to run for president

I guess we have to be grateful to not have elections as often as some other countries do but I truly hate this “democratic process”. Over fifty years of watching politics, little has changed. The most important part of a office seeker is not their promises and I seem to be in a minority on this aspect.

Do you remember Herbert Hoover’s campaign in 1928? His real motto was “Who But Hoover” but the catchy chicken in every pot and 2 cars in every garage is what is more likely to be remembered. When I looked up the details, I found this was not his motto but what his critics claimed he was promising.

That has kept coming to mind every time another candidate promises another pie in the sky scenario like Medicare for All and free college and a basic guaranteed income. Do I like the ideas? To some extent, yes but in reality each idea has not been well thought out. Most importantly these promises ignore the realities Congress and the American government. I’m not about to start spouting details to prove my points because there are pundits that do a good job getting into those weeds and I don’t need the deets to make my point.

I never vote or promote a candidate just because he or she champions a cause. I ignore candidates who ignore the reality of the presidency. I do not vote or promote a candidate by gender or sexual preference. Yes, I would love to see a woman president. Yes, I would love to see a gay president. That’s beside the point.

Flipping the Senate is a first problem – no democratic president is going to be able to accomplish much without resorting to a bunch of executive decrees or putting political appointees into place, getting rid of the “opposition”, etc.; you know, like Trump does.

So first requirement for a president for me is what can you really accomplish and how are you going to do it? How are you going to work with the opposition? What are your ideas to unite the nation? Can you honestly tell me your ideas are not divisive?

Do I want folks to have affordable medical insurance? I’m a case study in how the insurance industry and Medicare have many issues; however, completely upending our system now will have enormous financial impact on jobs and industries, some that actually are not just profit making jaggernauts. People will be affected – jobs will be affected. And now that I’m on Medicare, I’m really quite unhappy with the government making decisions based on money alone and not what’s best for patients. I was on the ACA before Medicare. There’s the start, let’s work on fixing what is there before telling every human that they have to get used to a whole ‘nother system that possibly could be no better.

Do I want the debt burden to be lessened on college grads? Of course, but if you borrow $200,000 to get your degree, then I have a problem with that. So definitely something needs to be done but not relieving debt. This is another instance of a broken system that needs fixing. It took me 10 years to pay off my college debt. My brother saw my struggles and joined the Air Force to get the tuition assistance, so he learned from my experience. Now I never recommend borrowing in the first place. As a relatively poor, but not poor enough student in 1969, I was barely able to scrape through college but I had scholarships, grants and loans to starve on. And I never have had the income to justify the expense in the first place.

Do I want a minimum income for every citizen? Actually I do but I’m realistic enough to know that will be harder than getting Medicare for All. The opposition to this will be incredible – on both sides of the aisle. No one who has never had to ask for help can possibly understand the labyrinth of the “welfare” system or how totally trapped folks can be in poverty. More sytematic problems that need tending to.

Do I want a woman as president? No question. Hey, I voted for Shirley Chisholm in 1972. Will I take any woman? Oh, heck no. A bad woman president would do damage to those who follow after her. Even a good one would be disruptive – not as disruptive as Obama, the first black president, turned out to be. The disruption was the refusal to accept a black president in many quarters which is one of the reasons we ended up with Trump. Obama did a fair job considering but it never mattered to the racists out there. A woman is going to attract horrible attention as well so it needs to be the right woman. So far I’ve not found her.

So no, I don’t want most of the candidates for president. Pie in the sky promises do not work for me. Sanity, education, consistency combined with flexibility, rationality, no screaming, no attacking (but this is politics) – it’s all about reality and diplomacy. If your preferred candidate cannot muster the ability to look at reality, then how in the world can he or she govern?