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Special People, Special Presidents

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I’ve never had a President. The common construction, “He’s my President,” or, “He’s our President,” doesn’t fit my perspective. The relation between citizens and government leaders is not ownership. Presidents, as the Constitution was drafted, are chief executives. They fill a role in a bureaucracy. They’re not idols.

A President is just “the President”, not much different from the local Fire Chief or the CEO down at the widget factory. That a voter has some infinitesimal influence in determining who becomes President does not create ownership. Not to me, anyway.

The language of possession reinforces the passions. Campaigners exploit this. Once people begin to perceive ownership, the candidate becomes intertwined with their identity. The portion of reason or logic guiding choice and response diminishes.

Natural human psychology leads people to confirmation bias, where they notice only what they like once they’ve made the decision to support a candidate. Recognizing a genuine flaw or mistake by the candidate would mean that perhaps that first decision was flawed. And nobody likes to be wrong.

Rather than maturely admit a choice may have been bad, or at least less good than once believed, people craft justifications to support the initial pick. They seek evidence to overwhelm contradicting facts. They ignore those facts. Or when those strategies are not possible, people attempt to diminish the revealed flaws, hoping to avoid a change of mind.

Last Thursday, the current President appeared on The Tonight Show. He joked about his job being like an episode of American Idol. And then he insulted the Special Olympics and the athletes who participate in them. It was an unthinking, off-hand wisecrack. To his credit, he made an apology before the show aired. But the wisecrack was crack in his candidate image which revealed his true beliefs.

Dr. Melissa Clouthier has an excellent post on the fraud of politically correct speech in context of this Obama gaffe. I’ll jump to the ending:

Would I like the President of the United States to have some measure of decorum? Sure. That would be nice. It’s not going to happen with Barack Obama. And his hate speech (come on, you know if a Republican said this it would be called hate speech) represents a very nasty character flaw and deep insecurity. But anyone paying attention before the election would have seen that too.

President Barack Obama diminishes himself, the office and the country. It’s embarrassing. But you know, Americans choose presidents who, for better or worse, represent themselves. He fits right in to the base, crass culture. Far from being better or smarter, like we were told during the election, he’s baser and cruder. It’s interesting watching so many try to defend the indefensible.

For the people who feel Barry is their President, this episode has generated some amazing rationalizations. “He’s just showing that he’s human,” they say. And, “We can’t be too serious all the time.” Swiftly and blithely, the O-is-mine gang abandoned eight years of harangues against the previous President.

If this confrontation to identity wasn’t enough, the Obama apologists have to deal with this now, too:

Sarah Palin received similar ownership from her supporters. This video from last February will certainly help those folks confirm their bias. Although she is delivering a prepared statement, her sincerity is undeniable. Palin has a regard for Special Olympics people that President Klink can’t even pretend to hold.

Since I do not have a President, I am not so deeply disappointed by Obama. But I am uplifted by Palin. Not because her politics, but due to her character. The current Governor of The Great State of Alaska seems a more fitting idol for us all.

To avoid being too serious, as the Barry-owners advise, I will close with this comment made to Dr. Clouthier’s post:

What’s really funny is that at this point I’d rather have any Special Olympian as President over Obama.

H/T: Maggie’s Farm

ADDENDUM: Via Theo Spark, a story about the indomitable spirit of athletes who became more special while in service to Her Majesty:

A cheer goes up as the most severely injured course member arrives in style.

Tom Neathway, a 25-year-old corporal in the Paras, is carried on the back of his instructor, his one remaining limb locked in a vice-like grip round his neck.

Tom is a triple amputee and something of a miracle survivor after being blown up in Afghanistan.

He is now fit, cheerful and annoyingly competitive.

2nd ADDENDUM: A regular NRR passenger sent this story:

Special Olympics Champ to Barack: Bring it On!

Kolan McConiughey, a Special Olympics competitor who has bowled three perfect 300 games, tells TMZ that the Prez has to score a lot higher than 129 to beat him. Kolan says he bowls an average of 266.

Kolan—who works at a grocery store in Ann Arbor, MI—said he'd love to go to the White House to beat Barack on his own lane. Kolan said, "He's cool, but he can't beat me."

The White House had no comment.