July 28th, 2012 // 7:47 pm @ Oliver DeMille
Sadly, it appears increasingly evident that our political leaders may no longer be able to fulfill this role.
The story of Barack Obama is instructive on this point.
As a lifetime liberal with long experience and connections in the progressive community, President-Elect Obama took over the White House with big intentions of reframing our national politics into a less divisive, more cooperative endeavor.
He seems to have been surprised at the vehemence of the two-party system, and how quickly the opposing party lined up to get him out of office—regardless of what he did, or didn’t do, as a leader.
President George W. Bush, who came into office with big goals of creating a more compassionate conservatism, faced the same reality—the opposition lined up against him before he proposed a single policy.
Whether you are a supporter of President Obama, a critic, or more neutral, the reality of our new politics is frustrating.
The next president, either in 2012 or 2016, will likely face the same problem.
Welcome to the new system in Washington: A president isn’t judged for what he does as much as for which party he belongs to.
We are a nation with major struggles and we desperately need great leadership, but our political system has reached the point where our top elected officials have little chance of providing such leadership.
The system simply won’t allow it.
The next campaign starts the morning after election day, with no break between elections and no sense of a U.S. president we’ll all follow for four years.
Today’s system is more divided: the chief executive is now widely perceived as only as the president of the Republicans or the president of the Democrats.
We are at a crossroads in America.
We need great leadership as much as at any time in our history, but our political system no longer allows it to come from Washington.
We may have reached the point where only an Independent President will be able to get anything done.
Or, another solution may be a revolution of leadership, with leaders rising from other—non-political—arenas.
This may be one of the most important trends of the 21st Century, but it is not yet a trend.
Needed: A generation of non-political leaders to help America get back on track!