In company with past presidents, President Obama has discovered that one can get elected by making glorious promises. Fulfilling them is quite another story.
Whether it is classified security concerns that one only finds out about once in office or the reality that a president does not have dictatorial powers, campaigning and governing are completely different activities. Even star power has its limitations. To the disappointment of President Obama and his supporters, expectation that America’s enemies would be as enraptured with him (and hence America) as teenage girls were with the Beatles, were decidedly overblown.
Unfortunately, most of us fall prey to catchy slogans and starry-eyed promises. That is why you never saw the following policy and campaign slogans: “A chicken in most pots; a car in many garages,” “Fewer children left behind,” “Hope and change which you might like or might hate.”
These sayings aren’t as catchy as the ones which were actually articulated, though they are far more truthful. Yet we continue to elect politicians who run by making outlandish promises and then we are disappointed when their campaign commitments evaporate. Sometimes, even worse, the platforms materialize but don’t deliver the positive results which were dangled as guaranteed before voters’ eyes.
As a populace, generations of Americans have been raised to enter marriage with the dream of, “they lived happily ever after.” More accurate would be, “they had their ups and downs, joys and sorrows, triumphs and difficulties, but overall they were incredibly grateful to have found each other.” Perhaps reform in the political system needs to start with an electorate whose attitude to all spheres of life is firmly grounded in reality.