Fairy-Tale Elections

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.


2 thoughts on “Fairy-Tale Elections”

  1. Hello Susan, I just wanted to comment that I voted for GW Bush in his last term not because he made big promises but because he involved America with Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11, I was disappointed in him because I did not believe he could make this country any better than President Barack Obama today. If anyone believed that becoming a president in this country is a cake walk it was not I and the many who voted for him. I wanted what God wants for this country and even when he placed many on the throne in Israel back in the hey day of Israel, he did not go for infallible men, So we too have fallible men in the white house even dating back to the first president G. Washington. Just wanted to make it clear that we and I am a black lady, did not see President Obama with anymore of the right hand to help our country even more than any other president that has graced the white house as the head of America. So the reality for me is this, I will continue to vote in hopes for the betterment of each person in America and that includes my grandchildren on into the next generation. Reality is what it is yet we still keep our hopes high and our expectations in tact. thanks

  2. Thank you, Susan, for such a wise and comforting post. It always leaves me feeling a little helpless when I come face-to-face with someone whose views are based on theory alone. I’m not sure why we waste our days running to the mirage of Utopia when we could, instead, infuse reality with real beauty. We could function so much more successfully by embracing the disappointments of life and our inevitable shortcomings, and by striving together in spite of them.
    Blessings to you and to our dear rabbi for continuing to point us toward the beauty,
    Lisa C

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