Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Plumber/Heart Surgeon Argument


Watching the Republican CNN Debate last night has gotten me a little worried. Over the past few years, it has become a very cool thing for a candidate to eschew any and all semblances of a political career - especially in Washington, D.C.. "I am not a politician! I have never held national political office!" have become battle cries from candidates like Herman Cain and Mitt Romney. They're trying very hard to make you believe one thing: in order to fix the problems in our political system, you need an outsider to do the job.

And, I get the nice sentiment behind the idea. It's a classic Western movie script. We have a problem in our town and we need John Wayne, a stranger with a straight shot, to come in, run the varmints out of town, and set right the wrongs done. But, unfortunately, this isn't about what's morally right or wrong. There is more at stake than a cowboy wearing a black hat taking over a town in the middle of nowhere.

The way I see it, the argument these folks over the past several years (and believe me, there have been dozens of them - Christine O'Donnell & Sharon Angle, anyone?) have been making is that we should consider hiring a plumber as our heart surgeon. You know, because you're just fixing someone's internal plumbing... It can't be that different from unclogging a drain, right?

Romney, Cain, and their fellow "I have never held political office, please elect me President" crowd seem to be misunderstanding something. If you've never held political office, that should not be worn as a badge of honor, especially if you're asking people to elect you to the highest national political office in the country - and, arguably, the world.

I work retail whilst going through the hoops of getting my Master's degree. I cannot walk into my store's corporate office and ask to be named CEO with the qualification of, "Well, I've never been the head of a major multi-national corporation, but I've managed a half dozen people, and Oh Look! I have this Bachelor's degree here." It just doesn't work that way.

For a group of politicians who gripe and moan about America needing to go back to the way the free market does things and lifting up our capitalist society as the paragon of how a country needs to be run, they sure don't want to be elected to political office like our free market would do it. They want to skip some very key steps.

Exactly what about running a pizza chain qualifies you to instigate diplomatic relations with North Korea? What about being a gazillionaire former governor of a largely Democratic state - the first to legalize gay marriage - who has tried 3 times in the past to be elected to a national office and failed, qualifies you to be the Republican candidate and further fix our nation's problems? Really... What?

I realize that both sides of the aisle have made the word 'politican' into a very dirty word meaning something I shall not say here, but you do not hire a plumber to do a surgeon's job. It's fine if you don't want to go to medical school and choose to learn a trade instead, but don't expect to become chief of surgery at Seattle Grace because you think you'd make a good one. You've got a lot of good ideas. It doesn't work that way.

If you do not have any interest in being a 'politician,' if you're proud of never having held national office (though, not for lack of trying in Romney's case), if you are so hell bent on perpetuating this cowboy mentality, then - I'm sorry - but you have no basis for running a national campaign. I sincerely hope you do not get the nomination, and I especially hope that you do not get elected. If a Republican is to take office, I hope it is someone who is a politician. Who has held national office. Someone who has worked on diplomatic solutions, who can deal with other countries. Someone who has helped to balance budgets in the trillions of dollars.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe we should elect someone to the highest office in the country, and to one of the most powerful singular positions in the world, because they've never run anything like it. Ever.

What do YOU think?

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

1 comment:

  1. Warning: Wall-o-Text

    Hmm. One of the things that I think is important to remember...because I always come back to it myself...is that the leadership of this country was not based on the concept of Divine Right or aristocratic social structures. Some of our presidents have been, and others may be, "peasants" of a sort. This is one of the best aspects of our country's policies: our public office positions are not elitest in terms of class distinctions (we're ignoring the sexism and racism for now, just talking about classes)...or at least, it didn't used to be.

    This all began to change steadily from the onset, and one can argue that from the beginning, all those in power had some powerful and elitest connections that gave them a distinct advantage (some instances descending into rampant conspiracy theories, but again we ignore and stick to the point) so it may be argued that it amounts to the same thing. Granted. But the fact remains, that as long as you're a U.S. citizen (birth certificate in tow), then you can be elected to the highest single political position in the country. That's pretty damn cool.

    The heart-strings that the GOP and Tea-Partiers are tugging on is this very fact -- of course, it's also mixed with a heavy dose of American mythos in the form of utopian "Golden Era" of conservatism they claim actually existed (it's even built into their party's nickname Ye Grande Olde Partie). So we have to be careful there not to throw out the baby with the bath water. 'Cause that first factor is a) true, b) cool, c) egalitarian, and d) quite possibly the way out of this damn mess we're in.

    Remember Einstein's theory of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. That's the proposed platform these candidates are basing their "I'm one of you people, a regular guy, not like those Other guys that screwed everything up" con. And it is a con. They are not us. They are white, male, wealthy, Other guys. So at this point, we maybe should apply that same insanity definition to the "plumber" angle as well, at least the use of it as a selling point.

    Change is necessary in our leadership. Older is not equal to better any more than newer is equal to better. One thing is for sure, and I have to agree with you on this, our modern world could not survive the leadership a green, untested, peasant-class outsider. Our politics and social structure have become far too complex for anyone to be president.

    But should it be that way? Wouldn't it be better if we worked to create a country where we could effectively govern our own people? Or do we want an elite class of alien overlords to run it for us while we struggle with their ineffable paperwork and bureaucracy just for the privilege of paying our inflated taxes and losing our homes. 'Cause that's what we got now. The 99% may as well be District 12 or the Bajorans to the 1% (CEOs and politicians alike) who rule the nation. Problem much?

    Parting shot: Your right, but let's not be too happy about it, maybe?

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