Thursday, February 24, 2011

To be POTUS - a guest post from DesertBlack


Today we've got a guest post from one of our male readers, the ever-intelligent Mr. DesertBlack. He's got a thought or two about Prez 44 and a few questions for you as well. Enjoy and show him some comment love.

What does it take to be President of the United States of America? What are the necessary skills, education, experience, world view, demeanor and presence/charisma that make one a viable President?  What is the right mix of everything?

This thought has been on my mind ever since the election of Barak Obama as our 44th President. I must admit that I was skeptical about seeing an AA male or female holding this office in my lifetime in spite of the advances (we as a country) have made. All is not perfect in Oz, but I move forward.

Before we start let me say I support and have supported all of my Presidents. I have not always agreed with their strategies, tactics, and world view, but for that moment in time they are my President - I support them. Needless to say there is probably more affinity for this one because we share a few things like Chicago, age, a good cheeseburger and some level of similar experience navigating these United States of America to name a few. I may be naive but that is where I am in reference to all of the Presidents of my lifetime.

There are many directions this conversation could take, but I will focus on the three that I think about most often. They are qualifications, respect for the office and admiration vs. contempt, in light of this President with so many expectations  on his shoulders.

Qualifications – What are some basic fundamental ones? What is icing on the cake? Basic qualifications, an understanding of our governmental system, the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution of the United States, the ability to balance a budget, the ability to understand and interpret law etc…. Icing on the cake, the ability to understand the impact of decisions, the ability to embrace all of one’s countrymen, a sense of fairness in an unfair world, and the ability to inspire a nation to greatness just to name a few. Along with “education”, “experience” and a couple of skinned knees to keep it real.

Respect for the Office – As Americans what level of respect do we have for the office? Is it dependent on who is holding it? How do we provide a united front to the world when we disagree internally? As a democracy it is our right to disagree, protest and influence change. (Normally in a safe environment - wink and nod) And even in a democracy is it too much to ask for a modicum of respect for office, position, title?  Is it really that hard to say “Mr. President” or “President Obama”? (or is this another topic)

Admiration vs. Contempt – In light of all the current would be presidential hopefuls - what inspires them? Is it love of country, power, specific vision, or unadulterated ego? Or is it, if “this guy” can do it … I know I can. I mention this because now everyone is throwing their hat in the ring including, a former governor of Alaska, a soon to be former ambassador and son of a billionaire, a former senator and representative from Pennsylvania. This opportunity has always been available. Am I just hating or is the timing right for these potential candidates?

So, as I ponder the successes and challenges of the Obama Administration and wonder if being the president were an opportunity for me... would I consider it  and why? (not that I am all that, but President Obama and I are the same age and on rare nice summer days the thought has crossed my mind). J Things that make you go Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Bougieland the floor is yours. What do you think qualifies one to be POTUS? Am I too sensitive in noticing that the level of respect afforded to President Obama is lacking? Are you inspired to achieve (anything) based on admiration for challenges overcome or contempt in that … if they/he/she can do it I know I can?

Bonus questions:

Can we expect the world (and this country) to offer the same level of respect to a “brown” man representing a “Caucasian” nation when the other players are entrenched in their nationality and culture, China/Chinese, Japan/Japanese, India/Indian etc…?

And is there any experience/job/degree that can prepare one to navigate 2 wars, collapsing real estate markets, record deficits, increased outsourcing, disappearing industries, record unemployment, global financial instability, and a transition from an industrial society to an information/tech environment just to name a few?

[From blog host - you guys know the rules, answer one, some, all or just give us your thoughts. And hey, keep it bougie out there...]

70 comments:

CaliGirlED said...

Bravo DesertBlack Bravo!!! This was a very well written post and I love the way in which you shared your views and opinions. You were not offensive toward those who may not like President Obama, nor were you too defensive of our "Black President". You simply raised some questions/thoughts/insights regarding the position itself and what kind of person it takes to hold it. I never thought the Presidency to be an easy position for any president, good or bad. And it takes a special person, democrat or republican, to run for, win and hold such an office. May be as a country we should focus more on the position and its responsibilities than the person holding it. Not to misconstrue that the person doesn't matter, character, beliefs, morals, personal track record, etc., but sometimes we let our opinions, biases and prejudices stand in the way of seeing the truth.

And yes, President Obama has definitely paved the way and opened the door for many who would never have considered or been accepted to run for Presidency. Whether they are truly qualified or not.

CaliGirlED said...

Love that picture Chele! Am I the only one who loves to see this man in "normal" settings and/or attire? Yes I am referring to the Nike swoosh on his sleeve! LOL

Reads4Pleasure said...

IMO, the president (or Rock Rock as I like to call him in my private moments) is just as qualified as others that have served before him. While he may not have brought years in Congress or as governor to the table, he brought a greater understanding of the constitution than several others, giving him the ability to approach issues on a deeper level than say a George W. Bush.

I do think that respect for the office has been lost, but I can't say that it started with him. I've seen a constant deterioration of respect since the whole Clinton/Lewinsky debacle and it's only gone down hill with the election of the less than bright W. However, I do think that while the disrespect being done previously was limited to others on the hill, we're seeing it now on a much broader and every day man scale than before. There's an element in this country that seems to feel that the office should be respected only as long as the person in office looks like them.

All of these people throwing their hats in the ring seem to be doing so in hopes that they'll be elected simply because of who they're not. I don't think (Lord, I hope) voters are that stupid. It didn't work when the Republicans thew Palin in there thinking she would automatically get the women vote.

Bonus question: I think the other countries do respect 44, much more than the people in his own country. Other countries aren't as ignorant of what's going on in other places as the U.S. is and, dare I say, their citizens are smarter globally than Americans.

CaliGirlED said...

"I think the other countries do respect 44, much more than the people in his own country." I agree!

superwoman said...

wow... will come back to comment properly now-now after i've read the article, but let it be said that obama looks dead sexy in that photograph!! phrwoar!!!!

rozb said...

I think the qualities of a good president should be demonstrated intelligence, the ability to control a situation and remain calm in the face of adversity, and be very, very thick-skinned.

As for the level of disrespect this president is experiencing - some of it is racism, or at least a fear that someone of another race is in the top office in the nation. Some try to justify their crassness and rudeness by saying this is a post-racial society and they can say whatever they please. Others disguise it as criticism of his policies. And to those things I throw the bullshit flag at them and pose hard and cold facts. This country was sliding down a hill very fast toward depression, we are in two wars that were waged using false and misleading information (we were lied to), and corporate corruption and greed is running rampant. Add to that the human rights we all should enjoy are under attack by uber-conservative "Christian" groups that use religious ideologies to dictate how everyone else should live. This in a country based on freedoms that should not be derived from one's religious beliefs. This president has stepped in, and even though he is changing things, he isn't doing it fast enough. I love the "How's That Hope and Change Working Out for Ya?" bumper stickers and t-shirts. To that I say it is working out just fine for me.

To top it off, media outlets have been the loudest screeching falsehoods about his citizenship, religious affiliations, and even his associations with people of a (possible) dubious nature. Political pundits with an agenda latch onto these things, such as Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, et al, to manipulate people who don't get out of their own news cycle to research and verify the pablum they're being fed. Do you know that most of the people (and Tea Party members) who buy into the misconceptions about the president and his family only listen to Fox News? Just go to the website and look at the comment section in different Presidential news stories - truly appalling! They refuse to read anything that does not come from Fox, Drudge, Breitbart, or anyone who may run contrary to these folks. They call him a Socialist, a Marxist, a Communist, and a Fascist. but let him even think about cutting Medicaid, Medicare, or cut Social Security, they all screech and holler about the apocalypse!

It used to be that attacks on the president's family counted you as un-American. Now it is the norm, rather than the exception. I know I could not do his job - don't have the temperament for it. And I would be calling out all those false pundits on their bullcrap. I, like you, have supported all my presidents, even though I may not agree with them. There is a level of respect the office should have, and I think many of today's folks really missed the mark.

Whew! I haven't posted much lately, so please forgive my dissertation!

William Martin said...

Good post, bro. Would you seriously think about running for President?
I couldn't (wouldn't) withstand the scruting and truthfully, I'm not as evolved as BHO. I'd have swung on somebody by now. The thing that impresses me is his abilities to be knowledgeable (truly not spoon fed) about a lot of topics. You can tell this is a guy who does his homework.
It's an interesting dynamic in that I think he is actually more respected abroad than at home. But he has my vote.

MochaMuffin said...

I wouldn't want his job and while I don't agree with the way he handles everything, I rarely think that there is someone out there that can do better. 2012 is going to be a hot mess

Jesse said...

There is absolutely no way POTUS knew what he was walking into. If you look at that picture from Election Night and look at a picture from one week later - he has a definite "WTF" look. The story is that he started getting all of the Cabinet briefings the day after the election. It was clearly one hell of a wake up call. He has looked (everyday since then) like a man wit the weight of the world on his shoulders. Couldn't be him. I think he's doing great.

Anon said...

Unfortunately I think any one with the right financial backing can get elected in America these days

Grace said...

It would be cool to do a matching piece on To be FLOTUS.

maureen palmer said...

Great post. *moment of gloating* my connection to 44th POTUS- I hail from the same country as his father, same tribe and from the same country side The day President Obama was elected, our village got a transformer in less than 4 hours. The returns came in at 6 am Kenyan time, and a transformer was up and running by 11 am. But that is African government for you. That is a story for another day.

I have lived (moved to the U.S in ’98) through Clinton’s second term, Bush and of course Obama’s presidency. Once I decided this was home, I picked up history books and read up on JFK, Abraham, George Washington, Carter and Regan.

I don’t think there is enough experience to get one ready for POTUS position. Nonetheless, experience running a state, city or even business is definitely a plus. However, intellect is a very much a requirement for the job. Have a good grasp of domestic and international policies both monetary (I listened to Rep Paul hearing with Ben Bernanke on federal reserve powers and some them could use a class in macroeconomics ) and politics. Granted, presidents are not ruling in vacuum, because congress is still responsible for legislative process, but still a wealth of knowledge is a must.

Before POTUS was elected he had a meeting with different executive at Carnegie melon, and he proved the depth of his knowledge in the business in world. When he had the health debate on CSPAN, even if you don’t agree with him he showed that he knew what he was talking (done his research) about. Last but not least, before deciding to increase # troops in Afghanistan, it was reported that he drafted the proposal, much to the surprise of Gen McChrystal and department of defense. They had never seen something like that before.

If you are going to apply for the job, admiration for the office should be the key. But a lot these guys lining for the job are out of contempt (getting my country back guys)

The office of the president should be respected, but that has not been the case this time around. We have heard all types of things “from he lied” and Sen. Lindsay saying their efforts are to defeat Obama’s policies and the Republicans saying “NO” to most of his appointees.

BB Waite said...

Great post! Chele, what a blessing to have a community of not only readers but writers as well!
I think the Obama Presidency has opened some eyes. There were people only too happy to think that racism was dead in this country and we see how that's turning out. We're getting a chance to see the various (and insidious) ways that enemies react when they are not in power. It's quite a lesson. I think our President has been the epitome of grace under fire.

Natasha Hunter said...

:) @ "Obamaliciousness"

This is a great post as well as comments thus far.

Heavy is the head that wears the crown they say, and I don't envy him one bit. I think it's sad how blatantly people disrespect him even in the Armed Forces where beyond being our President, he is our Commander-in-Chief. During W's term, no matter how idiotic he would appear or crazy some of the things hw would say were, we were DIRECTED not to be derogatory and to always maintain a supportive stance when it comes to public affairs/interviews.

When Obama was elected, I kid you not mofo's didn't come to work, some of those that did had attitudes told a chick that I work with "Well, you got what you wanted." it was kind of scary... at that time I worked with a special forces command that would be deployed to go do security work and I heard one of the guys say that he would not jump in front of a bullet for him! I was flabbergasted.

I think at this particular time, anyone with a POV that differed from the most vocal in this country would of gotten a raw deal and had to play clean-up man/woman. It's unfortunate and I agree, 2012 is going to play out like a bad soap opera in front of the whole world. SMH

Jasmine Girl said...

This picture is worth 5000 words Chele - poor POTUS. He needs a hug.

OneChele said...

< sometimes we let our opinions, biases and prejudices stand in the way of seeing the truth.> <~~New motto for Fox News?

OneChele said...

I went through a ton of pictures and this one with the obvious exhaustion on his face and the "Just Do It" logo on his arm seemed to say all we needed to know.

OneChele said...

Let me applaud this comment. You summed up my thoughts as well. Rack-O is quite simply the smartest guy in the room most days. I wish "everyday" Americans would quit worrying about what Michelle Obama ate for dinner and open their eyes to our global concerns. Don't get me started. Great comment.

OneChele said...

*snickers* He got a lil sumthin' sumthin' going on

OneChele said...

I had to quit watching Fox News or going to websites like that. It was making me physically ill to read that kind of hate speak. Was anyone else giving the SuperBowl for the side-eye for the recitation of freaking Declaration of Independence before the game?! That's Fox for you.
Great comment Roz.

OneChele said...

Same reason I wouldn't 1) Run for office or 2) Be a Politician's wife - I'm not that classy. Someone will catch me on a PMS day and ask the wrong thing in the wrong tone... it's a wrap.

OneChele said...

I'm trying to gear up for the shiggity 2012 will bring. I'm tempted to move back to the homeland (Guyana or Barbados) until Nov. 5th 2012 - wake me when it's over and Barack is still in office.

OneChele said...

Dude visibly aged OVERNIGHT. That first briefing must have been a doozy. He did have a shell-shocked "what did I get myself into" look for a minute.

OneChele said...

I seriously hope that's not true.

OneChele said...

You should write it - send it in.

OneChele said...

Well, your 5th cousin once removed is okay by me ;-)

OneChele said...

Preach on, Sister Waite.

maureen palmer said...

LOL. Can I use this picture? I love it.

OneChele said...

I remember with vivid clarity the day after the election. I was consulting at a large global telecom company. To say folks were tart is a vast understatement. Folks of color just gave each other the smirky "it's a new day" head bob and kept it moving. It was tense.

OneChele said...

I think Michelle has that all taken care of ;-)

OneChele said...

Indeed it's from the White House Flckr account

AndreaPlaid said...

Along with the ability to lead, the research skills, the ability to listen and take counsel, and decision-making skills, another POTUS trait is the skill to remain unflappable. Considering, for example, that POTUS Obama leads a a country still flummoxed by race, he's been pretty steady at the rudder in the face of the disrespect and contempt quite a few people have given him. Even when I disagree with some of his policies, that's the one thing I admire about him...along with that salt-and-pepper Caesar of his. ;-)

I'm with you @Reads4Pleasure: the disrespect for the Oval Office did start with the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal and kept slipping from there. I also think that the President Obama is getting a particular racialized form of disrespect, usually framed as his being a "foreigner" (the whole 'birther' and "secret Muslim" crappola) which is code for his being a man of color in a position that had been, until him, seen as a "whites only" position.

CaliGirlED said...

This was in response to Reads4Pleasure, don't know how it showed up as a new comment.

CaliGirlED said...

How about I've simply had enough of you mofo's disrespecting my husband and it's time for me to show my entire Black ass and set some things straight up in here!!!...And this is why I have removed myself from watching almost anything about Obama, since April of 2009 when they started saying what he hadn't done yet. Three months in, REALLY???

rozb said...

Sometimes you have to be louder than the screeching of the ill-informed. This type of behavior is expected until maybe the fourth or fifth AA gets elected President. Would have been pretty heinous had a woman gotten elected, too. I look at Fox to be able to keep an eye on the mentally unfortunate - kinda like constantly watching my puppy because he just attacks stuff and chews up things without knowing the whys or hows. Maybe I should go to Fox in New York with a rolled-up newspaper...

Wanyanak said...

Nice piece.
I would never ever want to be president and admire those who throw caution to the wind and are able to deal with the scrutiny (very close at that) of the world and become fodder for all the crazies out there who don’t dare. In all the years I have lived in this country I have NEVER seen such disrespect for a president like the one rained on Obama. The snide remarks, the blatant disrespect from some, the constant undermining from many and yet he remains calm, civil and respectful – qualities definitely needed in the POTUS. I respect him even more for the fact that he hasn’t been tempted to beat someone like they stole something! His presidency has awakened a racism that has been dormant. I don’t think that it would even matter if he had come to the office with gobs of experience, the fact that he is ‘brown’ makes it ‘unpalatable’ for Limbaugh et al, and those on the right constantly haranguing him.

rozb said...

Americans who have not been outside our borders (Hell - outside the state of their birth!) can be ignorant of the world and our place in it. There is proof positive that it is true!

rozb said...

In Chris Rock's voice from I'm Gonna Git You Sucka - She just had one rib! And it was a short rib!

rozb said...

I won't run for President because there are still pictures out there from my yuff (yes I said yuff!) and I do not know how to dial back responses to asinine questions and ri-damn-diculous craziness from mouth-breathers. I. Just. Cant.

Mony_Mony said...

I'm a PK (politician's kid), so to a certain extent I had to deal with scrutiny my entire life, though obviously nowhere near this level. It's a 24/7, thankless job where the same people who were thanking you for your help (if you're lucky) last week are screaming about how you haven't done ish for them this week. And don't get me started on the loss of privacy. My response was to move to a completely different country. :/ I would also never run for office or be a politician's wife. In fact, an ex deciding that he wanted to go into politics was one of the major issues that contributed to us breaking up.

rozb said...

If this is true, then Donald Trump and all his hair swoopness is a real shoo-in!

rozb said...

Folks get scared thinking their privileges are no longer unique to their race and gender! White men got hot! And scared!

blackprofessor said...

There is no way on God's green earth that I would want to be POTUS or FLOTUS for any amount of money, status or power! I don't have the unflappable demeanor for all of that extra foolishness because someone would have been punched by now, especially a Congressman.

I agree with other commenters that he is experiencing a "racialized" form of disrespect that is unparalleled. In addition to the growing incivility in our country, I am appalled at how shallow some Americans appear to be with their preference for a dumb Alaskan beauty queen rather than a man of substance like the POTUS. Meanwhile, many of our problems go unaddressed while our global status as a superpower declines, SMH!

DesertBlack said...

CaliGirlED,

Thank you for the kind words, and yes the office holds a level of respect that we should recognize.

DesertBlack

DesertBlack said...

Now ladies ... he is a married man. :)

DesertBlack said...

Rozb,

Can we get that "bullshit flag" designed as a sidearm? I would like to keep mine handy at all times.

DesertBlack

DesertBlack said...

William Martin,

Thanks! And yes you are right "I'd have swung on somebody by now". He has more patience than the Dali Lama.

DesertBlack said...

'a greater understanding for the constitution" This right here!

OneChele said...

Dress in all black with a kinte cloth hat - they love that.

OneChele said...

Just admiring from afar.

Just_A_Thought1218 said...

Citizen's United. It's true. God help us all.

Pure Choco said...

Great post. I think to run for President you have to have a healthy ego, a huge hit of optimism and team of supersmart people around you. I have none of that so I'll just watch from the sidelines.

tiffanyinhouston said...

This is totally off topic, but I do believe my commenting greatness is back! *falls prostate to floor*

Srta. Lurksalot said...

Hmm, is POTUS flippin' the bird on the low?... I see you Chele.

tiffanyinhouston said...

DesertBlack, awesome post. Commenters - ya'll rock the house as usual. It's late in the day and I am tired but all I can say is if you are a person of faith, ANY FAITH, just continue to pray for President Obama. He has an exhausting, often thankless job and I for one, am humbled and awed that he made the decision to step up to the plate.

I could not do it.

OneChele said...

I'm going to assume he's propping his head up ;-)

Jason P said...

He really did. Have you seen the pics of Presidents on their way in and then on their way out of office - it's crazy

rozb said...

I like that!

Srta. Lurksalot said...

If that works for you, I'm with it. lol

Side Note: I unabashedly admit I'm geeked you responded to my first post on your blog.
Also, it would still be good to know about the cruise deposit thing, but I'm just going to
book a cabin and hope for the best.

*re-enters super lurk mode*

CaliGirlED said...

You are a nut! LOL

CaliGirlED said...

Chele I was running a senior citizen center at that time and it was so heart warming to sit and watch and shed tears of joy with those seniors who NEVER EVER thought they would see that day come! It made it even more meaningful to me to share that moment with them.

DesertBlack said...

He had a look like damm the UFO stuff is real ... and there are aliens living among us. Maybe he will let us know who actually shot Kennedy. :)

maureen palmer said...

stealing this picture.

Sol_dier said...

1) Discernment, ability to delegate, team player, discernment to work with others who do not agree with you, trust, first class listener, thick skinned, ability to maintain calm in chaotic moments, present a unified front at all times, and carry out the mandate the people chose (by their votes) whether you personally agree or not

2) Nope, not to sensitive. But here's the thing: If you feeling like a POTUS, go 'head and brush your shoulders off' lol.
They can call him names, they can do whatever. but this man, this black man is the president. their president

3)Admiration and I tend to look at others success as opening the gate for me.

4) Nope. But we can and should demand it. In our actions, in our associations and in who and how we interact with other people.
Fact is, whilst many other people may not like us, they have to deal with us and they know that they underestimate us at their own peril.
I mean isn't that why racism is so prevalent. Fighting on an even keel with black people, usually means they lose. And thats one of the reasons why racism was and is institutionalised, it stacks the deck in favour of none white. But globalisation & Technology are stripping that.

5) Yes. One of the most important presidential preparation jobs should be = Community Organiser :)

Sol_dier said...

we need that from the next black president! lol.
1) An adventurous 'yuff' (so we know you've worked out the kink and are over it)
2) Refusal to suffer fools lol.

Sol_dier said...

You know, I suspect BnB has quite a few Africans on board. (It be interesting to see how many).

rikyrah said...

you are not being so sensitive...this President has been disrespected from DAY ONE.

period.

it's obvious.

rikyrah said...

what are the qualifications according to the Constitution?
1. 35
2. Natural -born citizen
3. Lived in America 14 years before

that's all that's needed.

rikyrah said...

I'd rather a smart, thinking President than anything else. Don't need to have a 'beer' with the President, just know, that when the 3 am phone call comes, the President is smart enough to know who to call.

Stank_0 said...

The Qualifications Clause of the Constitution that Rikyrah touched on is the starting point. Organizational experience b/c you "run" one and are the face of another, US gov't and White House, interchangeably.

After what I learned in poli sci, there really is nothing that can prepare you to be POTUS. You have to be versed in the minutiae of policy at the domestic level and comfortable with foreign developments. That doesn't include whatever flare ups that will inevitably happen (foreign or domestic) during your term.

IMO those best qualified generally don't run (i.e. ret. Gen. Powell)

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