What Matters Most in a President | Beaufort County Now

A look at the necessity of strong rhetorical leadership in a Presidency Presidents, Election 2016, Trump, Obama, Reagan, American Politics
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What Matters Most in a President

    There is no question that America is changing. From the way we approach foreign affairs to the common morals and values that we live by, the fundamental principles that have defined the United States for the past few generations are different now. It is true that there have been several significant transitions like this throughout our History, however, debate still persists on which of these transitions were for better and which were for worse. Unfortunately, I have a gut feeling that this one belongs in the latter category.

    Ever since Barack Obama was elected in 2008, the attitude of the American people has seemed to become less patriotic and more apathetic. Our traditionally strong belief in American exceptionalism seemed to slowly deteriorate as the President made more apologies to foreign leaders and negotiated more deals from positions of weakness. Also, it's hard to feel all that fired up about the American dream when your president says things like, " If you've got a business - you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." While the modern President plays many different roles, and I believe that our current chief executive has failed in most all of them, his rhetorical leadership should go down as his biggest failure.

    When I mention rhetoric, I'm not referring to the political correctness of his speech or the inclusiveness of his message, but instead the way his message impacts the American people. Sure, Obama is a gifted orator, but it goes beyond that. Right now, our nation is brutally divided along racial lines and ideological lines. The riots in Milwaukee and Baltimore prove these things to be true. Further than policy ideas, what makes for a great President is a strong belief in American values and an ability to communicate them to the public. People want to hear that they can achieve things. They want to hear that their country is great and strong, and that their president has their interest on his mind when making all decisions. They certainly don't want a President who views every issue through a racial lens, with statements like. "I don't believe it's possible to transcend race in this country." Of course it's possible to transcend race, but since that's not part of the narrative Obama wants to weave, no matter how depressing, we will never hear it. Because our President places ideological advancement above leadership, his performance in the latter category inevitably suffers.

    The ability to communicate is part of what made Ronald Reagan such a beloved President. Reagan had a certain wisdom, a gift for putting complex ideas into words that everyone could understand. When speaking of free enterprise, Reagan said, "The American dream is that every man must be free to become whatever God intends he should become." This is worlds apart from the words of Obama on the same subject. This statement empowers the individual with belief that he has the liberty to pursue his goals with God as his compass. This is essential to Americanism, from the founding on. Where other presidents liked to kick the can when it came to the Soviet Union, Reagan called them the "Evil Empire." This may not seem like much at first glance, but its cumulative effect was a national morale boost and a Cold War victory.

    Even a president like FDR, who had plenty of flaws, was able to rally a nation plagued by a depression and a world war to cement his place in history as one of the most beloved presidents of all time with an unrivaled talent for public communication. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt struggled up onto the stage and delivered one of the most electrifying short speeches of all time, saying " No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory." Now that's a statement. That is what leadership sounds like.

    To bring this back into a contemporary context, the way rhetorical strength has shaped presidencies in the past teaches us very much about the Trump phenomenon. While Trump possesses nowhere near the skill for oratory that Obama does, his message has tapped into the feelings of exceptionalism that have been deflated over the past eight years. I'm the first to admit that Trump tends to get shallow on policy prescriptions and is perhaps more prone to blurting out nonsense than any presidential candidate in American history, but that is beside the point here. Where Obama and John Kerry like to get up to the podium and try to explain that the reason ISIS is committing acts of terror all over the West is because we are chipping away at their territory, Donald Trump says, " We're going to knock the hell out of ISIS." The President, above every power granted to him in Article Two of the Constitution, is a psychological symbol who has a huge impact on the attitude of a nation. To paraphrase Donald Trump, I think we could use a president obsessed with winning so much that our collective heads will spin.

poll#96
Considering that Hillary Clinton, from the recently concluded email investigation, is charged with gross negligence, dereliction of duty, was recommended that she lose her security clearance, while pathologically lying to congress, the press and the American People; and even though she was not referred for indictment because she is a Clinton: Will you?
11.84%   Vote for Hillary
78.78%   Vote for The Donald
9.39%   Vote for none of the above
245 total vote(s)     Voting has Ended!





Comments

( September 1st, 2016 @ 6:07 pm )
 
( September 1st, 2016 @ 12:48 pm )
 
Well said👏👏👏 #makeamericagreatagai n 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸



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