I’ve decided to announce my son’s candidacy for the 2040 presidential election. Nathan will be 37 by then (two years above the 35 year-old age requirement) and ready to change America.
Since the United States of America is always looking for change, he will be the right human for the job.
By 2040 we will need a candidate with Nathan’s tenacity, focus and zeal. Even now he carefully is honing his tools of persuasion. In the past year he has been perpetually and aggressively lobbying my wife and me for some sort of “small lizard or snake.” Through careful parental triangulation he has found a crack in our authoritarian parenting wall. The acquisition of an unsuspecting reptile will most certainly be the fruit of his well orchestrated terrarium talks.
Nathan has all the skills necessary to become a great president. Along with his debating prowess, he has the ability to raise the necessary funding for a prolonged campaign. He knows the value of a quarter and has the keen wherewithal to spot unclaimed change from great distances. Rather than pleading for donations, he’ll simply solicit permission to look under the couch cushions of every sofa in America. Unwilling to be influenced by special interests, he will avoid the chesterfields, davenports, and love seats of big oil and tobacco.
Some might believe it is presumptive to announce my son’s candidacy as he enters into his first year of kindergarten. I want to allay your fears that his limited academic record might be a liability. I’m sure Nathan will do well in school, but even if he doesn’t pass the WASL he’ll still most likely be in the majority. He’ll be a man of the people, someone who can relate to the masses. Regardless, mental acuity does not seem to be a prerequisite to lead our democracy. The fact that Nathan is smart will just be an added bonus.
My logic behind announcing Nathan’s candidacy is rooted in a simple extrapolation of current campaigning trends. As many of you have most likely realized, the campaign for president never ends. In fact, in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. In response, humankind immediately created the primary system. The angels responded that the primary system looked and felt a lot like eternal bliss, without the bliss part.
The road to the White House actually is endless. Few people realize John McCain announced his run for presidency about three years after the Dark Ages. When he started this journey, he actually was a very young man. Before you think I’m slamming McCain’s age, his announcement to run was two weeks behind Hilary Clinton’s. No one even knows when Obama’s campaign started; it simply has always existed. Now that our presidents spend far more time trying to get elected than actually leading, it is only natural to start this process as near to conception as humanly possible.
The pursuit of power and greatness has become the main theme of our political process. How we get and maintain power has become the story. What leaders actually believe or value is secondary to electability.
Electability has become an issue of who has the most money, who has the best ads and who has the skills necessary to combat relentless personal attacks. In the campaigning process the political ideas and ideologies of candidates are discussed only in relationship to whether their answers are popular.
The question is not what is right or what is appropriate. Rather, the question has become what is palatable for electoral consumption; each party feeding the people whatever it takes to win the prize. Endlessly campaigning for power, endlessly positioning the issues to win one more vote. Unfortunately, this toxic climate is no respecter of persons or political parties.
Frankly, the whole political process makes about as much sense as announcing a young child’s candidacy. The great and horrible reality of our democracy is that it rests in the hands of the people. You and I both know this. Even so, nothing seems to change.
Who knows, maybe things will be different in 2040. A vote for Nathaneal Bursch is a vote for change.
Doug Bursch is the pastor of Evergreen Foursquare Church. Evergreen meets Sundays at 10 a.m. at the Riverside High School Theater. He can be reached at www.yesevergreen.org or firstname.lastname@example.org.