Even as the Botox-huffing Kerry thunders to what looks like a commanding lead in the Democratic primary, the sad thought lingers: perhaps the only thing that qualifies this man to run for President against George W. Bush in my mind is that he might actually win. Not because he is in any positive way superior, or better; simply that he seems to have not expended enough energy (or has exercised his brain a little too much) to be as absolutely hideously unfit for the job as the current President.
That's an awfully weak reason to garner support for that office.
Stories come in 'suddenly discovering' (now that the media is conveniently able to point to a slew of political weaknesses) that Americans abroad are (gasp) embarrassed by their President! (Where were these reporters when the actual war was being orchestrated?)
I am enough of a romantic to still believe that, were I to actually meet Mr. Bush, I would address him as "Mr. President." I would probably rise when he came into the room. Not because of who he is, but because of the office that he holds. No matter what I think of the man and his policies, I cannot in any good conscience claim that I believe the Office of the President of the United States is something to be embarrassed about. It is a source of pride to me, daily, as is my country. I firmly believe that there is no better option to an inhabitant of this planet who wants to achieve, thrive and survive than the United States - however naive that belief may be.
The current holders of office, and the current direction of the country - these are causes for alarm, objection, civil disobedience perhaps, and certainly frenzied campaigning for change. They are trying, I believe, to pervert and corrupt the system that is the source of my pride. Ashcroft and company's efforts make me nearly physically ill - and yet, I refuse to believe the system itself has been corrupted by their actions so far. It is still correctable. The people who make up our nation can still achieve what their intentions have been written to be, in those documents under glass.
I only hope that they will seize the chance to do so, and that they will expend the effort required to correct our course. With hatred, with admiration, with indifference, with animosity - the world looks to this country just because of what and where it is. With that scrutiny and privilege comes what politicians are fond of calling an 'awesome responsibility.' However, that responsibility is not laid upon their shoulders, ultimately; nor is it laid upon the system itself. It is laid on ours, the people who hold their jobs in our hands, and who (at least notionally) hold our nation's policy in our ballots.
Thus goes my romanticism.