Thursday, October 18, 2012

Presidential Dignity

The President is to appear tonight with Jon Stewart.  Mitt Romney refused to appear on the View.  One is being criticized, the other not.

This is another of my generational observations.  There was a time when our Presidents were men of dignity and class.  They weren't people we'd have a beer with or would necessarily feel our pain.  They were men of accomplishment and vision and patriotism who cared about our country as a whole and it's place in the world.  They were people we admired.  They weren't like us.  They were far more able.  At least that is the image they projected. And the one we wanted to see.

It has changed.  Now we seem them out campaigning in shirt sleeves and blue jeans.  We see them trying to look comfortable doing unseemly things.  They have surrogates who are more interested in destroying the competition's reputations than promoting their own policies.  Both parties are guilty of this though perhaps at differing times.

I personally don't want to see any candidate being questioned by the intellectual heavy weights on the View nor the snarky, foul mouthed likes of Jon Stewart.  To me it demeans what they are trying to accomplish - being elected to the Presidency of the United States.  I certainly don't go to those sources to gain in depth perspective.

When did all this start?  Perhaps with the hero worship of Kennedy.  He was young, good looking and charming.  Especially next to Nixon. Television was just gaining a foothold and became more and more the instrument of change when it came to personality over substance.

The next big change was when the magnetic Bill Clinton snatched victory from a tired, boring George H.W. Bush.  It really slid downhill from there.  The boxers versus briefs episode put the bullet through the heart of dignity.

It continued to disintegrate with 24/7 coverage when every word and nuance was dissected by a media no longer neutral.  The result is what we have today.  Where a mind can't be changed without being disparaged.  Where accomplishments are derided rather than cheered - because they aren't like "us".

I don't know who will win this election, but you need look no farther than the campaigns to see why the world has such a diminished view of us as a world leader. We have become self-centered and mean spirited.  It's not a pretty picture.

How long has it been since you've heard the lyrics to America the Beautiful?  Take a look, refresh your memory.  Do you recognize it?  Or is what we have today the new normal?  If so, what a pity.


Word Tosser said...

Nixon on Laugh in, saying SOCK IT TO ME.. and Bill playing sax, hasn't been our finst hours either..
I am such a cynic this year.. more so than any other year.. they all lie.. tell them anything to get in.. Makes me want to vote..NONE OF ABOVE again.

cconz said...

You forgot...yelling and pointing a finger at the president on a Tarmac. Yelling "you lie" to the president during a speech. When was it alright to do something like that?
The times they are a changin, but, not for te better.

Margie's Musings said...

I agree the world has gone to hell in a handbasket. Gone are the days when one could leave their door unlocked and not worry about being broken into, raped and murdered.

The Golden years of the 50's are forever gone..for many reasons, not the least is the culture of drugs...the basis for the deterioration of our values. And one half of the babies born nowadays are born out of wedlock. Marriage, to many, is a thing of the past.

This same culture of permissiveness permeates our political scene. The president and Romney both appear to be decent men but television and the media have infiltrated their lives as well as ours.

The world has changed drastically and not for the better. Cicero said it best 2,000 years ago when he said "the younger generation is going to the dogs".

John said...

I am sorely afraid that I must agree with the premise of this post in every respect.

I remember a more dignified time myself and it was also a time when everyone respected one another even if we didn't agree - - -

I miss those days and I am afraid they are gone forever.

John Liming
Blue Heart Chronicles