Olympians and politicians have a lot in common. They are heroes to some, reviled by others. They have their sex and doping scandals. They have their spectacular wins and their crushing defeats. They toil in obscurity for years and make a lot of money when they finally succeed.
But there is one major difference between the two. When an Olympian stands on the podium and sings the national anthem while a gold medal is hung around her neck, she’s done. Sure, she may go for gold in another event or try for a repeat four years down the road. But she doesn’t have to. She can go home and be feted, interviewed and offered product endorsement deals. Whatever she does after that, she has made it into the history books, there to stay forevermore.
By contrast, when a presidential candidate wins the election, he can’t go home and bask in the glory of his medal. He has to run the country for four years.
So I think it’s time for the haters, the conspiracy theorists who insist that the president of the United States isn’t really an American and doesn’t love his country, those who oppose health care reform and who believe that the leader of the free world is allowing immigrants to take over his own nation, the ones with the Impeach Obama bumper stickers on their pickup trucks, to climb down off their high horses and soap boxes and start making a difference.
Yesterday, my young nephew, who is a hard-working manual laborer in the construction industry, pointed out that the older and fatter members of his family couldn’t do his job for an hour. And he’s right; we couldn’t. But we quickly retorted that he wouldn’t last an hour doing the technical and managerial tasks that we old, fat people do all day.
I venture to guess that the naysayers who have no respect for the office of the presidency couldn’t do Barack Obama’s job for a day.
So if you don’t appreciate what our president is doing, if you’re a shrieking Republican or a disappointed Democrat, now is the time to do something about it. Our commander in chief is rapidly coming to the end of his term and will have to be replaced by the people. The conventions and primaries will be here before you know it.
And so I say to you who spew invective on the AM radio talk shows and slap incendiary bumper stickers on your SUVs, go find us someone better. Find a Republican or a Democrat who can not only win the election, but will build upon the accomplishments of his predecessor and exceed them. If you don’t like what’s gone on in Washington for the past eight years, get up off your bohonkus and find someone worthy of the office of the presidency, someone who will set this great nation back on the right path, someone who believes in God and takes His messages to heart, someone who will care about his people enough to serve as a role model, someone who will satisfy you enough to shut up and let the rest of us have some peace for once.
Because on the day that your victorious candidate stands up to give his or her acceptance speech in November of next year, there won’t be any medals hung around his or her neck. Yes, the national anthem will be sung, but at the end of it all, the winner can’t go home and accept product endorsements.
For after the final strains of “Hail to Chief” fade off into history, the president still has to run the country for four years.