Thursday, January 29, 2009

Think with all my heart---wait, I mean, mind.

I ran across someone's blog post about 44 (as in Obama, 44th president), that ended with the following question:
"Why don't we more often elect leaders that we are actually excited about?"

Below is my response:
You posed a question at the end of your blog that I wanted to address, and I'll do so by sharing a story that I learned this summer.

In the 1970's Nicaragua was the most developed country in all of Central America, even more so than their neighbor Costa Rica (who as you obviously already know is now the wealthiest country in the region). However, a new political party, the Sandonistas, came along. The Sandonista leader, Daniel Ortega, promised the poor, uneducated people that he would lift them out of their poverty and create a new, changed, better economy for all the citizens of the country. He certainly created a new and changed economy for the people as he took land from private owners and gave it to his cronies or to various of the poor people and used countless other ineffective "economy building" methods. In a matter of a few years, he turned the clock back on that economy to what it had been 50 years prior, or more according to some people. The country is now the LEAST developed country in the region. He definitely fulfilled his promises of a new, changed country...but better? Hardly.

Fast forward to 2007. The Sandonistas have been out of power for several years. Daniel Ortega has been laying low as various other leaders have worked to repair the damage he had caused the economy. He decides to run for President again. He campaigns to the poverty stricken, uneducated population (please note this portion is now larger than it was the first time he came to power because of his economic "policies"). He promises that he will create a new, changed, better economy that will lift them out of poverty and put them on track to prosperity. The VAST majority of the educated people voted against him, obviously. But because the poverty-stricken portion of the population is larger and bought into his "promises", he was re-elected. The country is, once again, spiraling downward.

And that is why we do not elect our leaders based on how they make us "feel" or whether they are "popular" or whether they have charisma. That is why a vote for President of a country is not a matter of how I feel in my heart, but how it feels in my brain according to the logic and rational processes. Elected leaders have a much, much graver charge than to keep people "happy"---they are charged with providing their constituents with safety, security, and opportunity.

Just one final thought: When I was little I was a picky eater and had a mean sweet tooth. I wanted my mom to serve dessert for supper every night, and I did NOT want to eat all that protein and veggies! Imagine what would have happened to my health had she given me what I wanted so she could be "the cool mom" and make me "feel good". Food for thought.


Jennifer said...

Instead of filling out an application, you can just point the law school to your blog:) Well said, little sis!

Candice said...

Amen to that!

Stephanie said...

I love it! You are right on :) And, here we are, forced to like what has been put on our plate because he's not going away for at least four years. Let's hope he can keep us healthy.