Presidential politics is my profession, but I have had my fill

By Michael P. Riccards

The nation is severely divided on many topics, but we are united in wishing the election to come soon.

We are weary from the virus, from the inconclusive measures to contain it, from the marches for social justice, from the rank opportunism of politicians.

We are fed up with conspiracies, of media moguls who use our native American paranoia to sell their television spots, of talking heads who know nothing about how the average American lives. 

Our children are scared and so are we.

This is not the America I love, nor the one I want my impressionable grandchildren to live in. Yes, I am an old white coot, one with white advantages, I guess. But as an old academic I am shocked at the hold political correctness has on universities and colleges. They not only overcharge the kids, they undereducate them.

I am startled at how little the young know of our form of government. My son, Patrick Riccards, has done a splendid study of the knowledge levels that Americans have of their government. It is so low I am thinking we should have literacy tests for people to vote. We require more knowledge from immigrants of our form of government than we do of those of us who are native born. We ask people to contact their congressmen and senators, but most do not even know who they are.  

The second and merciful last debate between Trump and Biden featured two intense people who frankly did not share much with us in terms of how to get us our of our dilemmas.

I have just finished, with Ms. Cheryl Flagg, a long book on Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and I was surprised at his ability to explain in intelligent sentences the most complicated of issues. When he had to explain the progress of Axis and Allied forces in Europe, he asked people to go out and buy a map or get one out of the newspapers to follow him along on the radio as he explained the war.  Wow, can you imagine that being done today even with television?

On Thursday, Trump was usually advancing a web of lies. In four years, he still cannot put together a medical plan, but is in court trying to knock out Obamacare in the middle of a pandemic. He is a simple con man and barker out of the circus. 

Joe Biden still will not admit what we all know: that his family has shamelessly used his name to make huge sums of money from foreign governments. He may be personally honest, but his bad seed son and his opportunistic brothers just cannot avoid exploiting the Biden brand.

I have already voted, but I must admit that I miss the quiet drama of lining up and voting. Ever since seeing the film on Ted White’s Making of the President 1960, I have regarded standing in line as a civic duty, and now I quietly dropped off my vote in a quasi-mail box near the miniature golf course in Hamilton, New Jersey. 

The system is not corrupt, but it is clearly in  atrophy.  I have tried to remind my family of the wisdom of Winston Churchill. We are not a people made of sugar candy, but I must admit this is not the greatest generation either.

So for the few of you who like debates, I hope that you have had your fill. I have. And presidential politics is my profession.

Michael P. Riccards, a former college president. is the author of 30 books, including a two-volume history of the presidency, The Ferocious Engine of Democracy, and the recently published Woodrow Wilson as Commander-in-Chief. He is providing the Jandoli Institute with commentary and analysis about the 2020 presidential campaign.



Categories: Jandoli Institute, Michael Riccards, Politics

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