A serious problem with America is that media personalities scarf up the public’s attention to the exclusion of other people who are more worthy of their attention. Our national presidents and other political officials in the pre-TV era were derived from major heroes of national accomplishment.
George Washington was chosen because of his obvious leadership abilities demonstrated in the Revolutionary War. Andrew Jackson showed similar characteristics when he defeated the British at New Orleans in the war of 1812. Zachary Taylor won the Mexican American War. Ulysses S. Grant was the general most responsible for winning the American Civil War. Theodore Roosevelt gets honors for leading Americans in their famous conquest of Cuba, in the Spanish-American War. Franklin D. Roosevelt was Secretary of the Navy during the First World War. Dwight D. Eisenhower commanded the Allied armies in Europe during the Second World War. The wars since then have not been popular wars because the public did not perceive a personal risk. I am not praising the presidents above for their militarism, but for their proven ability to lead people successfully during very difficult times.
Almost all of our presidents have had distinguished military service, but that was thought of as a proof of their patriotism. The presidents of the last fifty years have had a diminished level of highest ranking military service, partly because many of these men served during WW II when they were still young. But there has been a trend away from vital service to the nation and a trend toward special service to the sub-groups of the American people. This has culminated in the election of Barack Obama, who had no military service whatsoever, and no monetary job either. His only qualification was his Law Degree from the Harvard Law School, some political organizing social work and his being the right face at the right time with the media-driven message the public wanted to hear. The public had been blitzed with idealist media for decades proclaiming sub-group rights over individual rights or national rights. Obama’s Nobel Peace prize is a travesty and was given to him for absolutely no reason other than the Nobel selection committee’s wish to influence him. His ability to say the words that people wanted to hear and the desire that he would lead the world to peace has won him the role of President and the prize. It was politics as usual. His prize, if any, should have been for literature. If he hadn’t been elected President he would not have received the Nobel Peace prize.
The world is now being led by illusion and hope created by the mass media pundits with no national high level defense of America or the World and not by proven ability to lead the country during times of crisis. Obama is a man who believes in the rule of law, which is fine when operating as a legal citizen within a secure and unified political system, but the world is not living within a unified legal system. On the international level there is no effective law to appeal to except cunning and force. This is demonstrated by the current political difficulty in getting rid of murderous tyrants, such as Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi. If there was easy access to legal justice on the international level, these men would have had very short careers instead of extremely long and illustrious ones. After genocidal politicians are out of power they are occasionally brought to trial, but that threat makes the worst ones cling to their power even more tightly and viciously.
American media is currently leading the way to a rule by personality. Its public and leaders are image-driven and theory-driven by optimistic words and not fact-driven by unpleasant real-world experience and abilities learned from that experience. The image-driven strategy may work well enough when there are no serious problems, and I contend there are none at the moment, but when real problems arise these leaders and their public will be ill prepared to cope effectively with them.
The proven ability to respond to real world feedback is the safest path to the future.