[The following was first posted in August of 2012.]
I am proud that in America anyone can dream of becoming president, even someone as ill-qualified as Donald Trump or Sarah Palin, but I am embarrassed for our country that anyone might pay the slightest attention to such people.
I try not to believe the Marxist idea that economics is the root of all history, but then I see Romney refusing to criticize Trump’s “birther” nonsense and I’m forced to say Romney’s reluctance can have only one conceivable basis: money. Trump is rich so he gets to blather while Romney smiles.
It seems ignorance is acceptable, perhaps even virtuous, in wealthy people. Shame on us for being so irrational.
The question we need to ask is, Can a person of integrity be elected to high political office in our land? Political advisors, spin doctors, marketers: All alike seem to be enemies of integrity, whether the “product” is a sofa or a can of beer or a presidential candidate. We are still living under the dictum delivered by that famous American sage, Andre Agassi (in an ad for Canon cameras several years ago), when he said, “Image is everything.”
It is no coincidence that at about the same time Agassi was teaching us his set of values that the salary of the head of the United Way was revealed to be astronomical. When he was forced to resign, he apologized not for being a scoundrel but for any difficulties caused United Way by his “lack of sensitivity to perceptions.” It did not seem to occur to him that he had been bad, just that he had looked bad.
Since that time 20 years ago, America has grown accustomed to rewarding leaders handsomely, regardless of their ability, their success or failure, or their moral quality. Not too long ago a fellow became CEO of AT & T, failed so miserably that he was fired after nine months, and was given a nine million dollar severance package.
There can be no moral justification for the immeasurable greed that has become so celebrated in American financial circles. It is just wrong. And it has an acidic effect on the character of the American people.