After First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech last night at the Democratic National Convention (which was amazing and made me love her even more), a number of people in my Facebook newsfeed started asking when she was going to run for President.
Again, hear me clearly. I love this woman and have so much respect for her and the way she has conducted herself during what I can only imagine has been a difficult 7 years in the White House.
But I do not want her as my candidate for President. She’s eloquent. I agree with her political leanings. She has integrity. She does carpool karaoke better than most.
She does not have experience that would currently qualify her for the highest office in the land.
It was a critique of her husband when he took office 8 years ago, the he didn’t have experience. And I think if you look at his time in office, perhaps it is a fair critique. He was facing a congress bent on stopping him at every turn. And it took him a little too long (in my humble opinion) to realize that. It took him too long to realize he wasn’t dealing with people who had any intention of working with him to compromise and make policy to benefit the American people.
I also think we need to attend to the way “experience” plays out in our political decisions. There are plenty of people who have experience, but who don’t seem to be learning from it. They seem to be using it to block any sort of legislation or change.
Someone shared this on Facebook today. Seems pertinent to the notion of misusing “experience” for partisan goals and not for the welfare of the people.
There is a tendency in American politics to value “outsiders” over “Washington insiders” lately. Trump used this sentiment to ride his way to the GOP nomination. I have many reasons I would never vote for Trump. Reasons that include his misogyny, his racism, his xenophobia, his anti-semitism, his anti-muslim sentiment, his inability to hear criticism, his demeaning comments to people who are differently abled. But perhaps the biggest reason (as if those weren’t enough) is he has zero experience to qualify him for the job. He’s never worked with congress. He’s never figured out how to “find” votes to get policy changes approved. He’s never worked with world leaders to broker peace.
Our country is in a moment of time that requires strong leadership with good experience. We need someone to break the gridlock in congress so that meaningful legislation can be passed. We need jobs. We need to bring back jobs and create living wages so that people who are working full time can afford to support their families without government assistance. We need to continue to improve access to healthcare in this country (I mean real improvement and not just voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act at least 62 times).
If we want more ‘outsiders’ to lead us, I would suggest the way to make that happen is for us all to get more involved in politics and for outsiders to become insiders, with experience.
There is a saying, “Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions“.
I know Bernie Sanders supporters are disappointed he is not the nominee for the Democrats. I want them to stay fired up and engaged in the process even though the majority of voters did not choose their candidate.
People who want to stay fired up and change the system need to do so from within. Voting. Participating in the process. Knocking on doors and getting out the vote for local, state, and national candidates. Making bad decisions. Learning from them. Making better decisions. Getting the experience we need.
I confess that too often I have complained about the mess of things the generation ahead of me has left for us to clean up. I now realize it is up to us to join the process, more than we have so far, and get the experience we need to clean it up.
We need more than good speeches and outsiders. We need to be discerning about how people use the experience they have. We need to become the experience we need.