With President’s Day right around the corner, I’ve been thinking a lot about the presidency itself.

I’m not too happy about the office right now; or I should say, I’m not pleased with the process we follow for getting there.

I guess I shouldn’t say “we,” as no one in my sphere of acquaintances is ever going to aspire to or attain that high office.

That’s because you have to be not only rich to pursue the presidency, you have to be filthy rich — and not above bashing those who don’t hold your viewpoint.

Never in my life have I seen candidates more contentious, nasty, mean and downright snobby.

You probably know what I’m talking about, having seen those long television debates, talk shows, campaign appearances and news reports flooding the airwaves with presidential hopefuls pontificating about why they are best suited for the job and why their opponents aren’t.

This is all good — don’t get me wrong. We need to understand who these people are, what they stand for, what they believe and who their buddies are.

But they’re probably not the best role models for kids learning about civil debate.

And look at the money they’ve got. They aren’t just rich — they’re wealthy beyond imagination, spending more money in one day on their campaigns than most of us will ever see in our lifetimes.

I can think of a lot better uses for that kind of money, like prescription drugs for elderly folks who can’t afford them and food for people who are hungry, not to mention help for veterans who are wounded both physically and emotionally. Just imagine what we could do with that cash, right here in central Maine.

Are we to believe the candidates really want to look out for our best interests — those of us who are low on the totem pole?

The presidential wannabees are so unlike us common people to whom they come begging for votes that we have to wonder what it is that drives them in the first place.

What motivates people to want to become president?

Is it that they truly want to help us have better lives and think they can orchestrate a plan to get us there?

Or could it be that they’ve spent years amassing wealth and, once they’ve reached the pinnacle of their financial wherewithal, there’s nothing left to acquire but power?

Forgive me for being sarcastic, but one has to wonder about these things as we watch the candidates espousing their greatness and pointing out their opponents’ ineptitudes.

When you’re vying for the top spot I guess you can always tell a good story. But once you get there, how do we know you’ll do what you promised?

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate a person’s ability to earn a good living if he works hard and honorably.

But can’t we do something to take wealth out of the equation when it comes to a race for the White House?

I’ve been trying to think of some senators and congressmen in Washington who are poor and can really understand where we, the voters, are coming from.

And you know what? Not a single one comes to mind.

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 24 years. Her column appears here Saturdays. She may be reached at [email protected]


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