Someday I’m going to run for President. Seriously, maybe.
When I do, I won’t say anything bad about any of my opponents or potential opponents. Ever. Even if one of them taught young girls to huff paint thinner in an after-school program funded by the jaded remnants of the Sandinistas, I would let the generally smart American People figure out that this person is terrible. Usually, it’s obvious.
Pointing out shortcomings in other people is a shortcoming. My mom taught me that when I was very young. She may only be one cog in the Mom 99%, but I remember that lesson.
I think this is especially true if you point out shortcomings in very expensive TV ads using other people’s money. Actually, my mom had a more colorful term for potential Presidents who did that, but since I might run for President someday, I can’t use that word here on the Internet.
I just made you, the American People, a promise: I won’t run on a platform of libel and slander.
My second promise: I won’t make any promises.
Every would-be President makes promises. I won’t raise taxes. I will raise taxes, but only on slimy rich people (and all rich people are slimy). I’ll fix education. I’ll abolish Judge Judy.
I will offer balance and flexibility in my thinking on important issues and policy matters. Flip-flop should not be a dirty word; it should be an ideal. It will be the key character trait of the world’s best President ever, me.
When I flip-flop, it means I listened carefully, I learned something, and I took action on what I learned. The American People will learn that the people saying flip-floppers are bad are themselves awful people who are exhibiting the shortcoming of pointing out other people’s shortcomings. I don’t even have to waste my powerful brain telling anyone! Such elegance!
Importantly, I will only talk about and act on things that are actually important. That’s more of an overarching goal than a promise. There’s a difference.
My other three promises (consider them things I’ll try really hard to do, not promises, given Promise #2) to you, the American People, in no particular order:
Promise #3: I will not wear pleated khakis in public under the pretense that I’ll look like the average American Joe and therefore be instantly accessible and lovable. I realize I would just look like a stilted moron with colored hair who thinks it’s OK to wear pleated khakis in public, or anywhere. (I’m sorry. I just broke my first two promises. If I ever break a promise or do something stupid, I will just admit it and move on to doing something productive to fix it.)
Promise #4: That parenthetical thing in Promise #3 is Promise #4.
Promise #5: I will track my promises and let others objectively measure my progress against them, as if I was actually in charge of a large organization, like a government.
We’re human. For whatever reason, the way that God or the dinosaurs or Jerry Springer programmed us, we like to say things about other people. We all sometimes mistakenly think that saying bad things about other people will make us look better.
The trick is to be aware of that and to try to avoid such behavior. There’s no value in it, in Presidential elections, in book clubs, or in professional babyshowering. Or anywhere.
I understand the hypocrisy in me saying this in a piece that is a metaphorical bad thing said about Presidential candidates. That’s the trick, you see.
But I’m just a guy who writes on the Internet, so it doesn’t matter.
I’m not running for President, yet.