Tuesday, July 15, 2008

On Becoming President Some Day

I’ve been thinking a lot about paths not taken. I used to think I would be president. Seriously. When I worked in the Senate, it seemed like that path might still be open to me some day. When I decided to do a Ph.D., I kind of felt like that door was closing. Then I had two kids and I feel like the door slammed shut. Sure, there are some women who have raised their kids and gone on to have careers in politics. I like to cite Nancy Pelosi, who did just that and is now Speaker (Speaker! That’s amazing actually). But still. Reality intervenes.

Not that being president seems like such a great job anymore anyway. It feels like the apocalypse is upon us, especially here in smoky Northern California, where the sky looks pretty much like Beijing’s (from what I gather) and where the threat of global warming seems palpable by the black haze that hangs over us as the mercury climbs. The stock market is melting down, the polar ice caps are literally melting and glaciers the size of Rhode Island seem to be regularly splintering off and falling into the sea. Floods, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, famine, earthquakes…

As much as I love Barack Obama, I really wouldn’t want the job he’s fighting to get. Imagine your first day in office as you try to decide which horrendous policy disaster to attack first. Global warming? Ending the war in Iraq? Health care reform? Energy independence? The mortgage crisis? Reining in our out-of-control budget deficits? Trying to fix any of these would be really, really difficult. Trying to fix all of them while not significantly raising taxes will be impossible. There just aren’t a lot of good options, or maybe I’m just not seeing them. It’s hard to see anything from here, what with the smoke and all.

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