Assessing our priorities and saving the presidency

Since societies prioritize their privileged classes, those classes get to make the rules. The rules they make reinforce their privileges and so the cycle goes. The core problem with this, of course, is that this value isn’t real. Human worth is decided differently by different groups at different times and it is largely environmental if not completely arbitrary. People on their own are all pretty much the same. We are all roughly the same size and shape, have roughly the same level of intelligence and live roughly the same amount of time.

As society advances, or makes life easier for its citizens, human worth changes—but we ourselves do not. A big, strong, fast man at one time may have had incredible value for his ability to track and hunt and carry food. But here and now DoorDash relegates them to the WWE.

If a society does not frequently reassess what it values, it will freeze in time. And if that society also relies on an adversarial relationship between its citizens while keeping an increasingly obsolete privileged class, it will collapse. If one group is entitled to more wealth and rights for reasons society can no longer justify, the other groups will at the very least, lose whatever faith they had in their institutions.

The presidency is one of these institutions.

The first Black man to become president was required to be the best-looking, most charismatic and smartest person in whatever room he occupied. He is our hopeful standard for the presidency. But none of those things are required of our current president. Being the actual truth of the presidency, he possesses the opposite.

And now we know that office can be held by someone so coddled by privileges as to be unspeakably undeveloped. In a society that valued humanity, a man like our current president could never have come to be. Just the thought of neglecting a person so severely that he would present himself in any of the ways that he does, would send shudders of shame through a society prioritizing any real value for human life. But as we value obsolete ideas of privilege above all else, instead he leads us.

While deep-seated disgust and hatred for the current president is more than enough to propel some people to the polls at breakneck speed, a different motivation is needed by others. Many have lost faith entirely, doubting the worth of an office that can be held by an avatar of our loftiest goals and most hopeful aspirations only to be passed on to the degenerate embodiment of national shame and cultural failure.

It is the job of the democrats to reinvigorate national faith in the office and the Democratic National Convention was their most recent attempt to do that. This attempt saw more republican speakers than Latinx, welcoming women-hating, extremist homophobe John Kasich but not former Obama Cabinet member and presidential candidate Julián Castro. Colin Powell, whose deliberate lies led to an unknowable amount of Muslim deaths, gave a speech focusing on values and morality. Ilhan Omar, despite the spotlights of a recent book release and even more recent primary victory, was absent. As were Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressely. The only member of The Squad to speak was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her time was notably short and her speech was largely mischaracterized.

Of course, we can’t expect any single politician to agree entirely with anyone. At the same time and more importantly, politicians cannot expect to be supported by people who do not feel represented by them. For the current president that representation is easy. He just has to be hateful. But for the democrats, that is not enough. They can’t simply hate him back. They need to reinvigorate faith in their party and in the office of the president itself. If they’re going to pull that off, they’re going to have to do a lot better than the presentations at the Democratic National Convention.

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