I’ve Seen you Somewhere… 2012, The year of elections
It takes some balls to run for president.
Seriously. Presidential candidates must be completely egotistical, narcisstic, fearless and pigheaded to actually run for president (or maybe they’re just plain insane), because I just don’t know how anyone could attempt it otherwise. Being president is a job that I would frankly never, ever want, for too many reasons that it’s ridiculous. Namely, the fact that one would never have privacy ever again (hello, Secret Service, yes I’m in my pajamas!) would be the chief reason, not to mention that some whackjob somewhere would want to harm you. Oh, and the fact that if you mess up, no one is ever going to let you live it down.
And yet, there’s never a lack of candidates in a presidential race. Some candidates even run again, and again, and again, refusing to give up the quest for ultimate power (these are the real ballsy ones: it takes a lot of courage to stand up in the face of popularity once you’ve lost before). It’s nice that they’re not quitters, but honestly: presidential elections are popularity contests, in every literal and figurative sense of the word. Why are geeks, those truly smart people who would know the best decisions to make, never elected president? Because they just don’t have that charisma, nor that attention-seeking gene.
2012 is election year in many countries around the world, France, the USA and Egypt among them, and so far they have been controversial. To be honest, we should expect those running this year to be certifiably insane (or just oblivious) because I can’t imagine wanting to take over any country this year post-2011 (although 2008 in America definitely gives 2012 a run for it’s money: taking over from George W.’s mess? I don’t think so!)
America’s 2012 presidential race has basically been narrowed down to Obama vs. Mitt Romney. The fact that incumbent presidents even run for a second term is mystifying to me (did you really have so much fun during those first four years that you want to do it again?) But, alas, here we have Obama again, ready to prove his mettle, and Romney, who I hope doesn’t win simply because I don’t want such a sexist man running this country. Both candidates are duking it out to manage a country that is in a questionable position in it’s relatively short history: the economy is neither here nor there, we are disrespected as a nation in the world, our race problems are far from over. What chiefly makes this election a controversial one is the candidates themselves: will Mormon Mitt Romney bring America back into a time of sexist, overly-moralistic dark ages? Will Obama bring on the ‘Socialist’ healthcare plan he’d promised? On attend.
The wait, on the otherhand, is over in France, where Francois Hollande has been elected president. Au moment, France’s future is uncertain: will they continue to hold sway over world events, or fade into the background, beseiged by economic austerity as much of Europe is witnessing? The European Union being the unstable organization that it is (economically, anyways), France perches precariously. An even more precarious situation is France’s relationship with it’s immigrant population and secularism, both hot topics when discussing France. How Hollande reaches out to the immigrant population is perhaps even more crucial than how he handles the economy; extending the olive branch to the banlieus is relatively easy, but pacifying a xenophobic French population might be harder. I wouldn’t want Hollande’s job, but we must say the man has some cojones for taking on a role many view him as unprepared to do (hmm, sounds like the Right’s thoughts on Obama in ’08)….
The citizens of these two Western superpowers await to see how those elected in 2012 turn their countries around (or, more like it, restore them to their former glories). But their anxieties are nothing compared to what the citizens of Egypt must be feeling in anticipation of the first presidential elections sans-Mubarak since the 1970s. I can only imagine that a lot of hope will be placed on whoever is elected president that a) s/he makes sure the military backs down and b) democratic change truly comes to Egypt. Given the fate of Egyptian rulers in the past 100 years or so, you couldn’t pay me to accept the presidency in that country (Mubarak ousted, in legal battle, facing possible death sentence;). Whoever wins will have the enormous taks of reconstructing a government and a society, all the while hoping that the citizens won’t take to the streets and strip him/her of power because they disagree with every little thing.
Today Egypt is in it’s second day of voting. If one of the six major candidates doesn’t win by majority, there will be more rounds until [he] does. The candidates run the gamut, from the Islamist Abdel Moniem Aboul Fotouh, who proclaims to be “moderate” when in reality many think he would backtrack if president; to former members of the Mubarak-era government such as Ahmed Shafiq, the former prime minister; to secularist Hamdeen Sabbahy, who out of all the candidates would be the one I would endorse. Egypt needs a secular government that respects both it’s Muslims and it’s Christians. It needs a government that won’t try to impress ‘moralistic’ rules on it’s citizens, unlike an Islamist such as Aboul Fotouh who would probably insist on shariah law or a condensed version of it. And I certainly don’t think a former Mubarak crony is really going to bring the country to new light (or gain the public’s trust), although one never knows.
To Monsieur Hollande and whoever get’s elected in the USA and Egypt, all we can safely say is this: hold onto your hat, because it’s going to be a wild ride!
being american is out of vogue:::