One job I don’t want

Published 7:21 pm Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Throughout my life, there have been many jobs that have been hot, sweaty, hard, inglorious and the like.

Many of these were on the farm as I was growing up. Anyone who worked on a farm before modern equipment and herbicidal chemicals will know what I am talking about.

For instance, there was the time when the crops we planted had no modern chemical sprays to eliminate the onerous weeds that sought to take over. Instead, we had an instrument called a hoe. We walked along the rows and chopped the weeds out with hopeful precision. I wasn’t all that good at hoeing; I would hit too many plants, but I have known some men and women who could truly handle a hoe.

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Then, there were all those jobs that came along with our mainstay crop of tobacco. From the cradle to the grave, so to speak; that is from the transplanting of the small plants to the final harvest and sheeting of the finished product, tobacco was one heckuva crop, taking a major part of our summers. Think hot, sweaty, sticky and smelly.

I say all of that about my many jobs to say that there is one job you could not melt me down and pour me on. That is the job of being the president of the United States (POTUS). Look up “unrealistic expectations” in the dictionary and the picture right next to it will be one of the POTUS.

It doesn’t matter which one you choose, which party affiliation, the job is a classic definition of a “no-win” situation. He or she (when we finally have one) is going to be expected to figure out every problem and put forth the solution immediately. It is one job where there is no on-the-job training. No sir, I would not want the job for even a second.

Last week, I wrote a column intimating that a Hollywood hero (John Wayne) was all we needed to solve the tragic situation out in the Gulf of Mexico. I thought it was sort of humorous and, of course, sarcastic to think just how our he-men or she-women might solve the problem. “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” But that’s Hollywood.

A week later and, with the sobering news of the failure of the latest BP try-to-fix, it is apparent that there is no Lone Ranger with a silver bullet or even the Lloyd Bridges character (Mike Nelson in Sea Hunt) who could perform heroic deeds underwater. How many of you remember Sea Hunt?

In the United States we have allowed our position of president to evolve into the “be all and end all” for every problem. In the beginning, the executive branch of our government, headed by the position of president, was to be just one of three entities that made up the federal government. We have allowed our perception of the presidency to rise to a level that is beyond what our founders intended.

I’m not defending or casting aspersions at any president today. They all spend millions of dollars running for the office so they must want to be president and should expect all sorts of criticism and pressure. I think it was Harry Truman who said, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

He also said, “The buck stops here.”

With that kind of bravado, the person who is president is open season for the unrealistic expectations of the job. Just because unrealistic expectations are a part of the job, though, doesn’t make them right. The current president has all sorts of expectations laid at his doorstep.

Expectation No. 1. Do something about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and devastation that rushes toward the shorelines of the Gulf states. The president did not cause the explosion and seems to have no control over the rate of spillage. The people of the United States, though, have handed off this disaster to him and he acknowledges it. And, guess what? Here comes hurricane season!

Expectation No. 2. Do something about our economy and jobs. The variables range from high unemployment with no relief in sight to the crashing of European and other international economies. The president can’t control other countries’ economies nor can he create private sector jobs that are the key to recovery.

Expectation No. 3. Stop spending so much money. We are broke so that is a very reasonable expectation. Except for the fact that there are so many people with their hands out that if the federal government stopped spending more money than they take in, what would happen to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment benefits, government payrolls, clean-up efforts for oil spills, floods and other natural disasters?

Expectation No. 4. Get out of the two or more wars we are fighting and do it so that the United States doesn’t look like it’s tucking its tail between its legs.

Expectation No. 5. Fix the immigration policy. Stop the invasion from the south and make the 12 million illegal aliens go away. Then, if we need to do the work that they have been doing, make those people who won’t work take all those jobs.

Expectation No. 6. Control health care costs.

See what I mean?

I don’t have the answer to any of these problems, but I’m not the president. For that, I am very thankful.

No sir, I don’t want that job.

I wonder if Barack’s having second thoughts.