Ennui is an incredible word. It means boredom, tedium, listlessness, lethargy, malaise, and dissatisfaction. For such a small word, it is filled with meaning. Peggy Noonan used that word to describe the 2012 Presidential election. She states, “We’re not seeing passionate proclamations from supporters of one candidate or the other that their guy is the answer.” She is placing our current crop of politicians in a juxtaposition with FDR and Reagan when she makes this comment. I think she is correct in her assessment of why Democrats and Republicans are experiencing ennui.
The reason she gives for this dilemma is what she calls a lack of political genius. She argues that America needs someone who’s leadership capabilities transcend partisan politics. My assessment begins with the fact that our country is deeply divided between reactionaries and progressives. However, we can never go backwards. America cannot go back to the 50’s, so as much as some of our population cries out for Norman Rockwell expressions of US homogeneity, it just isn’t going to happen. The, so called, progressive elements of this country that want to undermine the theological and spiritual foundations of this country are just as mistaken. As much as they would like to reconstruct history with the removal of faith from our development, its not going to happen.
Neither one of our current Presidential candidates have the ability to transcend this divide. Therefore, we are bored and disassociated from the process.
Everyone knows we have to quit spending. the Republicans blame the Democrats. However, our spending is encouraged by all politicians. They are the owners of the system, therefore it doesn’t matter who is in the White House, they all spend beyond their means. Thus we the people have developed an ennui disorder.
Improvement means that whoever is in the White House will have to work with Congress to get things done. This will take a political genius to be able to negotiate. This person will also need to be able to get the American people to agree with him when he needs to go over the Congress’s head to get something done.
Noonan describes President Obama’s inability to go over the heads of Congress. “When he goes over the heads of Congress to the people, its like he threw a dead fish over the transom – it lands with a ‘thwap’ and makes a mess, and people run away.” I have to agree with her on that one. And I have to point back to Clinton who did have a unique ability, at least in his second term to accomplish both political activities, getting people to work together and get u to listen to him.
On the Republican side, Romney is just as bad. Noonan points out “As for Romney, it is commonplace in punditry to implore him to speak clearly of where he’ll go and how and why we should follow,” yet he has not given us much detail on how he intends to accomplish what needs to be done.
So here we are. An election that is filling us with a sense of ennui. Where are the leaders? Are we destined to be shackled Pelosi, Reid, McConnell, and Boehner forever? Or will there be new leaders that can pull us out of this morass? Lord help us!
And that is my thought for the day!