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Jessica Sieff: A rose for presidents past

Published 12:05am Thursday, January 19, 2012

Politics can be such a fickle thing.

It is — what — the 483rd debate of this campaign? And each time I watch even just the highlights from yet another main event I half expect dramatic music and a rose ceremony to close, like the end of every episode of “The Bachelor.”

“I’m just so grateful that America sees what I’m really all about,” I can imagine Mitt Romney saying, his rose clutched against his chest. “I love her and I’m going to show her that we belong together. Forever.”

As his perfectly coiffed hair shines in the moonlight, the camera cuts to a bitter Michele Bachmann or John Huntsman, as it were, packing their bags and getting ready to leave the special house where all The Bachelor contestants live.

“I just want America to be happy,” they’d say between slow rolling tears. “And I guess I just can’t make it happy.” More tears.

You must admit, that’s what these debates have come to.

There’s no spark. There’s no passion. There’s just Super PAC talk and that unnerving grin on Mitt Romney’s face. It’s like he knows something we don’t. Which makes me nervous.

It is a delicate balance to be an American these days. Where we’ve realized the importance of paying close attention to our local stability — finding our own ways to support our community, our educational organizations and our small businesses — the truth is it all trickles down. And we must now spend as much focus on the top as we do the bottom.

I miss enjoying politics. Man, remember Reagan? He was a politician.

“Tear down this wall!” he said.

Nobody says stuff like that anymore. I mean, there’s no wall but … you get what I mean. I was just 9 years old when the president made that speech. And I can remember it. That says something. It’s a testament to the impact of a politician.

Oh — and remember Clinton? Of course, he left us a lot of other nonsense to remember about his presidency but one thing you can’t argue with — that guy played politics like a Harlem Globetrotter. And let’s face it, Washington is one big court, home to a never-ending game.

When I’m older, I suppose I will remember our current president talking about hope. But I might remember more so, the lack of it in the days that followed.

But I can’t help but wonder, looking at these candidates so eager to take to their podiums, if one of them become president — what will we remember?

We are in the age of reality television and I don’t know much about “The Bachelor” but I’m pretty sure the premise is to have some guy pick some girl to marry him — the likes of which he would never pick in a million years — and then die hard viewers all take bets on when they will eventually break up.

Because nobody ever really believes that they should be together in the first place.

Just to keep everyone following, in this metaphor, we are the bachelor handing out the roses to the ones we really shouldn’t be with in the first place.

Either way, I’ve stopped watching.

After an emotionally charged election in 2008, I hoped for two things: I hoped that our president would live up to the promise. But he didn’t. And I also hoped the Grand Old Party would see the opposing party’s win as a call to action. A chance to redefine an era. A chance to deliver one hell of a candidate.

But they didn’t.

To say I’m concerned about the future of the country would be a bit of an understatement. But of course, with all of you, I’ve watched us all get here and we’ll all sit and watch us get out. I’m sure as is the truest of true statements — history will repeat itself. When we are down, we rise, when we rise we fall, when we fall, we get back up again.

Still, it can be such an awful ride, can’t it?

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