When did you stop wanting to be president? It’s a question not many of us can answer, but a decision we all made at some point. If you grew up in America, at some point it was flaunted before you that any and every person could aspire to the esteemed presidential role. Indeed, the most idealized, patriotic image of the presidency is that it can be fulfilled, and ought to be fulfilled, by a citizen like any other who cares for their country. But at what point, and for what reason, did the vast majority of us not just give up on this aspiration, but also give up on the image which inspired it? A simple answer would be that it seems unattainable. A more cynical answer, and one that persists, would be that the image of the presidency has become degraded in the eyes of many Americans.
For quite some time now, the office of president has been simultaneously the most insulted and the most revered position in America. This idea precedes Trump, but it is especially evident under his administration. Every aspect of the president’s life is under tight scrutiny from media outlets. His marital status, his clothing choice, his personal disposition and blunders are stretched to the limits of their relevance to American politics. And now with the recent blunders in the stock market, there has undoubtedly been liberal schadenfreude seeing the much-disliked president sweat. But is this acceptable? One of the most common defenses of Trump, by his supporters, is that liberals just simply will not give him a chance. I’m sure you’ve heard this: “Why do you want him to fail? Don’t you always want the president to succeed and be good at his job?” The logic here is simple: actively wishing that the president fails is unpatriotic because if they fail at their job, the American people suffer. Thus, we may disagree with the president, but we should never wish he fails.
This is wrong. This is hypocritical, no matter who advances it. And if there ever was anyone who honestly adhered to this belief (and there are none), they would be a most unprincipled person. If we were to always wish the current president to be successful, we would be wishing that he successfully implement his agenda. But if we don’t like his policies, don’t agree with his agenda and don’t want to see it implemented, aren’t we in an indirect way hoping for his failure?
If we don’t like what a person stands for, what they seek to achieve, if we don’t agree with them, why shouldn’t we wish for their failure? I know many people will say that’s what the democratic process is for: discourse and debate and equal evaluation. But quite clearly, the current administration has no interest in that. Any attempt at debate is described as falsehood at best and treason at worst. And the president’s opposition to a free press shows clearly that he wants his word to be the final word, and the only one worth one’s salt. The democratic process is failing, and the special interest of an elite is conducting American policy agenda. I hope they fail.
In his recent State of the Union address, the president reinforced his agenda of anti-immigration policy. He called for additional funding and support for ICE and its investigations. In wanting my president to be successful, would I be expected to hope he succeeds in expanding the fascist terror of ICE? This is an organization which has preyed on families, often poor and unprivileged, and has taken the boot and hacksaw to undocumented citizens. The expansion of this organization is part of the president’s plan for success? Giving tax breaks to the ruling class, opening the door for consumer abuse, degrading the democratic process; these are his plans for success? I can earnestly say, in the face of those plans, I hope he fails. And in his failure, I hope we can begin the earnest path to self-ascendence and to fix the mess we have today.