Yesterday’s Presidential Oath of Office was kind of botched first by the Chief Justice, then by Obama, then the awkward stepping all over each other’s lines. Sadly, the beauty pageant was slightly marred by the bungling of this critical moment. Of course, most news outlets I listened to just glossed over the whole thing (imagine if that were governor from the South with an accent up there… we’d never hear the end of it…)
Didn’t anyone tell these guys that the bible is really there as a place to hide a cheat sheet?!?! For reals…
But I’m not here to rail on the media, the Chief Justice, or even President Obama. Who cares.
I’m here to rail against expectations.
This bungled oath was the perfect way to publicly start this new Presidency – and a new chapter of dirty, dirty work that is executive governance in this country. As capable as he may be, President Obama rediscovered today that his success (and approval rating – looking good) is going to depend on a whole heck of a lot of other people. It doesn’t matter how brilliant or prepared you think he is – someone else is inevitably going to screw something up in his administration. Majorly.
I worked for several years in live theatre. One of my chief tasks as a stage manager (was not pulling the curtains or moving scenery) was maintaining the integrity of the show as it is scripted and directed. But crazy things happen in live performance. People get injured. People forget pages of dialogue and skip all over the place. People wearing massive fiberglass wind sails on their backs (shaped like dinner plates) fall down and can’t get up, and best of all – horses might just fall into the audience or poop onstage at any moment.
Worse than live theatre performance is a stage managing live events. These happen with little to no rehearsal and a plethora of things always go wrong (as we saw yesterday). As much as we try, we can’t truly script a live performance and rarely is there ever a performance report which simply says “perfect show” under every category.
So here we go… Folks. President Obama’s administration is going to make mistakes. As prepared (or unprepared) as you might think he is to lead, he will have blind spots and make judgment errors. He will make decisions that a different 50% of the country aren’t going to like — all the time. The people around him will mess up – big time.
That being said, I am an optimistic supporter of our new President – easy to say now because he hasn’t done anything yet to peeve me.
I hope he can deliver some of the change to Washington politics he has promised, and hope that he can deliver some of the results he has been widely expected to deliver.
Hmm… there’s that word again… “hope.” I think we could all use a bit more of it.