Abe Lincoln Wouldn’t Stand a Chance
Could Abraham Lincoln have become President if he ran today?
Not a chance.
With all the buzz over the movie “Lincoln” these days, aficionados of the 16th President are having a field day with all the excitement over Honest Abe. The Oscar-contending film profiles the struggles Lincoln had to overcome in his efforts to abolish slavery and save the Union, all while fighting his own demons and detractors. By any measure, Lincoln is one of the greatest Presidents this country has ever had.
And yet, if Abe was running for office in the 21st Century, he would never have achieved his party’s nomination let alone ascended to the Presidency. In the 24-hour news cycle of modern media, and its proclivity toward sound bites and movie star good-looks and charisma, Lincoln would have never made it out of the blocks.
Point of fact: media critic Jeff Greenfield skewers our Fox News era of partisan journalism with a hilarious take on what an evening newscast might look like during a Lincoln administration: http://news.yahoo.com/why-abe-lincoln-was-lucky-27424562-165922294.html
The most recent Presidential election illustrated where the modern political campaign has come. Two of the most articulate, well-groomed and dare I say handsome fellows on the American political landscape battled it out for the top job. And through effective use of old and new media, and a devastating release of hidden camera footage (Romney’s infamous “47%” diatribe), Barack Obama took back the White House.
How far do you think Abe Lincoln would have gotten with a voracious media horde covering his every move? It’s mighty hard to get elected these days without becoming tailor-made for the media machine.
But is that what the electorate really wants, let alone needs?
We’re coming up on a very important election in 2014: the battle for the County Executive in Montgomery County. It’s one of the most powerful positions in the entire state, perhaps second only to the governorship itself. A few candidates are beginning to position themselves for a run at the job. Over the next two years, voters in Montgomery County are going to be inundated with media of every kind as to what person and direction they should vote for in 2014.
It’s a huge decision.
My hope is that the electorate has a deep understanding of the issues involved, the candidates running and where they stand, and can make an informed decision. The use of media shouldn’t be a smoke-screen to obfuscate the issues, but illuminate them. Media Literacy is a fundamental part of citizenship, and a requirement for making wise choices in a democracy. I hope that each voter uses MCM and other local resources to be fully informed as they prepare for the next election.
Good luck Abe… wherever you are.