Sunday, January 25, 2009

Family as Liability

So I'm watching Air Force One. The terrorists are using the President's family as leverage to get him to concede to their demands. Which starts me thinking that the President's family is a weak point, an additional way to get through the defenses. And as much as I love looking at the close family relationship the President has with his loved ones, I cannot help but wonder if it would be better for the nation if the President was single.

James Buchanon has been the only bachelor President. Grover Cleveland and Woodrow Wilson were single when elected, but got married during their term of office. John Tyler started his term with one wife, who died, and then married another during his term. Thomas Jefferson and Martin Van Buren were widowed for years before becoming President. Andrew Jackson's wife died just before his inauguration.

I know that we look at single adult men in a different way than married adult men. We wonder what is lacking in them that they have not been able to find and maintain a relationship and establish a family. We look at "successful" married men as somehow better, more representative of Everyman. They are considered more stable, respectable and traditional.

But are families an asset or a liability when we are talking about the highest office in the United States? I can't imagine it would be easy to maintain a good relationship with your family while also putting in the overwhelming amount of time and energy needed to be a good President. Families are a distraction, and a place of vulnerability. (oh, it's true, you know it)

I'm not saying I think that Presidents necessarily should be and remain unmarried while in office. But it's something to think about. Talk to me people, what do you think? mk


Anonymous said...

Hey stranger.....

I think an umarried President would be constantly harassed by the media.....remember "The American President" with Michael Douglas?

Considering the stress involved with the job, it would be better if the President had a significant other....if only to keep him/her focused.

Glad to see you blogging more.....I missed the late night readings..!


The Beast Mom said...

Single would be simpler as far as security detail overall - less people to protect.

But for personal life and sanity, I agree w/ the first commenter that the President is better off w/ at least a S.O.

BTW, I personally do not see people as inferior somehow b/c they are single. I don't wonder what's wrong with them. I don't think married people are more stable either. I mean look at me...

;) bm