I am always fascinated by the polls on the job-approval of the president of the United States. It moves up and down depending on the latest crisis and what the president might have been able to do about it.
What I find intriguing about the polls about this president is how many people who were excited about his being elected have been disappointed in his performance. The energy was high in 2008. It was less in 2012, but still there were people who believed that he could do something that would help improve the lives of people.
Now, I know that he made lots of promises when he was running for office. That is the nature of American political elections—promises. Politicians get elected on the basis of the future that they describe and the promises they make to bring about that kind of future.
But, the fact is, leading isn’t so much about making promises as it is achieving something. Someone once said that politics is the “art of the possible.” The ability to govern is related to accomplishing that which can be accomplished. It is not about fulfilling all the promises that are made in order to get elected.
And the ability to achieve the possible is determined in large measure by many factors that are not in the control of the one who makes promises to motivate our voting for them. The diversity of opinions that make up a free political process forces leaders to propose, listen, adjust, compromise and achieve what they can. The shrinking globe we live on creates political realities in other countries that limit the ability of our leaders to make a difference. Wise use of political power on issues where they can have an impact is important for leaders
So, I stay fascinated with the polls, but would wish people were a little more gracious toward those who are working to practice the “art of the possible.”