Last week a woman from a suburb of Detroit went on a date that took a turn for the worse – and the peculiar. When it came time to pay the bill at the restaurant, her date informed her he had left his wallet in her car and asked for the keys to retrieve it. He then stole her car and left his date stranded at Buffalo Wild Wings to foot the unpaid bill.
We cannot only question why she gave someone she barely knew her car keys, but also question her expectations. Far too often what we hope for falls short of what we get. In relationships, academia and daily routines we find ourselves shortchanged by a big-time deposit and a minor return.
Expectations can also take shape politically. Last Tuesday, our president gave a speech to millions of school-age children. While the speech had the potential to invoke inspiration in America’s youth, it was the week leading before that had many left with bated breath. Conservatives feared Obama would send a politically-charged agenda to the young, impressionable minds of our nation and liberals worried they would have to defend the president from remarks irrelevant to the content of his speech.
Theordore Roosevelt was the first to use the term “bully pulpit” for an elected official – an authority figure with the ability to speak out and influence any ideas and issues.
Politicians today must not abuse that right. It is their responsibility to balance their politics with their philanthropy? What was our expectation as a nation for Obama’s school speech? Did we question his motives too harshly? Viewing the circumstances retrospectively, I say we did. Whether Obama is your favorite or least favorite president, his eagerness to raise schoolchildren’s aspirations parallels the words of many past presidents. Our 40th president, Ronald Reagan, even invited students to send letters to the White House. While we must hold the role of president to a very high standard, we must not seek political agendas around every corner.
When the woman from suburban Detroit had her car stolen on a first date, her prospective outcome was not nearly in the same ballpark as reality – but how could she have possibly known a crook sat at the other end of the table?
By slowing down and taking a deep breath, we can understand it is vital to set reasonable expectations. But please, never give your keys to strangers.
Judith Schomp is a freshman political science from Lindale.