There’s a scene in the movie American President where another country does something bad to us or toward us…I can’t remember what. But point being, the president makes an order to bomb one of their government buildings. He tells them to do it in the middle of the night, when there are the fewest people present. And after the decision, as he’s sitting there absorbing what just happened, someone tells him that they wish his opposition could have seen him make that decision. Here, I dug up the quote from that point forward:
President Andrew Shepherd: What I did tonight was not about political gain.
Leon Kodak: Yes sir. But it can be, sir. What you did tonight was very presidential.
President Andrew Shepherd: Leon, somewhere in Libya right now, a janitor’s working the night shift at Libyan Intelligence headquarters. He’s going about doing his job… because he has no idea, in about an hour he’s going to die in a massive explosion. He’s just going about his job, because he has no idea that about an hour ago I gave an order to have him killed. You’ve just seen me do the least presidential thing I do.
It’s nowhere near the same level, but I was in a meeting this morning wherein, on behalf of my company, I got chewed out painfully. For a full hour. While it is somewhat in my control what happened, it’s not to the point where I can just magically make it be the way it should be, and certainly, a large share of the blame belongs on the other side, but it’s not part of my job to say so. And I had people, colleagues, listening in while it happened. One of them came up to me after and told me what a great job I did, how good I was at apologizing nicely and non-committally doing so…at making it sound good all the areas we suck without ever bringing up how the sucking really is on both sides. It just pained me to get praised for it, and I couldn’t put my finger on why. After the call ended, I took a sanity walk, got some iced tea, and collected my thoughts. Now, I don’t make decisions that kill people or blow up things (hopefully). I wasn’t even making a decision. But, I was invoking a part of me that I don’t love…the part that is pretty darn good at…well, alot of things that one should never be proud to be good at.
In short, that movie quote echoed: what I just did is the least presidential thing I do.