In a chat this week with NBC News’ Al Roker, weatherperson and bon vivant, President Joe Biden was asked if he were planning to run for re-election next year. It’s not the first time of late that Mr. Biden has been queried on the subject, but he answered with a bit more of a tease than usual. The report is he said that he “plans” on running again, but added the caveat that he is “not prepared to announce it yet.”

Meanwhile, on the other side of the political spectrum, former President Donald Trump (perhaps you’ll remember him) has already declared that he’d like his job back again. At present, there are a couple of other Republicans who have declared their candidacies (with more to come, no doubt). And you have to think more than a handful of Democrats are exploring the possibilities of a campaign for the White House should Biden decide to call it a career.

In other news, China is playing war games close enough to the Republic of China (i.e., Taiwan) to make that island’s inhabitants more than a little jumpy. Which also gives the United States military pause for concern since there appears to be in place a commitment by We the People to come to the defense of the much smaller China.

In keeping with reports of military involvements around the world, Russia continues to pound away at various and sundry cities in Ukraine with heavy artillery. And there are rumors that Ukraine will soon launch a counter-offensive in the Crimea which Russia currently controls. Much of the firepower that might be used in such an attack may come from the U.S.

Iran, meanwhile, continues to claim it’s not enriching uranium in order to build nuclear explosive devices even as the rest of the world says, “Oh, yes you are!” It doesn’t take a lot of guesses to figure out a target for a big Iranian bomb.

And speaking of Israel, the streets of cities across the country have lately been filled with citizens protesting in response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s push for a broad judicial reform. Adding fuel to the fire, Bibi at first kicked out his defense minister for raising concerns about that reform plan but has since reversed that decision.

Adding even more interest to the region, Iran has also agreed to shake hands and make nice with Saudi Arabia (with the help of new friends from Beijing). There had apparently been a rift of late between the two. Given these recent developments, it’s probably fair to say that the oft-used term to describe the situation in the Middle East – Powder Keg – is apt once again.

Here at home, a whole bunch of highly sensitive classified Pentagon documents were leaked to news sources and social media sites within the last few days. The papers apparently include details about how the U.S. spies on friends as well as enemies. There seem to be whole lot of really worried U.S. officials and close allies of ours who think those revelations could jeopardize some pretty sensitive operations and perhaps even compromise some formerly rock-solid foreign relationships.

And all those issues just mentioned are but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to problems confronting politicos in Washington, D.C. who are sitting in seats of power. Which brings me to a query. Why would anybody, be it Biden or Trump or anyone else, really want to be President of the United States?

Sure, you get prestige, a rent-free house, cool car, great plane, sycophants fawning all over you every hour on the hour, nicely appointed (if oddly shaped) office, and immortality in the history books (not always good immortality, of course, although everybody DOES know your name). But you also constantly wake up with morning headaches that induce migraines by 10:00 AM.

Given the current great political divide in the U.S., you can be pretty much assured that half the country hates you and that quite a few supporters voted for you only because they couldn’t stand your opposition. Often, it’s hard to tell allies from antagonists. I think it was Harry Truman who said, “You want a friend in Washington? Get a dog.”

And yet, this time next year, there will probably be a whole host of presidential wannabes clamoring for our support. I once saw the Office of the President referred to as the Glorious Burden. I’m not so sure about the first part of the name, but the second part seems right on target. Psychiatrically speaking, who in their right mind would knowingly bring that on themselves? Maybe the answer to that question is the reason we get the candidates we do.

©MMXXIII. William J. Lewis, III – Freelance Writer