…just the President.
We’ve got to grow up. After 225 years or so of our great constitutional experiment, we still act like little children when it comes to leadership. We still expect the President to be a combination of Solomon, Jesus Christ, Santa Claus and our benevolent father.
This dependency often extends to leadership in the corporate and business world too.
George Washington warned us about this condition. He refused to accept the title of “king,” even in an elected capacity. He also refused another guaranteed term as President because he thought that the young nation was becoming too dependent on him. Shouldn’t we have grown up by now?
The Presidential job description is contained in Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution. Article II contains about 1,000 words; 600 of which are used up in how we hire, pay and if necessary, fire the President. This leaves 400 words that describe the duties and responsibilities of the so-called “Leader of the Free World.”
In summary, the POTUS is supposed to serve as Commander in Chief of our armed forces, appoint a few judges and federal officials, spank Congress if they can’t get along and fill some jobs if Congress is on vacation. That’s supposed to be about it.
The POTUS is not supposed to create a job for you, buy your medical insurance, make sure you have a house, a car and an internet connection or send you to college. Neither is he supposed to control the global economy, bring peace to the entire world or fight wars on drugs, poverty or even other countries without the expressed written permission of the American people through their representatives in Congress.
So why do we still invest so emotionally in whoever holds the office of the President of the United States? Why do so many think that one man- or woman in the likely near-future, can personally control and influence the dynamics of our modern global political and economic universe?
Maybe most people just don’t want to accept personal responsibility for their own fate.
On one hand it is important to participate and be involved in politics. This is how we express our collective will as a community. Our political system is how we continue, for the time being, to preserve at least the appearance of self-governance. At the same time, it’s irresponsible, dangerous and childish to depend on government- or any one person in it to solve your problems and assure your happiness.
When you hand over responsibility for your personal security, comfort and happiness to any other person you also surrender your freedom as an individual.
If you want to be dependent on the government for your basic needs and whims, then you must accept that the government will decide what you need and want. If you expect your company to make you happy and fulfill all your ambitions, then you accept that that the company knows what is best for you.
Your President is not your father and you are not a child. John Locke introduced the radical thought that each person is the sole proprietor of one’s own life. Locke and other incendiary thinkers of the day planted the seeds of free society by stating that each person is the exclusive owner of his or her life.
Are we losing this value? Are we willingly surrendering this idea in favor of guaranteed pensions, mandated job security and the illusion of “free” healthcare, housing, and higher education?
I hope not. That experiment has been tried many times in recent history. It hasn’t worked once.
I used to be a long-haired radical. (I know- hard to believe.) I was a pot-smoking, anti-social punk rocker who blamed everyone, or at least someone else for all my miseries. Hell- at one time I would have been occupying one thing or another if I thought I could score some dope, meet chicks, hang out- and get some free stuff!
I was fully convinced that the only reason I wasn’t getting everything I wanted was that “The Man” was keeping me down. “The Man” was stealing everything, controlling everything and kicking the rest of us down the drain.
One day I woke up and realized that I was “The Man.”
“Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has a right to, but himself.” ~John Locke
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