Thursday, January 22, 2009

America has presidents. Not monarchs.

I will be the first to say, straight up, that I like Barack Obama. He seems like a genuinely thoughtful, good person. I am hopeful for the impact his wonderfully calm, optimistic demeanor will have on the nation.

However. I am less comfortable with the tendency for his supporters to speak of him like a messiah. I think is a good man. But he is just a man. I loved watching his Inauguration (one would have to be made of stone to not be moved by the first-black-president fact), but was uncomfortable when the crowds chanted his name. I was glad to hear that a crowd at a ball that night chanted “U.S.A.!” instead of “O-ba-ma!” I mean, I think Barack Obama WANTS us to chant for our country, not for him as a person. Don’t you think? He seems to get that it’s about the country, not him.

Why don’t more regular people get that? And, by the way, both sides of the political aisle are guilty of this over-emphasis on executive power. Think back to the campaign. There was not a single candidate (from primaries on, both D and R) that I can remember who did not use and over-use the phrase “When I’m president, I will… [fill in the blank].”

Every time I heard that, I thought, Oh, will you? How? You won’t be a dictator, right? You might want to check with the Congress. Oh, hang on, you ARE a member of Congress. You should really know that the president can do precious little on his own, with impunity. Come on.

And did or does the press question this false portrayal of omnipotence? Nope. Wish they would. Because putting too much stock in one person – whether for hope or blame – is un-American.

Submitted by ASO member Jean Card.

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