Is there any aspect of this race for President that really demonstrates we’re about to see a big change in our country? If President Obama is reelected or Mitt Romney gains the hot seat, do you expect major policy changes? And what is behind our obsession with that man we call President? Ironically, we do not tend to elect the President we believe in, truly, because the race has become a battle over territory. The primaries elect the candidate most likely to “defeat” the sitting President. We do not attempt to elect the candidate most likely to be consistent in office and offer a lucid and clear perspective on how to deal with the responsibility of serving us, his employer.
Ron Paul is consistent, although I do not agree with him beyond some basic principles, I feel that I can better predict and therefore work with someone like him. In 2004, the Democrats elected John Kerry because he appeared electable against Bush. In 2008, the Republicans elected John McCain because he appeared electable against Obama. But neither of these candidates truly reflected the urgency of our times nor the root values of their party. The same thing is happening today with Romney; he is becoming the candidate largely because he is believed to be the most electable against Obama. For the most part, he is not valued as the best representative of the Republican Party. And, his narrative is equally lofty as President Obama’s and therefore equally difficult to track and achieve in the coming four years.
Let us consider a few points here. Firstly, our government is comprised of three branches, the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial. Our President is only one person among this vast system of compromise and narrative between these three branches. I am willing to assert that most people of this nation take for granted this ingenious system and focus entirely on the individual who sits at the top of the executive branch.
When General George Washington was nominated, some wanted to call him King George Washington. Instead, “President” became the term. And after two terms, he was virtually unchallenged but stepped down because he sensed a kingdom happening. Ironically, we won a war against King George of England. Today, we hope that every four years, someone new has the vision for our lives that will give us the best possible circumstances for a good life. If we really like them, we give them eight years. And in this election of 2012, you can listen to the candidates’ supporters and discover this dependent disposition remains us. We need our King.
Secondly, our concept of the most appropriate President has evolved from the President with the most valor and integrity to the President with the most charisma and influence. If you look at who has been elected in recent years, specifically starting with Ronald (6) Wilson (6) Reagan (6), there developed a trend away from military officers to businessmen and career politicians or lawyers, or in the case of Reagan, actors. Aside from George Bush senior, we have not elected a man of military experience since Jimmy Carter. If we elect Mitt Romney, this will be the first time we elect a famous CEO to be President. We elected a second-rate businessman and career politician, George (6) Walker (6) Bush Jr. (6), resulting in the worst circumstances this nation has seen since… maybe the civil war?
Consider the interests of businessmen versus military officers. Military officers think in terms of life, death, and people. Businessmen think in terms of numbers and products. Although I believe in peace, love, and creativity, I would much rather hire a President with military background than a CEO. Because when you risk your life for freedom, you value it more. Even Bush senior pulled off the shortest war in history. I believe he did that out of consideration for people and knowledge of war. But a businessman will consider the overall financial benefit of dominating some region for financial prowess. And a politician will do the same for political prowess. A lawyer will do this so long as the laws allow it, and if the laws don’t, then they will rewrite them.
Thirdly, we believe too much in the office of President to handle our affairs for us. If we elect a true conservative like Ron Paul who wants to give freedom back to the States, then we end up allowing “the private sector” or super massive corporate powers to determine our lives, not because Ron Paul wants that, but because we want that. Eric Fromm wrote a great book in the sixties called The Sane Society, and prior to that, Escape From Freedom. He explains from his background in psychology how we continuously languish in the opportunity to govern ourselves. Essentially, we hand over our own powers to that of corporate and political bodies. This tendency is proving itself again with Obama versus Romney, or as I call it, The Race to Obamney.
I am not so jaded to suppose that these are basically the same wolf in sheep’s clothing or that we’re flipping a two-headed coin. But if you look at their similarities, you will discover that they both tend to work bi-partisan and matter-of-factually, they must work with other branches. If Romney is elected, we will probably see a Democratic Congress within two years. If Obama is elected, we will probably see a Republican Congress (currently we have a split Democrat Senate and Republican House) and the result will be a lot of compromise between the branches and similar policies regardless of who is President. Congress influences the President more than we give credit for, typically.
I was truly taken aback when Obama, on New Year’s Eve, signed in to law a military based policy of detainment without trial. Our founding fathers considered Treason to be the worst act you could commit against your own nation. And yet, they knew how easy it was for a nation to accuse individuals and dissidents of treason when they simply wanted to control the people. Obama is not protecting us from unreasonable seizure and searches. When you hear Republicans talk about protecting freedom and stepping the boot of government off the throat of the people, they are always referring to business, not people. The trend on both sides of the political spectrum has been to strip away personal freedom while providing greater freedom to business. And yet, it doesn’t help individual small business.
When we quarrel in the no man’s land of Republican versus Democrat, this party versus that party, and talk about political elections as though it’s a war and someone must be “defeated’, all we are doing is falling in to the trap of duality. When we take sides and look away from the facts and we listen to campaign rhetoric, we lose grip on what is truly happening in our wonderfully designed system of government. After 225 years, this system remains innovative and functional. But when the people have no understanding for it, then it fails. During this election of 2012, I look to the people to get a hold of their own lives and begin making a difference there. Then we may look at our President, our congressmen, our governors, our judges, and our mayors. But when so many of us look only to the President, we simply fail ourselves.
Vote for whomever you believe in. If you want the voice you believe in to be heard stop voting for the one who will defeat the other and simply support the sort of discussion that leads to real progress and change.