I Like the Way He Runs the Country

Long ago I asked a friend what he liked about the then President.  He replied, “I like the way he runs the country.”

At the time, I didn’t understand what was fundamentally wrong with his statement.  Now I do.  Many today make the same mistake my friend made.

The President does not run the country.   He barely runs the government.  He commands the military, approves or disapproves of legislation from Congress, makes lower level appointments and nominates people for higher level appointments such as Supreme Court Justice, with Senate approval and makes treaties, again with Senate approval.

The oath of the President is: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

The fundamental mistake I encounter in conversation after conversation is this implicit idea that the President runs the country much like how a CEO runs a company.  That idea underlies such statements as: “Let’s give him a chance.  The other guy wasn’t getting things done.”  “There is no right or wrong, let’s just see if this works.”

The goal of the Office is to defend the Constitution of the United States, not to ensure that every pot has a chicken.

The goal of the Constitution of the United States is to protect citizens from the illegitimate exercise of power from others and from the government itself.

There is a right and wrong.  We shouldn’t be wondering if “this guy” will get things done.  It should be really, really clear.

The President is either preserving, protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States with the powers vested in the Executive Branch or he is not.

We should be able to trace each of his official actions, platforms, positions back to the powers enumerated to the by the Constitution or we cannot.

It’s that simple.  It’s that clear.

We can choose to learn from the billions of other humans who have lived (and still live) under kings, dictators, despots and other forms of centralized authority or we can choose not to.

That's Messed Up!

Ever catch yourself thinking, “that’s messed up!” Do you ever ask why?

When something is messed up there’s a good chance that something wrong with a feedback mechanism somewhere.  I’m looking for a simpler way to say that.  I haven’t found it yet.

What does that mean?  Consider the example of spoiled teenagers. They live in a bubble of entitlement and self-importance.  Why?  Because they haven’t received good feedback from their parents.  Their parents haven’t held them accountable for their actions.  Teachers haven’t held them accountable.   Ever since they were young authority figures haven’t provided appropriate consequences for their actions.

To see a clear example of this, watch SuperNanny or Nanny 911.  At the beginning of every show the kids are out of control.  SuperNanny then provides much needed feedback to the parents: THE PARENTS ARE THE PROBLEM.  The parents are the problem because they aren’t consistently holding their kids accountable for actions.  That is, giving negative consequences for misbehavior and positive consequences for good behavior. 

So, the next time you see something that you think is messed up, give some thought to what feedback mechanism is broke.  You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can get to the heart of problem using this approach.