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The American Presidency: Has The Institution Lost Sight Of What It Really Means To Be The Executive?

03/10/2016 12:39
ASSOCIATED PRESS

I love and write about everything beauty, but today's piece stems quite far from that subject area. I'm going to talk politics specifically American politics. Magnify it further and I want to talk about the American Presidency and where I believe the institution itself has lost sight of what it means to be an Executive, nay a Leader of what it endeavours to be and that is the Leader of the Free World.

Although I was born and bred in London, I've always had a strong and keen interest in American literature, history and politics, heck I went on to study it at university. I even studied in New York for year; I love it that much. I guess this passion harks back to the time I lived in Dallas; Dallas being the capital of Texas and the place of a tragedy of such great magnitude, that conspiracy theorists today still argue about 'who did it?' Fast-forward to my final year of university where I decided to write my dissertation about the power of the president and what the president stands for. The primary source that helped substantiate this essay was The Federalist Papers.

The Federalists, many of who played a pivotal role in the War of Independence and the building of the then new United States of America, favoured, as you can probably tell, a Federal government. They put together an examination piece to argue why it was constructive and in most cases essential to create a new nation that will have a Federal government lead it. The Government would consist of a legislative branch, a judicial branch and an executive branch. Given the period and the fact that the original thirteen colonies had just fought off a supposed tyrannical executive, King George III, taking on a new executive was not the most preferred approach. Despite the negativity toward what would become the President, Alexander Hamilton who was the biggest promoter of a Federal government argued that it was imperative to have one leader. The one leader would require energy: '...energy in the Executive is a leading character in the definition of good government.' According to Hamilton '...it is essential to the protection of the community against foreign attacks; it is not less essential to the steady administration of the laws; to the protection of property...in the ordinary course of justice; to the security of liberty against the enterprises and assaults of ambition, of faction, and of anarchy...' Ultimately the president would be the protector and sole guardian of the American people without the influence of the often, inflammatory nature of politics. He or she would represent unity, strength and honour to lead the American people into greatness. Wisdom and power would go hand-in-hand in this one individual. The most popular of past presidents: Washington, Lincoln, FDR and JFK all showed these characteristics. Granted circumstance of war and the Depression elevated their presidency but it was their foresight and their strength of character along with their 'energy' that propelled them.

I talk about this because recently the whole world has been thrust into the political madness and excitement that is the American Presidential race. Two candidates who couldn't be more different are now battling it out to see who will be victorious in November. I listened and watched the first debate and was nothing short of lost and confused. Yes it was inspiring to finally see a woman running for President and hold her own against a man who, in many respects, is brutish and egotistical. Nevertheless I found it difficult to see what each of them stood for. It was merely a fighting match between the two and who could shout the loudest. It seemed as if Hillary Clinton was there to admonish the American people against Donald Trump and fulfil her Presidential dream that really existed back in 2008. It seemed Trump was there to carry on his crusade to 'save America' but no one really knows from what. Neither really possessed the energy, magnetism and gravitas that the Federalists fought for or favoured, and that we saw decades and even centuries ago. There was nothing to exhibit strength of character or respect and there was no inspiring aura or even divine-like presence that Thomas Carlyle outlined in his 'Great Man' theory of what a great leader should be. It truly does seem as if the institution has lost sight of its original intentions and that it has become more political and less savoury. The Presidency should not just be about policy, but policy change. It should not just be about carrying on prior or personal agendas, but it should be about pioneering and gearing up the next generation. The aim should be positive, innovative and inspiring.

Creator and Proprietor of http://www.to-love-beauty.com

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