Ever since Ron Paul (predictably) failed to secure the Republican nomination for president, I have found myself uninspired by the current field of candidates. I can't even find a third-party candidate that makes me feel that I can hold my nose and cast my ballot. I think this is because I find myself no longer willing to vote for the most-qualified candidate; instead I find myself asking if any of the candidates is truly qualified to serve in the Constitutional role of chief executive and check on the power of Congress. It seems that we, as a country, have forgotten what the President does. Instead, we treat him as an elected king, much like the Romans would appoint term-limited dictators.
Nowhere does this disconnect become more apparent than in our current presidential election. Both McCain and Obama talk about all of the things they plan to do should they be elected, yet the vast majority of it is well outside of the scope of what the chief executive should be doing. Sadly, those who question their authority and ability to do as they claim are few and far between, often dismissed as kooks.
Even worse is that when there is an egregious abuse of the power given to the executive, we fail to correct it. Instead of recognizing that we must reign in the presidency, they instead insist that the problem will be different with a different elected king. Their elected king. In the process, the new king is emboldened by the lack of oversight to stretch the role even further and usurp even more power. The process keeps on repeating itself, racing on a downward spiral towards eventual tyranny.
The circus that is the Democratic National Convention only underscores this irrational tendency to almost deify our preferred choice in President. The level of rock-star glitz and charisma surrounding Obama terrifyingly distracts from what is, by most accounts, a hard-left core set of policies, many of which are grossly beyond the scope of what the federal government has been intended to do. The supporters do not see a problem with this, yet many of them will gleefully point out how much they disdain policies such as No Child Left Behind and the expansion of MediCare prescription drug coverage, an irony I simply do not comprehend. They falsely believe their king will use that expanded authority wisely, yet get infuriated when an opposing king uses this same granted power to do what they vociferously oppose.
The more I consider this disconnect between our original republic and the current oligarchy, the more disgusted I get. We did this to ourselves, yet we are collectively too stupid to recognize it or believe that we are somehow responsible for it. (No drop believes it is to blame for the flood, right?) We'll shout "throw the bum(s) out" every four years, yet we vote the old bums back with more predictability than the swallows returning to Capistrano. The names may have changed, but the power-hungry motives are still the same.
I have little faith that this concentration of executive power will end anytime soon. We have caved into our desire to be ruled and forgotten why this nation exists in the first place. May future generations have mercy on us for squandering their birthright to good government.