Often, it seems, Americans are worried about power, especially in corporate settings. Whether it is the Pharmaceutical company who raised the price of EpiPens, those evil Oil and Gas companies who suck the life blood out of the earth, or those horrible capitalists who are moving jobs to Mexico.
This fear of power is quite rational, in line with the mantra “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” However, it is power in any setting, corporate, government, nonprofit, and so forth that should give rise to concern. Power is power is power, and power in the hands of any person can make for a pretty horrible situation.
So where is power most concentrated? Do corporations hold the vast majority of it in our nation? I think the answer is a resounding no. First and foremost, corporations have to compete for power, the government does not. Secondly, take Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon Mobil who accepted the position of Secretary of State under Donald Trump. Exxon Mobil is the largest Oil and Gas company and one of the largest corporations in the world, yet the CEO decided to step down in order to take a secondary position in the federal government (albeit a very prominent position). It becomes clear then that people are not joking when they name the current president of the U.S as the most powerful man in the world.
If we are really afraid of power should we not be concerned that the presidency enjoys too much of it, no matter who sits in the oval office?
When Obama was elected, many Republicans expressed grave concerned, when Trump was elected many Democrats proclaimed that the eschaton was upon us. The presidency changes every 4 or 8 years, should we not then, show concern about the power of the position, regardless of who holds it?
Throughout the history of our nation, humans have done what humans do, they’ve sought more and more power, and our government – unlike corporations – has experienced much less resistance when in such pursuit. Thus, the presidency, how it is used nowadays, holds the vast amount of power and influence on our nation and (dare I say) others. Congressional oversight would be one explorable avenue to remedy this problem (though Obama made sure to point out its weaknesses). Another would be if we as voters chose a Calvin Coolidge type as opposed to one with a messianic personality (FDR, Kennedy, Nixon, and on and on and on). Quite humorous, it is, that the most democratic parts of our republic are hated the most, namely the House and the Senate (“Congress doesn’t get anything done”), yet when “our” guy is elected President he can do no wrong.
The average voter, while it is not in their nature, would do well to consider the power of the presidency. Do the candidates at hand see the importance of each branch of government? Do they value federalism? Are the rights of states important to them? Or is it simply, their way or the highway? How rare it would be to have a candidate that did not crave the dominance of the throne.