A Power Differential

An unfortunate series of events have landed us in hot water as of late.  We have a socialist president, an even more socialist Congress, and an American electorate that appears, on the surface, complacent.  It seems the public has capitulated on the idea of an informed and engaged American politic.  We are acting as if a duly elected group of representatives sent to Washington by us can do whatever they believe is their mandate. 

However, the problem with this notion is we don’t elect people with private beliefs to office.  Instead, we elect people to offices they hold at our leisure.  It is the notion that Barney Frank or Nancy Pelosi or John McCain or Barack Obama are ‘running’ things that disturbs me.  They are not.  Barack Obama wasn’t elected to run the country.  Barack Obama was elected to the presidency.  An agency of the people.  We need to remind them of this.

The presidency is an agent of the entire country.  Our notion of government is such that we don’t give people power, we give an office power.  People abuse power.  An office, as such, cannot.  People who are in that office are supposed to fulfill the duties of that office, not personal agendas.  The American people are allowing Obama, through tacit personal support, to act as though he were a power unto himself.  He is not and we need to remind him of that fact.

Barack Obama and I are equals, as viewed through our process.  When he takes off the hat of the presidency, we are equal players in the political process.  He doesn’t have ‘extra’ power or ‘more’ rights.  He is just an American citizen.  He’s the same as each and every one of us.  When he ACTS as president, he is supposed to be acting on our behalf, not on the behalf of the left, or the Democratic party, or those who have elected him.  While it would appear this difference is strange, it is important.  As our agent, he is beholden to act in our combined interest.  He is refusing to do so.

When Obama argues the point, ‘we won’, he is not speaking as the president.  He is speaking as a little child who just won a T-ball game and therefore gets to make T-ball a completely different game.  Because he ‘won’ he has the office of the presidency.  That is no contest that confers power to do whatever he wants.  It is a contest that confers an office filled with responsibilities.  He is not meeting those responsibilities.  He is exercising power as a right and not a privilege.  That is what we must remind him about.  But most people in the country don’t seem to get that.  They seem to believe his argument that ‘we won’ therefore we get to make the rules.  But that flies in the face of our philosophy.

Our country was founded on the principle that no PERSON has the right to take power from other people.  Rather, we agree in an election that a person can take an office and work for our benefit.  An election is a way for us to make our opinion known.  It is not a transfer of actual power.  Our power still resides with us.  It does not ‘go’ to the elected.  We endow an office with these rights and responsibilities to act as our agent.  When the agent is out of line, it is our responsibility to rebuff the agent.  Let’s look at an example.

The difference can be seen most easily with the idea of the country as a company.  As the stockholders, we confer power to a board of directors and a CEO.  In our country, we believe each person has one share of stock.  No one has fifty or a hundred shares, each only has one.  If we vote a CEO in office, we don’t ‘give’ the CEO our shares of stock.  We still have the share.  The CEO only has one share as well.  We all have equal stake in the company. 

The CEO cannot thumb his nose at the shareholders and say, ‘I won’ denying the shareholders their power.  He must work in the best interest of the whole company.  That means he must work for the best interests of each and every division of that company regardless of how he feels about those divisions.  His feelings don’t matter.  As a person assuming the mantle of CEO, he has promised to do the work of the company for the shareholders.  Even those he hates.  They still have a stake in the company. 

The problem with the Democratic party is they are trying to isolate and blame individual shareholders for problems with the company.  They hold the offices yet they are blaming the owners.  Additionally, they are pretending they have the power to change the game.  They want to alter the rules.  They are, in effect, saying the won an election and so now have power over the shareholders.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  They won office, not shares.  As such, they do not have the right to change the stakes. 

Card check, nationalized health care, cap and trade, limits on compensation, borrowing half the GDP, and mandating public service are not just ‘programs’, they are game changing rules.  Taking away a secret ballot choice for workers, controlling health and life choices, rationing energy, arbitrarily capping earning potential, bankrupting the economy, and involuntary servitude are not ‘programs’.  They are game altering rule changes that require a shareholders meeting and not a meeting of the board.  We must see this for what it is; a power grab. 

Regardless of the results of these programs, the president, Congress, and the leaders of certain offices must engage the American public fully before attempting to change the game.  We need to educate the public on the importance of their stake.  We cannot just ‘wait and see’ once the game has been altered.  If they steal our stake in the country, it is impossible to get it back.  As John Locke in his Second Treatise of Government argued, “The power that every individual gave the society, when he entered into it, can never revert to the individuals again, as long as society lasts, but will always remain in the community . . .”  Locke believed individuals could wrest power back from the community with timely elections.  However, it is questionable whether it is possible to win the game should the rules all be changed.