A Post-Inauguration Thought

January 26, 2009

I worry about America’s lack of a monarch. There’s a deep-seated human need to worship that, in presidential republics like ours, where the head of state is also the head of government, finds its target in POTUS. How many times in the past eight years have you heard something to the effect of “I disdain the man but still respect the office” or “he’s our President, damn it, right or wrong”?

This is absurd, and dangerous. Last summer, Bush set the all-time record disapproval rating with 71%. Yes, you heard right: no President has ever managed even a 3/4 disapproval rating.  

 

Presidents understand the psychological advantage they have; that’s why they’ve been acting increasingly like monarchs. They know they’ll get away with it. Of course we do have an impeachment process, but its never used, and even if warranted it feels unpatriotic and seditious, like regicide

What I wish we had is a British-style figurehead monarchy, something curtailed and small enough, to borrow the Reaganites’ phrase, to drown in a bathtub. 

Think of worship as a biological function, like defecation: it is unavoidable, so we might as well do it in as elegant, safe, and convenient a manner as possible.

A monarch of this sort serves as a lightning-rod for national worship, allowing the populace to view their elected leaders through an entirely unsentimental lens.

How well did you do the job we grudgingly let you carry out in our name today? Not well? You’re out.

And of course, since their royal relatives won’t ever be up for reelection, the kids are much more interesting.

Frankly: Obama is too popular. There’s too much blind faith and enthusiasm surrounding him. I say this as an intensely passionate Obamamaniac: I can feel it in myself, the resistance to unemotional assessment, given that he’s our President-Sent-By-God-And-The-Ghosts-of-MLK & Lincoln-In-This-The-Hour-Of-Our-Travails.

Luckily, I think we have good reason to expect that he will, in fact, execute the office of President surpassingly well.

But what if he doesn’t? Will the worshipers be able to call him on it? Will I?

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