Home > Communication, Network, Politics, Society > Visions and Positions: Executive Power in 2012

Visions and Positions: Executive Power in 2012


Regardless of one’s opinion of the Affordable Care Act otherwise known as “Obamacare,” 2012 has been the year of “Presidential Vision.” Policy in the United States is less about democratic consensus and more about democratic response: the power figure sets policy while the others react, the President works to establish his sense of an ideal society and the rest react and reverse. Politics in America function on the basis of reaction: planning is a private matter and occurs as a means of response to the actions of another.

We still exist in a democracy, but the format by which we work to consensus is very inefficient. Instead of a dialogue in which we plan where we want to go, we move back and forth as actions and reactions work to find consensus. This seems like progress: things are done but static rules the day. When reality is never really set, when policy is always in limbo there is no way to understand where things really are.

Presidential Power is critical to this state. Sense of “Presidential Legacy” evaluations of Presidents as individual actors creates a system where Presidents utilize power. Democracy suffers when individuals assert their opinions. While the system of democracy works towards consensus, powerful figures possess and are allowed to use this granted power, but true leadership is about hearing all involved. A system that creates celebrities out of Presidents creates a system of inefficient democracy as Presidents disregard the sense of others in order to create policy to establish legacy.

In 2012 we witness Barack Obama’s work to establish legacy. Secret activities and phililosophical based legislation is less about what’s best for all and more about crafting the identity of Barack Obama as President. No matter what one feels about the ACA, we exist in a time when the individual President acts in ways that are separate from the rest of society.

In order to remedy our system of inefficient democracy, or, at the very least improve it, we should move away from viewing the President in terms of celebrity. The President is a single actor in our democratic system. Yes, it is to follow and entertaining to focus on one figure, but our government is far more complex. We need to recognize our system’s complexity, work towards a more cohesive system and encourage those who both highlight and work to improve these dynamics. The United States of America uses a complicated machine for its system of government. While more entertaining to view just the headlights, a better system sees the machine more broadly and works to improve all parts and pieces. In the end we’ll only have a better car and more efficient vehicle for the road ahead.

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