With all the drama about what President Such-and-Such accomplished or ruined, we’d almost forget how powerless these leaders are. Really.
When a general suggested to President Lyndon B. Johnson to nuclearly bomb North Vietnam back to the Stone Age and that it can be done, the President said: Yes, and then our citizens will breach the White House fence and kill the President. In other words, they can’t just do as they please although they project an image of all-mightiness.
At his first election campaign, President Obama promised Marriage Equality. It took eight long years to get there. And Trump’s newest addition to the Supreme Court threatens to overturn it. This is made possible by only 50% of the population being sold on the idea.
When it seemed that President Trump — having the launch codes for sending off nuclear missiles — on his own account could start nuclear war any second he wants, reality came around that there is a procedure that takes time and that, when push comes to shove, and a wicked president would try so on a whim, the military will disobey anyway (rather die heroes than evil, although in the latter option, there may not be history books to record it). Being heroes is what the military trains for.
When President Trump messes up relationships with friendly nations, they will ride out the storm and restart when he’s gone. When he chums up with dictators and villains, the next President will get the world back to logic. When he wipes out workers’ and environmental protection, his successor will restore those. When he stole trillions of the common folks to give to the billionaires, leaving the country with an unprecedented debt, it will be corrected. When he glorifies or tried to normalize rape, racism and almost any oppression under the sun, it will be undone by his fall from grace and the next President. These are all silly trivial hiccups.
Besides the above is there the power of other official or unofficial players in the national Balance of Power, the Courts, the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Military, the Universities, the Media and Protesters, that can utterly obstruct most of what a president can do legally.
So much for the US president being the mightiest person on earth. Even (really) rich people know that there is only so much they can do and how hard, with all their wealth, it is to find meaning, contentment, friendship and happiness.
There is some stuff that is hard to undo. Children losing their parents when trying to immigrate, immigrants being deported or not allowed entry, patients not being able to receive the healthcare they deserve.
That’s true. Damage and injustice can be done. Money and time can be wasted. Progress can be interrupted. People can be robbed of their naivety too. And that all can be taken for power. But in truth, the only real power lies in joining the forces of progress or goodness and implementing the People’s wish for a better world. Protection and justice can be promoted. Money and time can be saved. Progress can be fortified. Hope and innocence can be strengthened. Such actions are forever.