Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

The powerlessness of the US Presidency

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.

About the Author
The author is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (DES - Diethylstilbestrol), born in 1953 to two Holocaust survivors in The Netherlands, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a vegan for 8 years now. His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second generation Dutch Holocaust survivors. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. How ironic that he who had three times 90 for Dutch at his finals is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew. G-d definitely has a sense of humor. His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach and LBCHLCH, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo and Rav Zev Leff. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. His fields of attention are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine, Science, Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism), Oppression and Liberation (of young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, GLBTQI, foreigners, and anyone else who's dehumanized and exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation) and Veganism. Many of his posts will relate to current affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or to new insights that suddenly befell him. He always tries to bring a fresh perspective and to avoid boring you or wasting your time with the obvious, though original minds by necessity will be attacked by their contemporaries. In case you wonder - yes he's a bit dyslectic. He has moved - with his library. To sort this out will easily take half a year. Therefore, for the time being, no more 6 blog posts every week. But he expects to be back full force after Pesach 2019. Meanwhile, he feels that many of the hundreds of posts he wrote are worth (re)reading so that he's not really abandoning his readers. To send a personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click on Contact Me.
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