The Chimp pursed his pouty lips and announced that he’d “decided” – and you Republicans (you conservatives) didn’t object. Many of you actually cheered. So, please – don’t complain when Obama “decides.” As I expect him to in the weeks and months ahead. When Congress declines to “act” to “protect our children” from evil pieces of metal, composite and wood – Obama will do exactly as his predecessor did. He will “decide” that “we cannot wait” for Congress to act.
And so he will.
An executive order – the Americanized form of a Fuhrerbefehl – will simply decree that henceforth certain types of firearms shall be unlawful for anyone not a costumed goon to possess. Perhaps all types of firearms. And with the stroke of his pen, that will be that. No sieg heiling, perhaps – but the thing’s the same: An absolute autocrat asserting his personal will.
That is what the presidency of the United at Gunpoint States has become – a sort of occasionally revolving autocracy – led by a person we might properly call The Decider. So, kudos to the Chimp. He let slip the truth, just that once.
The Decider himself changes every so often – but the power of the decidership remains. And today, it has become all-but-omnipotent. Limited, not by societal expectations (quite the opposite) much less by any document or set of codified restrictions; certainly not by that “god-damned piece of paper,” as the first openly avowed Decider put it – but only by the extent of the brazenness of whomever happens to be The Decider at any given moment.
The tendency has festered since the very beginning days of the republic (e.g., Washington’s stomping of the Whiskey Tax Rebels; Adams’ Alien & Sedition acts) and been festering like a canker that will not scab over since at least since the time of Andrew Jackson. The tendency was made explicit policy under the decidership of Abe Lincoln – but for awhile thereafter, it quiesced somewhat. Then came Woodrow Wilson, FDR, LBJ – and most recently, The Chimp – who asserted his decidership so audaciously it literally shocked the country into a state of helpless stupefaction. One half (that’s you Republicans) marveled – and approved. Because the self-described Decider decided in ways that comported with their own sensibilities. The other (that’s you Democrats) got upset, but only because it wasn’t their Decider doing the deciding – and because his decisions weren’t ones you approved of.
You certainly don’t object.
Not to the idea of the thing.
The implicit (and ever-more explicit) notion of the Revolving Decider as the Hegelian embodiment of the “world spirit” – morally entitled to “act” – unilaterally, insolently – by dint of his will. Which (in Hegelian philosophy) is merely the concentrated will of the “world spirit.” Another way of saying democracy – channeled through a single man. The man who wields power. And it is the fact of wielding power that defines the man as the bearer of the weltgeist.
He becomes The Decider.
And thus, the law.
Lincoln – Napoleon. Mussolini – FDR.
The Chimp – Obama.
All of a piece.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way, of course. The presidency, as written into the Constitution, was intended to be a merely administrative office. At least, ostensibly. The real power – the power to pass legislation – was the particular fief of Congress. And Congress – itself restricted to a few narrow things – was intended to be accountable to the people, both directly (in the case of representatives) and indirectly (in the case of Senators, who were originally elected by state lawmakers who were themselves elected by the people). The president possessed little in the way of formal authority to do anything except take care that the laws – passed by Congress – were faithfully executed. He could not write laws himself. Much less just “decide” that we’ll all do this – or that .
It was by no means a perfect system. It often ran at odds with natural law – which is the only law that counts, ethically speaking. But it was – for a time – mostly effective at hamstringing Decidership.
Today, all-too-many people expect – demand – the opposite. They want an activist president – one who appoints czars (telling word, that) and who promises to give them change they can believe in. They believe in almost religious notions about the power of The Decider to – deus ex machina – “create jobs” and “fix the economy.” He merely has to decide – and it will be so. Thus have people become routinized to the idea of a decidership – and so that’s what we’ve got now. And it’s why we’re going to get “control” of evil pieces of metal, composite and wood. Because the new Decider has decided.
And that’s just how it’s going to be.
Throw it in the Woods?