Being president: someone’s got to do it

‘People should not be allowed to criticize or make fun of the president,” a South Valley woman told me the other day.

We were chatting about Michael Moore’s anti-Bush propaganda film “Fahrenheit 9/11.” On Sunday it won the People’s Choice Award for most favorite movie. Apparently, even though she never saw the film, she didn’t like it.

Astonished by her statement, I asked for her reasoning.

“Well, the president has got a real hard job to do,” she explained. “He needs the support of everyone in the country. And … criticizing him is just not very nice.”

She’s absolutely right. The President of the United States does have a hard job to do. And it’s also not very nice to criticize his decisions or mock him.

Although I can’t say from personal experience, I’m sure it’s not much fun being the leader of history’s most powerful nation.

It sure can’t be a picnic in the park constantly hearing unappreciative folks judging every single word you utter and nagging you for every single decision you make. What a bunch of Whining Willies and Nervous Nellies!

We all know a national leader’s decisions deeply impacts people’s lives and the world’s future.

But come on, folks. Each and everyone of us has gotta get behind the president’s efforts two hundred percent. We need to make America a criticism-free zone.

Just ask the guys who ran the Greek city-state of Athens back around 400 B.C. I really feel sorry for those dudes. See, an old geezer named Socrates – who liked hanging around the Parthenon in his toga and philosophizing with young people–- kept hammering away at those poor Athenian leaders.

Socrates nagged them and questioned them about stuff like justice and their decision to invade Sparta and start the Peloponnesian War that drained Athens’s treasury dry. Gee-whiz. All the leaders wanted was to spread around a bit of the benefits of Athenian democracy.

Shame on Socrates! Shame on him for encouraging young people to question authority. He was just not very nice.

And you can’t really blame Athens’s leaders. They had no choice but to make the tiresome whiner chug-a-lug a goblet of hemlock. Good riddance, you old good-for-nothing Socrates.

I’m sorry to inform you ancient Athens isn’t the only place people have criticized their authority figures.

As shocking as it might sound, America also has had its share of sharp-tongued ingrates presuming to question their governing powers. So sad. Some folks simply don’t appreciate the efforts the controlling authorities make on their behalf.

American trouble-makers include John Adams, Samuel Adams, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, and – the biggest Nervous Nellie of the bunch – a Virginian named Thomas Jefferson. What a big baby, that Thomas Jefferson. What a whiner!

Back in the summer of 1776, Jefferson jotted down this really rather nasty document sharply rebuking and demeaning the British government.

Apparently nothing King George III did could please Mr. Jefferson. The Virginian disparaged one thing after another – stuff about taxes and tyranny and torture and placing people in prison without trial.

The poor British monarch must have felt devastated by Jefferson’s never-ending barrage of grievances.

Shame on that meanie Mr. Jefferson. What he wrote in the Declaration of Independence was just not very nice.

How much more pleasant for everyone if we just stop bothering our leaders – let them get on with their business without our interference.

Consider a country like Germany in the 1930s and 1940s. Now people there understood the importance of treating their national leaders nice.

My mom grew up in Berlin during this period. She saw first-hand all the amazing advantages for society when folks learn to shut their mouths and never question the friendly folks in power.

You’ve seen those historic photographs of the Nuremberg rally, right? Imagine the same for us. Consider how proud you’ll feel, witnessing the perfect order of thousands of identically-uniformed U.S. soldiers standing at rapt attention as our beloved national leader addresses them.

Ah, if only we American citizens never ever criticized our president. No disrespectful contradicting opinions allowed, no sir-ee Bob. No meanies like Michael Moore. Just one big happy family.

And if some trouble-maker does question the president, such Nervous Nellies – as Hitler’s Germany well knew – can easily be disposed of. How very, very nice that such options are available.

Based on my conversation earlier this week, I’ve concluded the best thing for America is for us citizens to act a whole lot nicer to our national leaders. Everyone gains when we never criticized them or dare doubt their decisions.

So in order to achieve this national mandatory public complacency, I’m proposing we make an itty-bitty, teeny-weenie little change to the U.S. Constitution.

Part of the first amendment in the Bill of Rights – that part about “freedom of speech” – has simply got to go. Historically speaking, it’s been the bothersome root of our national whining all these years.

And while we’re doing some constitutional house-cleaning, let’s junk that silly nonsense about “freedom of the press,” and “the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

We can’t risk hurting the president’s feelings by letting the media or some other mischievous group say something not very nice about him.

Shoot! While we’re on a roll, why not chuck the whole entire Constitution? After all, it’s sooooo behind-the times. In its current condition, it includes not a single word mandating the United States to invade other countries to spread around a bit of the benefits of American democracy.

Yes. Definitely. Chuck the entire Constitution. Dump the whole damn thing. We’ll make it completely illegal to ever criticize or question or make fun of the President.

That way, he can get down to the national business of overthrowing dictatorial tyrants and forcing other folks to accept our American way of life.

And for a certain South Valley woman who doesn’t like Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11,” I’m sure that would be very, very nice.

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