I have always looked upon my experiences here in Ecuador as nothing short of an adventure.....a "re-conquest". You will find that this Blog not only offers information on how to live, invest or simply visit Ecuador (rated the number one retirement heaven by International Living magazine for 2011) but also informative information and articles on how to survive in this fast changing and volatile World we live in. Your comments are welcome!
El Conquistqdor Francisco de Orellana
The Conquistador who put the Amazaon baisn "on the map"....Francisco Orellana
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
America Needs a King
Does America need a monarch? Ever since, according to legend, George Washington turned down the chance of becoming the new country’s king, America’s identity as a republican nation of citizen rulers has been rock solid. Indeed, nothing can stir patriotic anger more than the suggestion that the U.S. president is acting like unelected royalty. Yet even before independence, John Adams argued in favor of a “republican monarchy” of laws, lamenting, “We have so many Men of Wealth, of ambitious Spirits, of Intrigue … that incessant Factions will disturb our Peace.”
Looking at the United States, today, Adams was prescient, with the country almost evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, special interests dominant, and poisonous partisan gridlock destroying Washington, D.C. While Adams favored a republican monarch with absolute veto powers, today we need a person who can sit above politics and help strengthen our commitment to republican values. We need a king, or something like one.
As the only nationally elected official, the president has become a symbol of the country. Such symbols, whether in a democracy, monarchy, or authoritarian state, must serve a purpose above politics, both at home and abroad. Yet that is impossible for a U.S. president who is head of his own government, putative head of his political party and invariably a competitive, partisan politician. For example of just how awkward this can be, hours after a mass shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington last September, President Obama unleashed a blisteringly critical speech on the budget, accusing the Tea Party faction in Congress of promising “economic chaos” and questioning whether Republicans were “willing to hurt people just to score political points.”
In parliamentary systems around the globe, the head of state is separate from the head of government. In some countries, like Russia and France, the president (as head of state) is more powerful than the prime minister (who is head of government). In others, like Israel, the president serves simply as a symbol of the nation, while the prime minister runs the country. Europe’s constitutional monarchies limit their heads of royal houses to symbolic functions, while reserving that role to one family. Having a national, unifying position ostensibly standing outside the daily muck of politics provides a rallying point for all citizens and a safety valve to redirecting national passions in a non-partisan way.
We have no such safety valve in the United States. Our experiment in self-government has progressed to the point where the differences in our increasingly complex country are now the salient feature of public life. They are certainly not as fundamental as the questions of slavery or civil rights, but they are deep and growing deeper nonetheless. The role and size of government, individual rights to privacy, immigration, the definition of marriage and the like are all driving polarization, not just in Washington, but in Peoria and Albuquerque and Manchester. The result is a country that is becoming shriller, more willing to demonize opponents and less united. This deep corrosion of political life is directly responsible for Americans’ growing sense of alienation.
There is, for many Americans, nowhere to turn to find a sense of common meaning. Not politics: Nine out of 10 polls followed by Real Clear Politics in December 2013 recorded that 60 percent or more of respondents feel the country is on the wrong track, with some polls reaching as high as 66 percent. Politicians are despised as a class, with congressional approval at an astonishingly low 6 percent, according to a year-end Economist/YouGov poll. Not the courts: The Supreme Court is now viewed unfavorably by nearly half the country, being seen as increasingly partisan after its controversial 2000 election ruling and 2012 Obamacare decision. Not religion: It’s increasingly a private affair, and has become a source of growing contention between believers and often-secular elites. Only American popular culture substitutes for a sense of community, with sports and film stars looked up to as exemplars despite their often lurid and sensational antics and unreachable wealth.