There once was a land far away that was known for its strength. On the inside, though, this nation was anything but strong—factions and divisions tore it apart at every level. The people looked for a hero, a strongman to ride in and save the day.
The leader came, and, with a voice as divisive as a nation, he declared this before you and me: "You know, I need two extra years of my term to take back from the years stolen from me."
Alas, a gasp of shock mixed with sorrow sprang from me. As you, my dear readers, know, I have disagreed with the president on many occasions. But few times have I gasped as loud as I did this time. Mr. President, I want to give you the benefit of the doubt, but since you said it, I must debate it.
Before I address why I disagree with him, I must put out the statement that the president and I see the United States in two different lights.
The president sees a strong and powerful economy, but I see a broken economy where most people cannot afford a loaf of bread.
The president sees an America that immigrants are coming to, but I see a United States that my friends are leaving to seek better lives abroad.
The president wants to print more money to solve our national debt crisis while I sigh dramatically as I mutter, "But hyperinflation, Mr. President...."
The president sees many things that I respectfully cannot see. He and I are divided by generation, social class and ideology.
Lastly, and most tellingly, the president sees an America that is winning, but I see one that is losing. Someday, I would love to have a discussion with him over coffee to see where he is coming from as I explain that we live in two different worlds. Perhaps, Mr. President, we do see the same country but from very different lenses.
Mr. President, I doubt you have time to read my article, but if you or any of your supporters ever do, I urge you not to change the presidential term. I urge the same to Democrats who may want revenge. Resist it! Resist expanding your own power, for this will only lead to a cycle of more leaders taking on more power for themselves at all costs.
I realize that power is tempting. We all need power because it is at the core of who we are as humans. Power can be used to make choices for yourself such as "I want to eat an arepa!" or something more serious like "I want to create positive change in the world." We need power, but power is like the wind—both helpful and harmful. Power is like rain—without it, we would be in an oppressive drought, but with it, we may all drown ourselves and those around us.
My dear Patria, my dear world—power needs its limits, or else we will all succumb to it. Leaders of every creed will take on more power than those who came before, and we will become one of those countries with an endless cycle of strongmen of every creed.
Regardless of who is in power, whether I like them or dislike them, my words remain the same: expanding presidential power is dangerous. I do acknowledge that there are times and circumstances that require a stronger hand, such as the American Civil War, but it is not and should not be in the hands of the president to extend his own term. He should be carefully held to the checks and balances of government. Just as power balances power and ambition balances ambition, so checks and balances are like the buttresses of a cathedral holding us in place.
Imagine a country (any country of your choice) as a giant cathedral. The stained glass windows depict us, and the colored shapes reflect the diversity of the nation. Beautiful music from the organ of the voices of many fills the air, and the immensity of it brings joy to travelers. Each beam is carefully balanced just as checks and balances are. Each country of the world is as magnificent and grand as a cathedral, with people who tell their own unique stories just as the windows and statues do.
Without these checks and balances, we would be as broken as the spirits of the people in an absolute monarchy. I imagine we have all read Montesquieu's "The Spirit of the Laws," and if not, I urge you, dear citizen, to pick it up now. This book carefully lays out how, although governments must be adjusted to the cultures and peoples, the principle of checks and balances should remain the same whether I'm in the United States, France, Ukraine, Venezuela, Argentina, Japan, New Zealand, etc. You name a country, and I will tell you that, at the core, we all have natural rights that must be safeguarded in a system of checks and balances, which hold up our secular cathedral—the cathedral of the government.
If one pillar of balance crumbles, the weight will be distributed to the other pillars. But let's say a new party wants more power, so they take down another pillar because the last president did. This will happen time and time again, and with time, our cathedral will crumble.
My friends! Citizens! We need to build balances on power, not tear them down. At this point, it is not a matter of whether or not you agree with the president—it is a matter of speaking about the very flying buttresses that hold up our nation. If one pillar decided to usurp power and take all the weight itself, the cathedral could not stand. Likewise, if one party took down a pillar, the building might be fine—but in time, it would not hold.
I close this article with the following: guard your heart as you guard checks and balances. These are the safeguards of our nation, and, whether or not you agree with the president, nobody should expand his (or her) power of their own will.
Vive la Republique!