It seems like our country is constantly consumed in some sort of lively presidential election season even when a new president has just launched into another four-year term. The media began buzzing with future candidate news almost two years before the upcoming 2016 election. Even though it seems like our persistent election cycle congests the news every time you turn on the television, everyone still pays close attention. We are talking about the president of the United States for goodness sake. It is the most influential, famous and powerful title in the world. However, is this job too powerful? Is the job too much or one person to handle? We’ve all seen the startling before-and-after pictures of President Obama from 2008 to 2016; he’s visibly aged about 20 years during the mere eight of his presidency.
Since Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency in the 1930’s, the job of the president has grown exponentially. Roosevelt essentially created the most crucial part of a presidency — connection and communication within the country. Before this time, it was exceedingly difficult to see, hear or be aware of what the president was doing. Roosevelt’s fireside chats and expanded government programs were the beginning of an entirely new job: one that requires the president to satisfy numerous roles in this country.
One of the most important jobs of the president is becoming the commander in chief. An ideal commander in chief will have broad knowledge of foreign policy and perhaps military experience. This single person is now in charge of our nation’s vast military, complete with advanced weaponry and an assorted personnel. The president is also in charge of veteran’s affairs, making sure that brave people who have fought for our country are treated well when they come back.
Along with a strong grasp on our nation’s defense system, our president must be fully educated on the ins and outs of our national economy. In 2014, The Gallup’s annual Mood of the Nation survey reported that 89 percent of Americans voted the economy as the top priority for the government. So the president of our country must have a firm hold on improving or sustaining our economy for most Americans to even consider granting approval. Though the president is blamed or praised for any sort of shift or spike in our economy, the presidency hardly has any power in predicting the economic roller-coaster that controls our financial system.
Lastly, the most significant job of the president rests in the underbelly of the position— to represent and symbolize our nation. Popular or not, the president will always be a symbolic figure in our nation. In times of crisis or distress, the president will be there to guide the entire country. When disasters strike, we wait for the president’s words of assurance.
Despite the hundreds of people who work alongside the president in the White House, this job is not feasible for one person. Though most Americans squirm at the mention of our country conforming to other ways from around the world, at what point are we going to accept that one person cannot fulfill the job of the American presidency? In a parliamentary system, there are two sources of executive power. There is a Head of State who represents the ceremonial aspects of the nation. They do not retain any real decision-making or policy-making power, but they take on the symbolic position in a country. The other source of executive power comes from the Prime Minister, who deals with important decisions on policies, economics and domestic issues. America may benefit from altering its democratic system into something similar to a parliamentary system.
With our current presidential system, expectations will never be met by any candidate. Our nation’s expectations for the president continue to increase, while the means of achieving these standards continue to decrease. It’s impossible to carry out a successful presidency in modern days. Americans keep waiting for a certain president to sweep in and “fix” our country through significant changes. But people need to realize that it’s not the person that needs to change — it’s the job.