Monday, February 25, 2008

The Danger of Myth

In response to the Raleigh News & Observer's Q Section question "What makes a perfect president?", I sent the following
In the Local Voice column of Sunday's Q Section, people responded to the question “what makes a perfect president?” by listing personal traits they look for in a candidate. Things such as intelligence, integrity, and the ability to “think outside the box.” While these traits may be well and good, it seems that people are looking for men who they can mythologize instead of men who will perform the mundane task of preserving, protecting, and defending the Constitution of the United States – the actual duties that should make for a “perfect” president.

The main article seemed to capture this view by showing how we've created a mythology around past presidents. The authors seemed to think that this development is a good thing, and even go so far as to suggest that candidates should “harness the power of mythology” to “become part of the myth.” I have to disagree. Creating myths around men who wield the power of government only distorts history, and turns us into what John Adams feared - a nation of men, not of laws.

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