Janitor-in-chief

Frank J Fleming takes on the erroneous notion that the president is our country’s leader. This is my favorite part:

We have it in our heads that the president of the United States is like the CEO of our country, when in reality his job is more akin to head janitor. Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m not trying to say that politicians work as hard or are as essential to society as the average janitor. But it’s our job as private citizens to do the main work, and the government is supposed to operate in the background doing minor things that support that work — cleaning up the messes we’re too busy to handle. If the head janitor and his staff do their jobs well, we should barely even notice them.

Yet right now in America we think that this janitor is in charge of everything, and that’s how we ended up with this Obama mess. Everyone went on about how inspiring Obama was — like that matters — and how he was going to solve all our problems — like that was his job. But no one asked the essential question: Can he clean and stay out of our way? Thus we come back four years later and find that the office building we asked him to clean has been burned down, and when we ask him what happened, he gets mad at us and says, “It’s not my fault; it was messy when I started. But don’t worry, I have great plans to really get the company growing these next four years. First off, I went ahead and significantly increased the janitorial budget.”

It’s humor writing, of course, but it really struck a chord with me nevertheless. America’s government is not America, and it drives me crazy when people (like our current president) conflate the two. In the best of times the government is symbiotic with America; today it’s mostly a parasite.

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