My wife and I were privileged to celebrate the re-election of President Barack Obama the evening (and night!) of Nov. 6 in Chicago. As we waited for the First Family to appear, I was struck by the composition of the crowd around us. It looked like America, which is to say it looked like the world. It did not look like the crowd at the Republican National Convention in late August. On election night it felt good to be part of that rich tapestry of diversity.
A gratifying realization I’ve taken away from this latest presidential contest: Money is not king, the people are. Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s disastrous 2010 Citizens United decision, the people — not the millionaires and billionaires underwriting the attack ads against Obama — have the final say.
In our republic, however, the president is merely one element of the engine. He can’t move the country forward by himself. The Constitution established that it’s a team effort by representatives and senators and, yes, the president. I believe that U.S. presidents historically have gotten more blame than they deserve when things go wrong and more credit than they deserve when things go right.
Economic issues in particular involve much larger forces — and cycles — nationally and globally than any president can control. I like what Frank Martin, local mutual fund manager and author of “A Decade of Delusions,” wrote in September 2011: “Our instinctive response, when faced with a seemingly insurmountable economic challenge, is to look for a leader (president or chairman of the Federal Reserve) who will ‘fix’ it. But we have an exaggerated sense of what leadership can achieve in the unfathomably complex world of economics.”
Let’s support President Obama and Congress in doing what government can do in the face of this nation’s current economic crises.
— Dan Shenk