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Other Voices: What’s all the fuss? Presidents don’t do much anyway

I really have a hard time understanding the fervor and frenzy that surrounds the campaign for president of the United States and the way the people are embracing it as if they are going to elect someone who is going to solve all of our problems.

The presidency is certainly a very important office in our federal government, but it has no powers or authority to enact or change any of the laws that run our country. In other words, it doesn’t run the country and was never set up to do so.

The president of the United States is basically the chief executive officer of the country, whose primary duty is to make sure that the laws and acts passed by the Congress are put into effect as intended. He can veto laws and acts passed by the Congress but has no power to introduce or pass legislation directly.

In my lifetime, only one president has been directly responsible for legislation that significantly changed the way our country is run and the lives of the American people, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I can’t think of another president who even came close to delivering the promises made during his campaign.

The House of Representatives and the Senate (i.e. Congress) are the people we send to Washington to set up the framework under which the country is run in a way that best reflects the consensus of our opinions and beliefs. The President only reflects the opinions and beliefs of one party, his. So while we’re being dazzled by the political version of “American Idol,” Congress continues to slip under the radar, doing nothing and blaming the other party for it.

I have read several letters to The Union that espouse the principles of either the Republican or Democratic parties. While that is certainly one of our unalienable rights, it is also the crux of the problem that has caused our country to be in the dire straits it is in today.

During my lifetime of 72 years, I have talked politics with a lot of people and I am absolutely convinced that the number of people who believe totally in the extreme ideologies of the Republicans and Democrats is no more than 20 to 30 percent. In other words, the significant majority of us, 70 to 80 percent, are in the middle somewhere with opinions that basically reflect a position that is between the two extremes of the Republicans and Democrats.

While our representatives in Congress are busy holding on to the sacred principles of their party and refusing to make the concessions that would reach an accord that truly represents the feelings and desires of the majority of the American people, nothing constructive gets done and the problems remain

It has always been interesting to me how on a one-to-one basis, practically all politicians seem to have a great deal of common sense and best interests of the American people at heart. Collectively however, they exhibit none of these qualities and are conspicuously ineffective. There is an old maxim I learned in business that I believe should be put up in neon lights in the halls of Congress as well as in the Oval office Ð “It’s amazing how much can get done when no one cares who get the credit.”

In Congress (and our State Legislatures) we have created a “Royal Elitist” group that lives a luxurious and protected existence on the backs of the taxpayers while contributing little or nothing to improving their lives and existence. It’s time we put them on a pay-for-play basis and reward them only if they solve the problems the country faces.

Years ago I read a book about the 30 or so great known civilizations, i.e. the Roman, Greeks, Etruscans, etc. and the interesting thing was that almost all of them were destroyed from within. They were not conquered by armies or terrorists, their governments became so large and dysfunctional that their empire simply crumbled.

If it sounds like I am disenchanted with our government and politicians, you are right. It’s to the point where I doubt that I will vote again. If it’s true that “every vote counts,” then I apologize for the mess I’ve gotten us into. It won’t happen again.

Ronald P. Avanzino lives in Penn Valley


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