The Last Thing America Needs Is Another PresidentCommentary • Opinion • politicians • elections • candidates • ISSUE 42•50 • Dec 13, 2006 By Randall Everson For as long as I can remember, this country has gotten itself all worked up every four years or so trying to pick just the right person to be in charge of the executive branch. It's always a mess, and it always turns out the same way: We elect a president, and everything goes to pot. And now I hear we're going to have to go through this again! We just had a president, for Pete's sake, and it looks like we're going to repeat the same stupid mistake we've already made 43 times before, only for the sake of tradition.Before we get sucked into another whole rigmarole about national parties narrowing down their primary fields to select a nominee they hope appeals to the broadest cross-section of Americans, it's time to realize that the presidency itself is the real problem, and we need a change. Think about it. When have we ever not had a president? Never. Not since we ratified the Constitution and established ourselves as a democratic republic, anyway, and that's more than enough time to see that presidents do America more harm than good. Take all the worst periods in American history—Vietnam, the Great Depression, Prohibition. In every case, without fail, we have had a president as the head of state. Who has signed every single bad bill into law? A president. What about the president who got us into the Civil War? He was a president through and through, just like the rest of the presidents. The truth is, you look at every major crisis, flu epidemic, and time of civil strife, and who has been sitting in the Oval Office? A damn president. I'm sorry, but these are just the simple facts.I can think of five things off the top of my head that we need more than a president: better health care, less spam e-mail, more jobs, peace in the Middle East, and some way to organize all the clutter. I bet if I came up with 50 things America needs, "another president" wouldn't make the list. We need cheaper gas prices a lot more than we need to install some candidate who accumulates a majority of the electoral votes. Don't believe me? Put John Kerry, George W. Bush, and Cheap Gas on the ballot, and let's see who comes out on top.They say that doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. Sounds an awful lot like what we're doing choosing presidents to serve out terms of office, run the federal government, and act as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, over and over and over and over again. We're just going through this charade because we think we have to, but we really don't. Last time I checked, my garbage was getting picked up every Tuesday and Thursday, I had fresh running water, and my telephone was working perfectly, all without the highest elected official in the land even raising a finger. This country practically runs itself!Isn't a vice president and a speaker of the House more than enough? Look, Sweden doesn't have a president, and you don't hear them complaining. I bet the average citizen of the Congo couldn't care less who their president is. For crying out loud, the Mesopotamians accomplished some of the world's most incredible feats, and they didn't even have the concept of a president. Couldn't we take a cue from them?The problem is this country's so old-fashioned, it covers its ears and runs away whenever anyone brings up the idea of dissolving our current electoral system and replacing it with something drastically different. But why not give an emir, or a generalissimo, or a boy pharaoh a shot? Honestly, doesn't a benevolent philosopher-king sound pretty good? Well, we don't know because we've never tried it. All I'm saying is, let's put a tribunal of high priestesses in charge of the country for two or three years, and if we don't as a nation see any fundamental changes in that time, then, by all means, let's go ahead and elect another president. What harm could it do? Now I know there are going to be a lot of people out there who cling to the idea that we need a president, just because it's what they know. But ask yourself: Does your family have a president? I'd wager it doesn't. And is it any worse off than our nation is? Probably not. So before you have some knee-jerk reaction about how crucial a president is to the functioning of the executive branch and how vital he is to the intricate system of checks and balances that we've used to keep the government running for the past 217 years, think about the worst day of your life, and remember that at that time, a president was supposedly leading this country.