Every four years, we are told that we are facing the “most important election of our lifetime,” thanks to the increasing amount of government power handed to the executive branch. And yet, a more troubling trend is emerging: People are treating the presidency as a key part of their everyday lives.
The refusal of the legislative branch to live up to its name has made our system of checks and balances lopsided. For the party that holds the presidency, Congress becomes nothing more than a cheering section. Congressional Democrats discovered that their jobs are important after an eight-year hiatus under former President Barack Obama, while congressional Republicans have forgotten their objections to government spending and executive orders over the last four years.
But it is the cultural power of the presidency that is becoming more worrisome. Reuters interviewed 10 voters, who were evenly split between supporting President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who lost relationships with family and friends over politics. Some of them initiated the divides, including cutting their parents out of their (and their children’s) lives.
This is not simply an anecdotal concern. In the aftermath of the 2016 election, 55% of “solid liberals” said that knowing a friend voted for Trump would strain their friendship. While it is true that some conservatives and Republicans are guilty of this behavior, prioritizing politics in personal life has become a popular mindset in liberal circles. As soccer star Megan Rapinoe said while promoting her HBO special, “Our lives are political in so many ways. Politics is engaging with you whether you’re engaging with it or not, all the time, no matter what.”
But neither Trump nor Biden is going to be at your Thanksgiving dinner. Biden and Trump are politicians. They are doing what they think is best for the country, sure, but they do not know or care about you individually. They are not a replacement for your parents, relatives, friends, or children.
Congress needs to take back its legislative powers from the presidency and its army of bureaucrats, but people must also take back their personal lives from the cult of personality that surrounds the office. The head of one of the three branches of government in a union of 50 states should have no bearing on your everyday life, let alone take priority over your friends and family.
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