It was the birth of a new Republic, the fulfillment of years of struggle. John Adams stood before the House and Senate and proceeded over the inauguration of America’s first President.
The fledgling Congress had pressing matters to attend too but none so important than what title should be given to the President of the United States. This question alone would consume an entire month in the Senate and would pit America’s greatest statesmen against the rest of Congress. John Adams believed that the President should have a title commensurate with his position and proposed that Washington should be called “his Majesty, the President” or something of the sort. But the rest of Congress disagreed and decided that George Washington was to be referred to simply as “the President”. For his unyielding stance on the importance of title John Adams received the ultimate insult a young republic could bestow on its most loyal patriot. John Adams was a monarchist!
Although it would seem strange today to hear George Bush referred to as ‘his Majesty, the President’, this might have less to do with a developed sense of republicanism and more to do with a loss of respect for position and authority. There is not much that is sacred anymore. John Adams was worried that the title ‘President’ was too common and could lead to lowered view of the Presidency. “There were presidents of fire companies and cricket clubs…” but the President of the United States was not one those. He was the leader of a nation that would arguably become the most powerful and wealthy this world has every known.
So I wonder what John Adams, America’s first vice president, would say to the nomination of Sarah Palin to the Vice Presidency? A political play to buy votes maybe?
I am not questioning whether Sarah Palin is a respectable woman and an able governor but it’s fair to ask whether she has the experience to be head of the United States of America. We are not talking about Uganda here. Not France. Not Britain. Not Canada. But the economic and military powerhouse that is the USA… and a nation that is facing one of the severest financial crisis since the 30’s, a crisis that has deeply effected markets around the globe and shows no sign of abating. There is no shortage of potential foreign security concerns either. Israel continues to warn of an impending attack on Iran. Russia is still in parts of Georgia. Bin Laden is still hiding in a cave somewhere. China’s thirst for world resources has not disappeared. Kim Jong Ill isn’t feeling well…
As capable a leader as Sarah Palin might be, she would have a long uphill battle to fight if she were to assume the Presidency. She is a pawn in a political game and the rest of the world knows it. As John Adams understood well, it is vitally important that the President of the United States command a certain amount of fear and respect, title or none. I don’t know that Sarah Palin has it.
Anyway, I hope I’m wrong.