Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The President Does Not Decide

Today, a new President was inaugurated into office. In his speech, he mentioned the uncertainty of the United States' destiny. This statement could not be more true. Although the incoming administration has many plans and goals over the next four to eight years, it cannot completely determine the path that this country will take. 

When I was talking to a friend in the military, he mentioned the possibility of a war with Iran and how that would affect Obama's presidency. I asked him if he did not think that the change in presidents would change the likelihood of a war. While he admitted that the Obama administration's policies could help ease tension, he said that, ultimately, it was not up to the new president whether or not the U.S. went to war. Iran is the one who will make the decision on whether or not to attack the U.S. or her allies. I cannot help but wonder how true this is in many other areas of government. While there is no doubt that President Obama's decisions will have impacting and long-lasting effects on the U.S., his decisions alone will certainly not determine the course of history. 

What does, then, determine the course of history? It is the congregation of millions of minute choices made by individuals such as you and me that shape history. The decision to stand up against injustice or allow it to continue and grow into a raging monster that cannot be controlled. It is the decision to spend time with your family or work those extra hours each week that change a society from one that values family to one of workaholics. The decision to buy that item of clothing or that jewelry even though you know that by buying it, you are supporting the exploitation of workers; or to take that money and give it to someone in need. These decisions shape our lives, our society, and our world. And not for our president, but for our actions will we be remembered. 

1 comment:

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