What We Call Our Presidents

A couple of weeks ago at the Soul Train awards, actor Jaime Foxx referred to President Obama as, “Our Lord and Savior.”  This is quite striking, and another example of the cult–like fanaticism Obama supporters have for him. Obviously this is a person speaking on pure emotion; a reasoned thinker would clearly have this president described with both feet firmly on the planet.  This is especially true when looking at the devastating impact Obama’s presidency has had specifically on the black community. For example, nearly four years into his term, black unemployment hovers around 14 percent while white unemployment is just shy of 7 percent.

kingobama2It is evident that Obama has not reached a level of success deserving of this title, but has any president deserved to be deified? How does this description fit with past precedent?

To answer this, we only have to look at our first president, George Washington. Still reeling from being ruled by King George III, Washington knew that every action he took as president was setting the stage for future presidents, as well as protocol for citizens to follow. To put it in Washington’s own words he was, “walking on untrodden ground.”

At this point in our country’s short history, everything was still being built from the ground up including how to refer to the president. Washington biographer Joseph Ellis addressed this in his book, His Excellency. In it, he points out that great thought was put into how we address the president today.  One of the official titles initially given to Washington was, “His High Mightiness, the President of the United States and Protector of their Liberties.”  The founders, including James Madison, rightly thought this title sounded too much like a Monarch’s title. Against John Adam’s wishes, the title was later changed to “Mr. President,” even though Adams thought this title was too “pedestrian.”

This even extended to the First Ladies. Martha Washington was referred to as Lady Washington, but by the 1850s the title for the spouse of the president was changed to First Lady. Lady was initially a title given to nobility.

So does this matter? Yes! Words and titles do mean something. America is not a monarchy. The president’s title is pedestrian by design. Gone are the days where people are subjects of the Lords ruling over them. The office of the president is there to serve at the privilege of the people, not the other way around. Furthermore, isn’t it a little ironic that those who have acted the most overtly to trample on religion should be described in such a manner?

Comments

  1. While President Obama is no “Lord and Savior'” I believe, given the circumstances of Mr. Foxx’s comment, it probably felt like that for some people. Apparently, you are unaware of the fact that Mr. Foxx is a comedian? And do you honestly think, had Romney won, there would not have been some talk of the “Second Coming,” or at least, an actual Coronation prior to his swearing the oath of office? Surely, sir, you are better than this!

  2. Thank you for taking the time to read the column!

    There are two things happening in your argument. The first is writing off Jaime Foxx as a comedian. This is a common tactic used for Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Al Franken and now Jaime Foxx. Anytime one of them crosses the line, they fall back on, “It’s just satire.” The fact that Jaime Foxx is a comedian is irrelevant. I’ll I have to do is look at the audience’s reaction and see wild cheers instead of laughter to know that they agree with his statement. There IS a cult like fanaticism with Obama and his supporters, as evidenced by the clip.

    The second argument is the moral rationalization you are making with the hypothetical reaction the right would have to a Romney victory. This is the argument of choice for my children when one of the get caught doing something wrong, “He did it too!!” Except in this case the right didn’t do it. More to the point, how many columns and articles did we have to read during the campaign about the right not being really thrilled about Romney? The fanaticism was/is simply not there.

    • Dear Mr. Blair-
      I agree with you that Jamie Foxx’s job, career, avocation, or whatever, is really irrelevant to the discussion. Like Mr. Colbert and Mr. Stewart, Mr. Foxx uses humor to inform his political commentary. If Mr. Foxx were a New York Giant, or a city sanitation worker, the fact remains that he most definitely did not, and does not, believe that President Obama is his/our Lord and Savior. I can assure you — it was a “joke.”

      As for the “moral dilemma” you claim, I believe your logic, here, is faulty, as well. The reason the “right” neither coronated nor “proclaimed” Romney “Lord and Savior” is because he… lost the election! Additionally, I’m quite sure that even most members of the “right” are aware of the fact that Romney is not “God.” I have accused “you all” of being misinformed and mistaken, not stupid.

      As for the Dems being “caught doing something wrong,” “like your children,” well, maybe you’re right. They were, after all, gloating. And while I was not big enough to not participate in that gloating relief, that joyous, ecstatic, exultant giggle of relief; I am big enough to admit that I, too, participated, and now count myself among those, “caught,” “like your children.”

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. We are so fortunate, here in America, to still have these freedoms — to a certain extent, anyway…

      All the best, Sir..

Trackbacks

  1. […] of examples is Jamie Foxx whose recent actions have resulted in the dubious honor of becoming a recurring character in my columns. During his opening monologue on Saturday Night Live (SNL), Mr. Foxx went on what […]

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