Why can't presidential candidates talk like this?
Called upon to undertake the duties of the first executive office of our country, I avail myself of the presence of that portion of my fellow-citizens which is here assembled to express my grateful thanks for the favor with which they have been pleased to look toward me,** to declare a sincere consciousness that the task is above my talents, and that I approach it with those anxious and awful presentiments which the greatness of the charge and the weakness of my powers so justly inspire**.
That’s how Thomas Jefferson introduced America to its new president. Him.
Think about it. Jefferson told America that it had elected an incompetent. And he was talking about himself.
“the task is above my talents.”
“I approach it with those anxious and awful presentiments . . .the weakness of my powers so justly inspire.”
I would put up with a lot of issue disagreements to vote for someone who admitted they don’t deserve to be president. Or governor or state rep.
I’m sick of candidates who claim they’re better. That “I’m better” mentality might be America’s greatest problem.
As a conservative, I believe no one is fit for any elected job. No one, especially me. That’s why I don’t run. I am not fit. No one is.
And that’s why we need a constitution–a contract–that limits the power of those who believe they are fit for office.
Does that make sense to anyone else?
Back to Jefferson:
I have learnt to expect that it will rarely fall to the lot of imperfect man to retire from this station with the reputation and the favor which bring him into it. Without pretensions to that high confidence you reposed in our first and greatest revolutionary character, whose preeminent services had entitled him to the first place in his country’s love and destined for him the fairest page in the volume of faithful history, I ask so much confidence only as may give firmness and effect to the legal administration of your affairs
Jefferson realized that presidents should leave office less popular than they entered it. Politics is not a popularity contest–it’s a sentence.
And he asked for only limited support: “only as may give firmness and effect to the legal administration of your affairs.”
My God, how beautiful is humility.