Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Quadrennial Letter

Here is the text of my quadrennial letter to the Presidential candidates. In a rational reversal of convention, I send my congratulations to the losers, and my condolences to the winner.


Barak Obama
Mitt Romney
          Gary Johnson
          Jill Stein

Congratulations and condolences

          Dear Former Candidates:

          Now that the election results are in, and we know which one of you won the election, and which ones lost, I send you my quadrennial letter of congratulations and condolences. Unlike the usual practice, I send my congratulations to the losers and my condolences to the winner.

          First, the major party loser. Congratulations, Mr. Romney; you lost. It was a close call for a while, but you dodged it. We considered you carefully, and in the end chose not to inflict the Presidency upon you, or you upon it. Good for you, and good for it! Now please go away and be quiet before we change our minds and make you President after all.

          A shout-out now for the minor-party losers; Gary Johnson of the Libertarians, Jill Stein of the Green Party, and many more others than I can name. Good news; you all lost! None of you have to be President!

          Now for the winner, Mr. Obama. Greetings! It is my duty to inform you that you are now President-Elect of the United States of America. My deepest condolences. Your job is stressful; it’s hazardous; it’ll force you to do hideous deeds; it’ll drain all the youth out of you; and worst of all, it’s a dead end. Any job after this will be a demotion. I repeat: my condolences.

The awful truth is, you’re a slave. All Presidents are slaves. (“Public servant” is a euphemism.) If it were up to me, then the Presidency would be a civic obligation imposed at random, like jury duty or the draft; the kind of job that people run from rather than for.

As is, it’s a volunteer post. That’s absurd, and the joke’s on you. You sought the booby prize, and won. I question your judgment, but I cannot fault your courage. Good luck!

I recommend the path of least resistance. Do what comes naturally to the present-day American Presidency; namely, manage imperial decline. That’s what you’ll do anyhow, like it or not, so here I am, telling you to do it. You may have other plans, but rest assured that they will encounter resistance from powerful enemies, institutional inertia, and Murphy’s Law.

So don’t be too hard on yourself. After all, it’s only a temporary job. Thanks to your predecessors, the bar isn’t set too high. And you’ve had clueless bosses before.

Now your clueless boss is the American voting public; or maybe it’s the 1%. But which? It is proverbial that a man cannot serve two masters; so who is the President’s boss? The many or the few?  

I ask you this, because people need to know; and so do you.


Nathaniel Hellerstein

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