The Presidents’ Day Holiday in America, today, is perhaps the least celebrated of the year, and it shows how America like much of Africa is moving away from a powerful executive.
The exceptions validate the rule, so the dozen or so African dictators still in power in places like Uganda, Zimbabwe, Cameroon and Chad, among the most egregious, delineate the old days. As modern African societies emerge and new constitutions are formulated, the chief at the top gets less and less power.
The outstanding example is the “New Kenya.” While the man who will be elected the first president under its new constitution in just a few weeks will be the most powerful man in that country, his powers will be significantly limited compared to the powers of current and former Kenyan presidents.
The “New Kenya” is the wave that is sweeping most of Africa. Modern African societies realize that single personalities – the Grandpa authority – are no longer appropriate as social chief executives.
Ultimately, I believe even America will have to come round to this view. Our president is one of the most powerful social chief executives in the world; probably the most powerful among democratic countries. I think this may have worked well in year’s past when essential U.S. policy was pretty unidirectional.
But today, with radically opposed polarities, the prospect of a strong liberal president being succeeded by a strong conservative, etc., does little to move society in any direction but crazy figure eights.
The new societies – the emerging African societies – are designing and experimenting with better forms of democratic, capitalist government. America will have to follow.
Many government offices are closed, today. Banks are closed. The post office is closed. Some schools are closed and most businesses, like EWT’s, are “technically closed” with the phones not answered. But many workers — perhaps most in America — are at their desks like most any other work day.
Perhaps an affirmation that a strong chief executive shouldn’t be quite so empowered, anymore.