During election season, the media and politicians like to tell us that the fate of the future depends on the outcome of the presidential election. While the president does have a lot of power, the truth is presidents and other politicians can’t save us from all our problems. The truth is, when all is said and done, individuals are the only ones responsible for making our lives better.
Here’s the transcription of our conversation:
Connor: Hey, Brittany.
Brittany: Hi, Connor.
Connor: So we got the presidential election that I guess is happening right now, but no one seems to be paying too much attention, it’s kind of a weird election cycle, but, what, I always find interesting, so every four years there’s an election, and then, you know, every four years, I should say that the president is up for election. And, we are always told that this is the most important election of our lifetime, right? Every single one. And, they’re always trying to say like, this is critical and we need you to vote and I need your vote. And, you know, it’s such an interesting thing because in my mind, ideally, it shouldn’t really matter, who the president is. Like, yeah, he’s the commander, in chief of the military. and yes, he can write executive orders to kind of tell things to the executive branch about, what they’ll do. but when it comes to our daily lives when it comes to just, you know, what we’re doing in our own lives, in my mind, it shouldn’t really matter who the president is. And yet, that’s not really what we experience today, right?
Brittany: No, not at all. I mean, people love their team, right? They love their tribe. So you always hear like, if it’s not my guy, then basically the world is gonna end. Well, no. If it’s your guy, the world is gonna, you just hear this back and forth. But it’s funny to me. Cause at the end of the day, like really the only people who can solve our personal problems are, you know, us, you and I.
Connor: And it’s interesting though because the media doesn’t seem to give us that message. we don’t really get messaging of like, empowerment and, you know, localism. Like, Hey, you can solve these problems locally. It’s always like, you know, what is the president doing and what did he say? And what is he doing to dictate our lives? And what will he decide next? And, it seems like the media is always doing a lot to condition people to be hanging on every word of the president to be worried about what he’s gonna do next. And, not just Trump. I mean, I know Trump is like a whole other animal altogether, in a lot of ways. But it’s been like this, you know, for the longest time where, you know, it’s this way, I think with Supreme Court as well, which might be a topic for another day where, you know, similar thing like, oh, just the decision that these people in fancy black robes, you know, make, are you know, gonna control us all now. And it’s that way with the President. I, it’s tough because when the federal government was set up when the constitution was proposed, this was not the vision. This was not the kind of agreement that people had, that the president would wield this much power. I’ll give you an example. So recently, a few weeks back, I believe, Donald Trump, President Trump signed an executive order, that made all kinds of policy changes because he was frustrated that Congress, couldn’t get it done. you know, extending unemployment and things like that, dealing with, the economy. And because the Democrats and the Republicans in Congress couldn’t agree, president Trump was like, okay, I’m just gonna do it and sign an executive order. Well, he doesn’t have that power in the Constitution. He doesn’t have the ability to make all these changes in the law that can really only be done by Congress under the Constitution. And yet people seem to cheer, like you were saying, kind of, oh, our team, right? He’s on our team and we want, we like this outcome. Therefore, you know, it’s okay that he did it. But then what happens that there’s the great quote, I don’t remember if anyone interesting said this, or if it’s one of those anonymous quotes, but, never give your friend a power that you wouldn’t want your enemy to have.
Brittany: Ooh, I like That.
Connor: And it seems like over the decades, what people have done with the president is, you know, when the president has wanted to do something that wasn’t in the constitution, his team was like, oh, that’s fine. This is good cuz we agree with the outcome. But then the President becomes someone from a different political party, and then those same people in Congress or whatever will scream next time he uses the same authority, right? Next time he signs an executive order or next time he does something that they don’t like, it’s like, okay, but you were cheering for it when your friend did it. And so how can we, you know, see you as sincere when you’re just angry because your, enemy’s doing it, and then it goes right back to the other party, right? The other party wins the presidency and then off they go again, you know, doing more things to give the president even more power. And, this has happened over and over, back and forth, back and forth with the parties over time, where now we have this like almost kingly president where he’s signing these executive orders and just doing these things that control people and, people in Congress don’t really have any like, strong argument to oppose it in a sense because they’ve been justifying it for a long time.
Brittany: And you’re right, it wasn’t just, it wasn’t just Trump, right? I believe it was President Obama that said, all I need is a pen and a phone. Wasn’t it Obama? I think it was Obama.
Connor: I think that’s right yeah.
Brittany: That he used to sign executive orders all the time too. But of course, for the left or for not even the left for Democrats, that was okay when he did it. And now, you know, people are losing it over Trump. So I think you’re absolutely right. it’s very hypocritical. It’s very much that you are okay with something, even if it’s bad, it’s unconstitutional if your team does it. And that comes back to the issue, it’s tribalism. right? It’s this team player thing.
Connor: It’s not only tribalism, I think it’s also like strong like the cult of personality. So I want you to talk a little bit about how how the presidency has become a cult of personality. What might that mean?
Brittany: Yeah. And with Trump, I think is a good example. And actually, even with Obama, a cult of personality is where it becomes more about the person than the office, right? You’re more excited about the Trump brand, about this being a Trump thing than you are about wait a second, can the president actually do this? And I’ll be honest, I was guilty of this even with when, you know, you and I both like Ron Paul, where even though he may not have had a huge chance of winning office, I was so obsessed about the idea about Ron Paul and Ron Paul was, you know, my brand and my excitement that I kind of forgot about some other stuff about what I could control over my life. So it’s not even that, it’s always a bad thing. We are all attracted to these cults of personality, but you see it really problematic right now with Trump, and like I said with Obama, where people forget that this is actually dangerous, right? Because of cults of personality, they kind of become like celebrities in our eyes. Like people who, like maybe athletes are like a certain actress or actor. We put politicians, we elevate them to this level. But politicians should not be that cool they really shouldn’t be.
Connor: I think it’s also, not only the cult of personality but there’s almost like a savior complex as well. That’s, and what I mean by that is, it’s, as you were saying earlier, people should kind of deal with their own problems, solve their own problems. and instead, I think kind of a human condition or a tendency or a temptation is that we want to blame other people and we want other people to fix our problems, right? We don’t want to have personal responsibility. And so when you bring a whole bunch of people together who have those tendencies of, you know, shifting blame and letting other people solve the problem for you, then that gives an opportunity for a president, you know, or even a dictator to come in and say, ah, I have a plan. Right? It’s like Elizabeth Warren, she was one of the presidential candidates on the Democratic ticket recently, and she was poked fun at a little bit because every question that would come up, she would say, I have a plan for that I have a plan, I have a plan, I have a plan. And you know, as silly as that is, a lot of people like that because, uh, people want to have someone else rescue them from, their poor choices. They don’t want to suffer the consequences. you know, we talked on a previous episode about the student, debt bubble. so many people who have taken out so many big loans and they owe a lot of money. And now you’ve got a lot of people who are like, oh, hey, we want a president who will snap their fingers and make that problem go away. You know, who will do student loan forgiveness? so that those choices we made in the past and that we agreed to, right, that we would borrow all this money, that we would pay it back with interest. We don’t wanna suffer the consequence of that choice because it’s hard, you know, it’s hard to earn money and it’s hard to pay all that money back. And so someone needs to come in and save us, from ourselves,
Brittany: we hear that a lot from politicians.
Connor: Yeah. And, so of course, you know, any would-be dictator any kind of strong on person even if they don’t have the ability to like the president. I mean, yeah, he can sign things on, you know, on a piece of paper and give an executive order, but, you know, it’s one thing to dictate or sign something. It’s another thing for that thing to actually happen. So the president isn’t really a dictator. He can’t just like say, you know, Britney, you’re not allowed to wear the color pink anymore, right? Like, he can’t just do this. however, these politicians will come around and promise all kinds of things, right? Because they see that people want to be saved. And so you’ll get people who wanna be present saying, oh, I’ll give you that. It’s like people running for like did you ever have student body present, like in high school? Yes. I was thinking
Brittany: That, yes. Like, we’ll get you pizza every day.
Connor: Exactly. We’ll have, you know, sugary drinks in the vending machines again, you know, and, you know, they can’t actually deliver these things, but they know it’s what the people want. And so they say it to kind of be the savior, even if they can’t actually save, even if they can’t actually, fulfill their promises. And I feel like that’s what we deal with a lot with the president is it’s a lot of like, oh, I’ll give you all these things and I’ll do all these things. Even at the end, you know, of the day necessary can’t necessarily follow through on that.
Brittany: You actually reminded me of one of my favorite quotes, who I think we’ve mentioned the name I ran before. We’ll probably talk about her again at some point. But she had a student, Nathaniel Brandon, who later became a famous psychologist and he did, a lot of like self-esteem, how to be independent, how to be, how to enact, you know, personal responsibility in your own life. And he says, no one is coming to save me. No one is coming to make life right for me. No one is coming to solve my problems. If I don’t do something, nothing is going to get better. And that sounds a little scary when you first treat it, cuz you’re thinking like, oh goodness, like I’m on my own here. But I think it’s very empowering because we put too much faith in not just politicians, but anybody who’s in a position of leadership, and we start thinking like, okay, well they know better than I, so why am I gonna fix my own life? They can tell me what to do. Cuz clearly they’re in a position of authority, so they know better than me. But the real, the truth of the matter is that you are really the only person who can solve your own problems.
Connor: And I think it’s important maybe to qualify that quite a bit. So for example, you know, we have family Oh yes. And we have, we have friends and you know, maybe church
Brittany: Community, our communities
Connor: Yeah, they’re, you know, neighbors, things like that. So it’s not like we are all entirely alone to ourselves, but at the point, I think is very valid, and that is, you know, we shouldn’t be able to force other people. And, and you know, there’s no, there shouldn’t be an expectation that the government should come, and, and help us. but in a lot of ways, I think there’s a lot of truth to what that’s saying is like, you know, yeah, you’ve got family around like, you know, I’ve got family that lives nearby and I’ve got friends, but I deal with a lot on a day to day basis that I don’t tell them or that they don’t know about. I’ve got problems and challenges. I’m sure you do as well. We all do where, you know, yes, we have a support system, but maybe they don’t have the right skill set to help us, or maybe they don’t have, you know, enough money or enough experience or it’s something confidential we don’t want to share with them. So in a lot of ways, I think that is true, that like we, we need to kind of, you know, buck up and wear our big boy pants, our big girl pants, and, work on our problems. And you know, it’s so interesting, Brittany, there’s a, I wrote my first book, it’s called Latter Day Liberty, and it’s more for people of my faith and Why Liberty’s important. And then I wrote a and it did pretty well. And then I wrote my second book, it was kind of a sequel to that book, and it’s called Latter Day Responsibility. And so what I was trying to do is say, Hey, Liber is important. Here’s what it means. Here’s how awesome it is, da da da da da. And then in the second book, I was talking about the flip side of the coin, right? Like, you can’t have liberty without personal responsibility. So I did this whole book about what does personal responsibility mean and why is it important and how does it look? And if we’re gonna be responsible in our own lives, like, what do you actually need to do? And so I kind of walked through all of that, and that book sold hardly any coffees.
Brittany: What does that tell you though,
Connor: Right? Because it’s not sexy, right? It’s, really sexy to be like, yeah, Frida, we all want freedom. And then when it comes to like rolling up our sleeves and doing the work, you know, actually trying to build a life of, of being responsible, caring for ourselves, and then, you know, being able to care for others and help others, that’s not as sexy, that’s not as fun for people to talk about. And so I feel like it doesn’t really get the reinforcement that it should,
Brittany: It doesn’t, and it’s, just easier, right? People want to do unfortunately what is easy, not what is worth it, not what is the most beneficial. And we’ve gotta get outta that way of thinking. And I think especially, there’s a lot of jokes about millennials or, or younger, the younger people, I guess it’s Gen Z now, not willing to roll up their sleeves like you said, and, do the hard work. But it’s so beneficial when you do that. And then you know that you can get yourself out of another jam, right? Like, let’s say you, utilize personal responsibility and you solve a problem that’s gonna help prepare you to solve the next problem. It’s, like working out. You’re gonna get stronger every time you do it.
Connor: Well, I wish we could get society to the point where it doesn’t matter who the president it doesn’t matter who’s in charge. We should focus on our own lives. We shouldn’t need to be rescued and saved by someone who doesn’t have the ability, like a student body president to give us what we need and what we want. I wanna link on the show notes page. Brittany, I know you did an article about this, I wanna link there, to that. So make sure, dear listeners that you go to Tuttletwins.com/podcast. you can check out the show notes page for this and past episodes as well if you wanna get up to speed and find the helpful links and information we’re providing. so go there, you can subscribe, make sure you’re sharing this, with your friends. We’d love to have even more, families listening in and learning as well. great great episode. As always. Thanks again for chatting and we’ll talk to you next time.
Brittany: Talk to you next time