The Mount Rushmore aura creates unrealistic expectations for modern presidents

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The iconic images carved in stone on Mount Rushmore are awesome, physical presentations of the very bedrock of what most citizens imagine as the best of our heritage. These larger-than-life monoliths also create larger-than-life expectations of any person who has inhabited or will inhabit the White House as the leader of one of the most advanced and complex countries on Earth.

Any president, past, present or future, regardless of political party, would most certainly provide for the following: safety, prosperity, unity, etc. It seems that it is popular to crack the president’s knuckles if everything is not just as perfect as perfect can be. What reasonable mind would promote the concept that any president could have a perfect country if the president only wanted to?

It seems that, in order to be rational and fair, it is necessary to remember that, in this free country, things will continue to evolve to ever more and more complexity and subtlety. So, while some things that any president may do possibly could have been done better, remember the Rushmore aura is more memory of a past that we never experienced than it is a realistic high bar of achievement that every future president must jump over each and every day.

C.J. STEVENSON
Mt. Lebanon

 


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