By JOHN KANELIS / email@example.com
Here is a request that in reality isn’t as modest as it might appear.
I direct it to President-elect Joe Biden. It goes like this:
Please refrain from the personal possessive pronoun when referring to our government, the team you assemble to work with you in the executive branch of government.
Donald Trump was fond of referring to “my generals,” and “my attorney general,” and “my Cabinet.” To be candid, President Barack Obama did it, too, and it annoyed me even then as I generally supported the policies that Obama espoused. President Obama would refer to Vice President Biden routinely as, um, “my vice president.”
The Cabinet does not belong to the president. Nor do the generals and admirals who wear our nation’s military uniform. The Justice Department is our DOJ, and does not belong to the president. Nor do any members of the Cabinet or senior staff members who comprise the presidential leadership team.
I get the perception we all had that, for example, the attorney general too often covered the president’s backside. For instance, AG William Barr infamously reported falsely the findings that special counsel Robert Mueller released regarding his lengthy and exhaustive probe into the Russian collusion matter.
Trump himself would talk to us about what “my generals” were preparing to do enemies of the nation.
My message to President-elect Biden is a simple one. Don’t take personal possession of the government. It ain’t his. It’s our government. In fact, the new president needs to understand something that the lame-duck president never got … that in a representative democracy such as ours, we are the bosses.
Presidents work for us.
I hope we’re clear.