“I have no ambition to govern men; it is a painful and thankless office.” Thomas Jefferson
I recently visited Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. He is perhaps one of my favorite Presidents because he considered his years as President a low point in his career. He felt the pain of governing, probably under the scrutiny of the public and the media and this was before technology. This was a man who authored our Declaration of Independence and helped to create our Government founded in the new philosophy of liberty over tyranny. Yet, he did not enjoy governing this new nation.
I wonder what drives men today to become the next President. Have they read Jefferson’s negative feelings about holding the highest office? The one thing I can summarize from Jefferson is that he had no ambition for fame. If being President was so painful, he probably did his job very well. No big parties in the White House trying to raise campaign funds for another term. No big campaign promises that he knew would be impossible to keep. His job was simply to uphold the newly formed Constitution.
It would be so refreshing to have a future President campaign under the slogan, “I have no ambition to govern men!” A person who understood that holding the highest office in the land means to uphold the Constitution and who’s highest priority was to make sure our American liberties do not get taken away. Then perhaps one day we would have a man or woman who would truly understand what it means to be the President of the United States of America.