One amongst many: Guiliani’s struggle for extended power

Joe Reynolds

The sovereignty of the American people was forever ensured when George Washington peacefully departed the presidency after two terms in office. Political power in the United States emanates in the hands of the people, and is delegated to the government, not vice versa. It is this democratic idealism that has withstood the test of time, not the will of any one president, governor or senator.
Much public support has arisen for an extension of New York City Mayor Rudolph Guiliani’s term in office, but we must be careful not to set a precedent for tyranny. If this request is granted, what is to prevent a despotic future official from utilizing tragedy as a means to enhance personal power? Guiliani has consented to not seek a third term, (New York has a two term limit), but he is campaigning to extend his current term by approximately three months, a move motivated by pure arrogance.
To be sure, Guiliani has displayed profound courage and perseverance in times of crisis. The altruism of his intentions is not to be doubted, but he is underestimating the potential of his people by thinking that he alone is a necessary aspect of New York’s ability to survive and prosper. His presence would be more than welcome in the capacity of an advisor, or as head of a task force on terrorism, but we need not halt the wheels of democracy in celebration of the efforts of one man.
“Could any of the candidates vying to be Guiliani’s successor manage the current situation as well as he has? Possibly not, but New York City will not be lacking because of it. The pursuit of happiness of individuals cannot be compromised or enhanced by the actions of one man or council of men, it is the essence of liberty. No personal privilege will be relinquished with the inauguration of a new administration.
To those who say that special times call for special circumstances, I set that the fundamental principles of democracy outweigh the effect of any circumstance. A peaceful transition of power is what defines our nation; the freedoms of man prevail even in the face of unspeakable horror and uncertainty.
This ideal has never been sacrificed. Abraham Lincoln was not given a second term in the White House just because the country was in the midst of Civil War; he campaigned and won like any other prospective leader. America’s ability to transcend the personality of its leaders is the force that sustains the civility of governance.
Guiliani can best serve his government by respecting the Constitution that endows him with his power. So I say to Rudy, “Humble yourself. Serve the democracy you love by perpetuating its idealism.”