Barred from the Presidency

America is a vibrant democracy. Non-imprisoned adults are entitled to vote for their next president if they are citizens. Indeed, any such adult is permitted to stand for the office of President. Yet there are several exceptions. Former presidents who have served two terms of four years are barred by their constitution from standing. Messrs Clinton, Bush Junior and Obama are legally prevented from ever being president again. The nation’s founding fathers were adamant that one man must not become too powerful; eight years will be his maximum duration of power. This was in part a reaction against Britain’s hereditary, life-long monarchy against which the Revolutionary War was fought.

In Britain, there is no such limit to a Prime Minister’s time in office, as opponents of Mrs Thatcher frequently lamented. So long as he or she commands a majority in the House of Commons by successive victories at General Elections and the loyalty of their back-benchers, their power continues. It is, however, limited by their Cabinet and the monarch.

Both constitutions, though different, have the same aims; one person must not be allowed to get too big for too long. Why? Because power corrupts; man’s sin will always triumph over his good intentions.

This principle is reflected in Genesis 6:3 where we read: And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

Death, like the American Constitution, is God’s means of limiting our sin and petty reigns of tyranny.