What is it that drives heads of state to launch programs of tremendous labor, cost and risk that only end up as useless failures? Not that it’s just happening now, but historically.
For instance: The pyramids were built, but to whose benefit? Megaliths constructed, for what purpose? Wars fought, and what accomplished? Health Care Reform, “a potential train wreck”?
So, what motivates governments to dictate programs and policies that wind up suffering a dependent populous? Is it just a matter of those who are governed taking the bad along with the good by those who govern in a “great game of politics”?
One profound answer to what really matters in human drive is explained by author Daniel J. Boorstin: “Everywhere men have resisted and protested [end-of-life or career]. Upended fifty-ton stones, alone or in rows, or in circles [Stonehenge], bear witness to man’s effort to outlive his life and make something that will endure forever.”
Perhaps the best illustration of an attempt in the 20th century to immortalize “something” is President Woodrow Wilson’s sponsorship of the Covenant of the League of Nations in 1918. This was his great monument to signify “building an enduring world peace.” Tragically, he had a stroke and almost died while promoting America’s membership in the League.
History teaches the futility of memorializing programs of self interest by those who govern against the will of the people governed. Unfortunately, these lessons haven’t fully registered with some heads of state.
Consequently, the common people must endure unwarranted crises and hardship; all caused by a lack of earnest consideration on issues, a push for political victory at all costs, and violent contests for personal power, as in other parts of the world.
Former President John F. Kennedy warned that a strong President must be: “a vigorous proponent of the national interest, not a passive broker for [their own or others] conflicting private interest.”
Moreover, he said: “The President’s office is the vital center of action. [Therefore], it is not enough to have the needs and hopes of the people eloquently stated, but the initiative to follow-though left to others.”
A prime example of J.F.K.’s thoughts on leadership qualities is also found in Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1935 speech explaining to Congress his rationale to enact Social Security legislation.
He said the policy was based on: “sound caution and consideration of all of the factors concerned: the national credit, the rights and responsibilities of States, the capacity of industry to assume financial responsibilities and the fundamental necessity of proceeding in a manner that will merit the enthusiastic support of citizens of all sorts.”
His transparent allusions to less responsible Social Security schemes helped convince congressional doubters.
Thanks for reading
 The Creators, D. J. Boorstin, Random House, New York, 1992
 U.S. rejected membership in favor of isolationism
 The American President, Sidney Hyman, Harper & Bros., New York, 1974
 Freedom from Fear, David M. Kennedy, Oxford University Press, 1999