English historian Lord Acton has been known for his phrase: "All power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority."(1) More than a century later, American author David Brin refuted this claim with his own: "It's said that "power corrupts," but actually it's more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power. When they do act, they think of it as service, which has limits. The tyrant, though, seeks mastery, for which he is insatiable, implacable."(2)
I believe in the latter, for were not George Washington and Abraham Lincoln leaders who served rather than controlled? Did they not view themselves as servants of the people?
I have no desire to lead a political life. I would much rather live a simple family life. But, according to Edmund Burke, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."(3) In my love for this country and my hope in the future, I feel an overwhelming obligation to serve this nation.
I am hereby forming an exploratory committee (consisting initially of solely myself) to investigate the possibility of running for President of the United States of America in the 2024 election. That will be the first election in which I will be an eligible candidate. The current political web of entanglement requires intense partisan support and preparation for presidential hopefuls to have even the slightest chance of candidacy. Seeing how such partisanship is a breeding ground of political corruption, I am beginning my exploratory committee early to avoid it. Such an attempt will require immense support of the people rather than support of the parties.
I do not wish or even plan to be President of the United States, but I fear shrinking from my duty if such service would prove beneficial to my dear country and fellow citizens. I love this country.
1) John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, 1st Baron Acton (1834 – 1902) Letter to Mandell Creighton (April [3? or 5?], 1887)
2) Glen David Brin (b. 1950), The Postman (1997), p. 267
3) Source unknown - often associated with Edmund Burke (1729 – 1797)