Change is as good as rest. It is something that humans need to understand and appreciate but at the same time, Robert Green in his book 48 laws of power cautions us to preach change as much as we like, and even enact our reforms. But, we should remember to give them the comforting appearance of older events and traditions. As a country we are experiencing change from both the social sphere; where individuals are changing from one gender to another. Economical sphere; where we are currently operating on a Trillion budget. Lastly, political sphere; where the electoral system is different and even appointment of individuals for different offices is away from the norm.
It is an exciting as well as a baffling change especially when it comes from the level of presidency. Not long ago we witnessed the “statehouse romance” where our president and the deputy president held hands after naming the first four cabinet secretaries. The act was so casual and also the manner in which he addressed the journalist by inviting them for a cup of tea, someone would notice a big change. As a result of this I think many high profile individuals have started to take advantage of the casualness of the president and to some extent strayed from the guidelines of protocol and how to address him.
In the ancient Chinese Court of the WeiKingdom there was a man named Mi Tzu-Hsia who had a reputation for supreme civility and graciousness. He became the rulers’ favorite. It was a law in Wei that “whoever rides secretly in the ruler’s coach shall have his feet cut off,” but when Mi Tzu-Hsia’s mother fell ill, he used the royal coach to visit her, pretending that the ruler had given him permission. When the ruler found out, he said, “How dutiful is Mi Tzu-Hsia! For his mother’s sake he even forgot that he was committing a crime making him liable to loose his feet!”
Another time the two of them took a stroll in an orchard. Mi Tzu-Hsia began eating a peach that he could not finish and he gave the ruler the other half to eat. The ruler remarked, “You love me so much that you would even forget your own saliva taste and let me eat the rest of the peach. Later, envious fellow courtiers, spreading word that Mi Tzu-Hsia was actually devious and arrogant, succeeded in damaging his reputation, the ruler came to see his actions in a new light, “This fellow once rode in my coach under pretense of my order, “he told the courtiers angrily, “and another time he gave me a half –eaten peach, “for the same action Mi Tzu-Hsia had to suffer the penalties! Please allow me to interpret!
Some of the high profile individuals including some politicians, government officials, and members of the private sector (CEO’s) are behaving like Mi Tzu-Hsia. They have taken the casualness of the president and forgotten the level of respect that needs to be accorded to any individual who happens to be in the position of the presidency. Recently, during one of the events that the president graced of which it will go to the annals of our history as the first social event a sitting president to ever attend. It was a noble gesture from him but what struck people like me who happens to be keen on protocol matters is the way one of the officiators a well known corporate leader addressed him as a “guy”.
The act looked innocent and probably it was a joke. But let me remind some of these leaders who are becoming so comfortable with the casualness of the president. They say a fruit doesn’t fall away from the tree. Our current president happens to be the son of the founding president of our Nation. This is a well known fact. But when I was growing up, I would hear of stories about our founding president and how would call leaders who went contrary to his demands and whip them literary like children. He operated on the frequency that it’s better to be feared than loved. Also that it was impossible for any one to look at him straight in the eyes. A fact or a myth but things are about to change.
For those leaders who happen to be close friends to the president and who are now cultivating the habit of addressing him casually its time you reconsider your actions. If you all happen to be keen on history, our president is simply trying to replay his father’s leadership style. This is well demonstrated on the formation of cabinet which closely resembles the first cabinet this country had and many other things such as operating fully from statehouse and so on. Sooner or later he will get used to the presidency and his character will emerge and some of you may suffer the penalties of your actions.