Harry S Truman had a sign on his desk that read, “The Buck Stops Here”. He said it let people know that there would be no more passing of responsibility, no more dodging the work required. It was both promise and warning.
The funny thing is, the sign point outward towards those looking at the President. You’d think if you’re the one who has to show everyone that the buck stops with you, that it would face inward, to remind you every day of your promise, your responsibility to the People.
I have an alternative idea. What if the sign was there to remind the people looking at him, that the real responsibility lies with everyone facing him? The leader of the Republic is a physical manifestation of the will of the People. He is their representative, their voice in the Forum, and rarely, the national conscience- the person who’s job it is to say, “Wait a minute…” As such, the President is our mirror. It us looking back at ourselves.
“The buck stops here,” we tell ourselves.