First Public Presentation

The tenure of the office of President in emerging republics has been a contentious one in the post-colonial period. At the behest of PUSaKO, I lectured on the matter of Presidential term limits from the US Constitutional perspective in a live YouTube stream, now posted here.

Naturally researching my own country for a bit was less interesting, but the perspective was desired to provide a contrast for the ongoing discussion of term limits for the President of Indonesia. As there have only been a few transitions of the power of the executive in the recent history of that republic, the question has remained fairly open. Presently, the Indonesian President can serve two terms of five years each. Yet, in this and in recent years, there has been discussion of amending the Constitution to permit a third or more terms.

Providing a US Constitutional perspective felt a bit parallel to that question at first. Our Constitution is very old, and if it weren't for my incidentally having a fair historiographical model for our Republic, it would have been very difficult to make heads or tails of it, as a narrative of any cohesion for living people. As my reading went on, however, the JGA Pocock model of civic republicanism combined with my own comprehension of those character ethics ended up providing a fairly useful central thematic. 

It ended up seeming a bit strange, a bit surreal at the end. It was the US itself whose Constitution used to be the model for so many other states and so that concept of civic virtue which is partly responsible for the proliferation of presidential republics. Yet, the reasoning of that concept is actually fairly alien to us, and recent geopolitical events have shown it to be breaking down. It's a bit sobering, a bit mindful, to feel the sweat on your forehead and the occasional glance of the oscillating fan through its perpetual buzzing and in the bake of that heat say, "I do not know what the future holds." Public confidence in civic institutions was a thread of the presentation, and, it's not at an all time high across the planet right now. This Westphalian waltz is making stranger steps of late. Perhaps the Belt & Road Initiative will pull it together, or perhaps humanity will become extinct, or perhaps we'll discover stable, net-positive fusion reactors and destroy all want. I suppose it remains to be seen, and the tools for the artifice of that sight remain in our hands alone.