Along with all the sweeping changes President Obama has already enacted, we should have expected some new terms to pop up in the Presidential lexicon. Certainly George W. Bush gave us a lot of interesting terms in an eight-year span that were nine times out of ten born via a slip of a cog or his tongue during a speech. In the first week of Obama’s Presidency, though, we managed to get a seriously intelligent term that’s never been used often if ever in Presidential circles. The term “Abundance of Caution” might just end up being the most relevant catchphrase to describe America as of the moment and likely next two years while Obama struggles to change it otherwise. But before the term can spread out there, we’ll have to back up and see why it was used to describe the redo of the Presidential oath between Justice John Roberts and President Obama.
It might be a bit bizarre to think that the term “abundance of caution” was born because of nitpicking by Constitutional lawyers. It proved to us all that when you become President, every little slip-up you make will be scrutinized to the core by those who assimilated U.S. law via the OCD method. As alarming as that may be, hearing that our President recited the oath again (with proof on audio) gave us a useful phrase that probably came from those same OCD-afflicted legal experts.
You’ve probably never heard “abundance of caution” used anywhere prior unless you’ve worked in the financial industry. Its origins come from the lending world where the lender requires more collateral up front during a substantial loan to avoid being taken to the cleaners in case the individual asking for the loan can’t pay later. Keep in mind this kind of abundance of caution is generally for big business loans and not the average smaller loans people have to take out now to survive through the end of the month. The small loan places in America for struggling families don’t always seem to have an abundance of caution, even though those struggling families are the ones most apt to not pay back the loan on time due to being short on cash.
Well, if abundance of caution becomes moot under a lot of lenders in light of how out-of-control lending was part of what put America into an economic tailspin in the first place, it’s probably just as well that the term jumped ship over to the legal world. In that world, it might even make more sense than in finances when lawyers almost always live in a world of caution with every word uttered.
When it comes to applying it to the Constitution and the Presidency, you could nearly place a parallel metaphor with the lending world and how a President is making promises to make good on issues he or she says they’ll change while taking allegorical collateral in the process. Once I saw the oath flub the morning of Obama’s election, I knew right then and there someone would make a big deal of it and start to equivocate it to being illegitimate. Fox News’ Chris Wallace reportedly scoped out the possibility of Obama having to do it again in order to avoid legal repercussions down the road.
In that regard, this term may have not only played Musical Chairs from the finance world to the legal world, but also into the world of the Presidency itself from now on as we realize how precise everything has to be without fear of getting the new President wrapped into mounds of red tape.
Does “abundance of caution” really have to stay in those above worlds, though? Chances are good you’ll hear about it ending up in general American slang later this year–and one that sounds intelligent for a change. Will we see people hording groceries and other fortifications every month in their homes as an abundance of caution? How about throwing all those maxed out credit cards into a shredder and using prepaid debit cards instead as an abundance of caution? The possible uses are endless in the way general life operates today in America.
All of the caution we have to live by in the USA is the result of abundance in order to have any sense of peace any more. So many potentials are out there now for the average citizen getting embroiled in a million different fiascos that can potentially keep them working with lawyers for the rest of their lives or paying off debts through the same means. You hate to use the old quotes from our mothers and other cautious relatives telling you to be careful the minute you step out your front door. And yet if you don’t hear about something happening to somebody every day just stepping out their door, you think it an unusual day lately.
Whether you choose to pin all that added caution as the result of unseen evil forces working overtime or just because America has overcomplicated things to the point where you can’t do anything without having the strong potential of a major problem, the use of “abundance of caution” could very well define us and make things work more efficiently. Perhaps President Obama will live by the phrase through his Presidency, even though he already has a cool way of handling problems so they don’t become exponential.
Consider then that “abundance of caution” is a state of mind that keeps us on our toes during our day-to-day business. Thinking ahead about potential pitfalls and even keeping a positive frame of mind you have everything under control could make all the difference in keeping things from hitting the fan.
Really, President Obama’s existing state of mind already defines “abundance of caution” to a tee where we could learn a lot from his own work approach and ideas. So despite sounding like your mother, here’s wishing you an abundance of similar caution the minute you step out your front door tomorrow–and a continual wish to keep your thinking cap on abundantly while interacting with the world…