It’s summer time, and once again our movie theatres are overrun with super-humans possessing powers to destroy, create, move metal and control minds. But summer will be over before you know it and then we’ll face a challenge even more daunting than the betrayal of Magneto or the loss of Thor’s hammer. We’ll have to deal with the 2012 election! Thinking about super heroes and politics, one obvious question comes to mind: which super-powered person would you vote for as president? To me, the answer to this question is obvious. The best choice for President of the United States (or really, any country) would be none other than Charles Francis Xavier. Here’s why.
While his psionic powers are handy, Professor X’s primary qualification for being elected President actually doesn’t have to do with his powers. The number one reason Xavier would be a great President is that he has altruistic motivations to bring peace to pretty much all life forms. Metaphysical philosopher Immanuel Kant claimed that the only truly good thing in the world is a “good will,” meaning a person who has good intentions is fairly ethically pure. Sure, we need a leader who get results, but having a serious code of ethics and wanting what’s truly best for everyone is a good place to start. Is Xavier totally selfless? Well, maybe not completely, but in contrast to other mutants and superheroes, he looks like Mother Theresa.
Professor X also is extremely sympathetic to all sorts of persecuted groups and minorities. Being a mutant and handicapped, these feelings come from genuine experience. But he’s not a pandering kind of guy. The mere existence of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters indicates he feels like the disadvantaged should be given aid, but that ultimately they’ll need to be able to produce something of value in order to contribute to society. Is Professor X a rugged individualist and by-the-bootstraps conservative? Or is this a kind of an equal opportunity form of liberalism? Perhaps it’s best to say that Professor X has liberal leanings, with moderate applications. Not surprisingly, the character of Charles Xavier was inspired in part by Martin Luther King Jr. Would King have marched in favor of mutant rights? Likely yes, because Xavier’s methods are, for the most part, in line with a brand of non-violent civil disobedience that King demonstrated can actually enact real social change.
This is not to say Professor X isn’t a man of action. And here’s where his powers of telepathy/telekinesis/mind control/thought projection and so forth would real aid him in being the leader of the free world. First of all, telepathy is a no-brainer for negotiations with other countries. You can’t fool Xavier! However, President X wouldn’t employ his telepathy to catch other countries in lies. Instead, the mere existence of the telepathy would create a totally different context for negotiations. President X’s ability to read minds is like a giant weapon he never needs to use. People would be so worried about getting caught in a lie, that they’d probably be overly honest. Sure, there would probably be some kind of prejudice against this at first. But this problem could be easily solved; President X could just send someone else like Jean Grey (A good choice for VP) and sit at home in the White House hooked up to Cerebro. Yes, Jean Grey is a telepath too, but everyone knows she’s not as powerful as Xavier. If the leaders of another a country totally refused to meet with a telepath of any kind, then President X could send Joe Biden and control his body from afar.
Which leads us to Cerebro itself, which is another fantastic aspect to an Xavier presidency. Through this device President X could monitor everything going on in the world at once! Whoa! I already hear what both conservatives and liberals alike are declaring: we don’t want Big Brother, even if it is a nice guy like Xavier! But here’s the thing, I think we totally do. I’ve seen Xavier use Cerebro. The awesome power of it hasn’t corrupted him, and it really has helped to make the (fictional) world a better place. The danger of Cerebro isn’t when President X is plugged in; it would be if someone else had a rival Cerebro. If the technology of Cerebro exists in the world, I want my commander in chief to be the expert and pro on the matter.
In Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot, the reader is presented with a world run almost entirely by robots, in which the President of everything is also secretly a robot. Essentially, in I, Robot, the machines have risen, taken over, and have also proceeded to take care of us. Asimov isn’t an alarmist about this and I, Robot isn’t some kind of cautionary tale. The fact that the robots are in charge is a good thing. And I think it would be the same with President X. He wouldn’t be peeking in your brain to check out what you really think of your girlfriend’s parents, or just how long you’re going to wait before you forgive your boyfriend for forgetting your birthday. He won’t want to know that you subscribe to both The New Yorker and Tiger Beat. No. President X will be worried about the big stuff. The main thing will be keeping Cerebro safe from bad guys.
Naturally, President X would have to create a new department to deal with telepathy/telekinesis/mind control. What would such a department be called? I’m not totally sure, but if I had my choice, I think it should be called the Department of Brain. And who would head up the Department of Brain? I think you’ve got a lot of choices, but ultimately you’d probably want someone who can never have their thoughts read or their body manipulated. Basically a gaseous entity that is pure thought. So I guess, V’Ger? Actually, on second thought, maybe they should just give it to Beast and call it a day.
So, when X-Men: First Class comes out this weekend, just remember what it’s really trying to get you to do. Vote President X in 2012!
Ryan Britt is a staff writer for Tor.com. He’s confident Professor X didn’t manipulate him into writing this because he’s wearing Magneto’s special hat.