Connecting the Dots

Pundits haven’t yet fully connected the dots in front of them. Yes, presidential use of national emergency powers to spend money on things that Congress chose not to authorize is against the Article 1 of Constitution. Here is the other dot: the choice of president became more consequential as the Office of the President became more powerful. This trend explains why election campaigns have been fought ever more viciously – by politicians and citizens alike.

Emergency Powers

In any republic, much depends upon the trust of political leaders and the people that election winners will not use their power to entrench themselves at the expense of the losers. In fact, entrenchment has been a feature of many governments around the world. Leaders find an excuse to act outside of normal law – by declaring a state of emergency.

Supreme Court and Democracy

With the composition of the Supreme Court being so consequential, the Senate has an eternal obligation to confirm justices who will defend the constitution on a non-partisan basis for all people within our borders. We hope citizens will ask their senators to go beyond that and make support for free, fair, and accountable democracy one of their major confirmation criteria.

Setting Fires and Pouring Gasoline

Our constitution gives the media a central and protected role in our democracy. Our founding fathers expected the media would help hold leaders accountable and also help educate voters (and legislators) about the pros and cons of various policy options. The media have never been especially polite in doing the job the founder fathers gave them: personal attacks on political leaders started early on. In the last many years, however, many media owners have directed their staff to set fires and then pour gasoline on them.

The 2nd Amendment & Changing Times

Things have changed between the time of the founding fathers and now. On the one hand, the USA now has an extremely well-armed military force, while most state and local governments have well-armed police forces, and all of those forces are under the control of elected civilian leaders. On the other hand, the USA has a far higher rate of gun deaths and mass shootings than most citizens are willing to accept. Whether and how things should be re-balanced are open questions suitable for respectful debate.

Spite

Would you shoot your chief of police because he arrested your best friend?  Or would you malign his reputation in a very public way?  If you did, could you count on him to help you later?  Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.