The vibe on campus this morning is an electric one. It feels as if we are walking into the halls of higher learning of a new America.
A lot has happened since the race for the president began. Ideas and policies of both sides have been debated and presented to the public, social media has been ablaze with cheers of excitement and cries of woe, and one thing in particular that I found a bit troubling; blame being shed solely on one office of our government in particular, The President of the United States.
Over the past month, it has not been uncommon for me (and probably many of you) to log onto Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or any other social media outlet and see claims resembling the following,
“If Obama gets reelected, we are in for another 4 years of suffering and bad economy.” Or,
“If Romney gets elected, Women and the LGTB community are going to lose rights.” And on more than one occasion I have seen (from individuals on both sides),
“If (enter either candidates name here) wins, I’m moving to Canada!”
Now, while I can appreciate the fervor of emotion around this issue and am glad to see that we had such a great level of political involvement both here on campus and across the nation, I have to humbly object to all of these claims and cries of woe.
One thing that frustrates me in regards to national level politics is the apparent belief that the office of President is a magical one that has the power to change every bad or undesirable thing about the state of our nation, its economy and our social issues with the snap of a finger or the wave of a wand. This is simply not the case.
Anyone that believes or posts something about the president (Be it our current president or any other) as having failed our nation, not kept promises, or that they are going to be the end of our nation either is forgetting the other branches of government or is ignorant to how the political system in America works.
Separation of powers is a fundamental (and sometimes halting) part of our nation’s political structure. As many of you probably know, our nation’s power is divided between three branches, Judicial (the Courts that interpret the laws), the Legislative (Congress and the Senate that make the laws) and the Executive (the President and his cabinet, etc.). No one branch has supreme power to make a decision on its own and have it become law.
If we want to look to blame someone for something that we do not believe was handled correctly, a promise that was not kept, or an issue that passed into law that we do not agree with, then we need to look beyond the office of President to the other two branches of government as well.
Aside from an Executive Order, all laws must be passed (in Identical form) in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. This is often the hardest part of getting any law passed. Often we find such a staunch division within these chambers that little is accomplished. In fact, each session of congress in recent history has passed less and less laws into effect than the preceding session. This is in part to partisanship disagreements, personal beliefs, party allegiance, personal stakes in issues be they financial or otherwise, and any other number of things.
So to say that the President failed in A or passed B without support is to turn a blind eye to the voting record in both The House of Representatives and the Senate. It also ignores the Judgeship records should an issue have been taken before any of the judicial levels. This is a very important step as the courts are charged with determining the constitutionality of the law and either upholding it, or striking it down. It is also important to know that the expenditure of tax funds (Government’s budget) is only able to be spent/ allocated by Congress. Any law that requires the use of funds must be introduced in and approved by the House of Representatives as they hold the “Power of the Purse” according to the Constitution. So to blame a president for our nation’s debt without also adding blame to the congress (which had to approve the expenditure of funds and essentially approve our increasing national debt) is demonstrating a misunderstanding of how government works and who actually has the power to spend our tax dollars. It is not the president, it is congress.
Now, I realize that this is the shorthand version of how government works, but I hope my point has still been successfully made. If you’re going to complain about the president, be sure that you have also studied out the actions of congress, the senate and the courts in regards to the issues that are causing your frustration or dissatisfaction. It may surprise you to see the real cause of what has or hasn’t happened in America and why.
Hopefully we can all have the same drive that we have felt during the presidential race and devote as much time to studying out the issues and where the votes/ decisions of all branches of government fall on these issues as we do to our posts on social media.