No Checks + No Balance = No Democracy

The framers of the Constitution sought to attain a system of checks and balances by establishing three branches of government: 1) Legislative Branch 2) Executive Branch and 3) Judicial Branch. Each branch is designed to be a check on the other to prevent tyrannical rule, especially by Congress or the President. The balance of power between these two branches has been slowly deteriorating over the years with Congress relinquishing more and more of its power while the Presidency has gained more. With the Trump administration, Americans are witnessing a Congress that has completely abdicated is responsibility of checking the president and many seem to inaccurately believe that they are supposed to serve the president!

The executive branch was created because it was realized that strong, central government was needed to unite the states (United States!) and there was even discussion on what the title of the person in the executive branch would have. Once it was agreed that the title “President” would be used there was considerable debate about how much power the president should have. The president needed enough power to execute and enforce the laws established by Congress but not too much power that may result in tyranny. To be clear, the framers sought to prevent tyranny at each branch—hence the checks and balance system.

Candidate Donald Trump touted that he would be a “strong leader” and that he liked “strong leaders”. Many Americans embraced his “strong-man” talk and looked forward to his strong leadership. However, what they did not realize or at least overlooked was Trump’s definition of “strength”. The “strong leaders” that President Trump admires are DICTATORS! Although, they have the title of “president” like President Vladimir Putin in Russia and Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, they run their governments with an iron fist and all critics are punished. They are all-powerful and do as they please without any retribution or accountability. In Russia, the press is government-run so the news is always positive and never critical. In the Philippines, although their 1987 constitution established free press and most news outlets are privately owned, many journalists who were critical of the President or government have been harassed and/or brutally killed.

Trump has ridiculed, insulted, and demoralized the very government he was elected to lead and seems to genuinely think that this is strength. He believes that all government agencies are accountable only to him and demands loyalty. To be fair though, he was is a CEO and those who voted for him felt like it was time that a “businessman” run the country. Well that is exactly what he is doing. He is running the United States like a Trump company where whatever he says is right and he is accountable to no one…not even Congress. Congress has abdicated its responsibility to check the power of the president and acts more like the marketing department who works hard to make the CEO look good and promote the company’s brand. We, the people, are the consumers who are only able to buy what the CEO is selling because there is no competition. Those who complain about the company or its CEO are ridiculed and insulted by other consumers or even the CEO himself if you are a celebrity tweeter!

What is most disappointing is the lack of action by Congress to check the office of the president. Congress members are elected to serve their constituents not to serve the president. Regardless of party affiliation, those elected to represent their constituents at the national level must be held accountable for what they ARE doing and for what they ARE NOT doing. Instead of making excuses for all of the insults and over-reach by the executive branch, Congress needs to do their job and work together to make sure the president does his.

Thanks for “listening” to me whine. Hopefully my whining has made you think. If so, tell your friends/family/colleagues that you heard it through the Political Great Whine!

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