Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Balance of Power

I have been reading many of the articles about President Trumps' actions in this first week, then scrolling down to read the conversations that are posted under each.  While there were some comments that stayed on topic and presented a cogent contribution, much of it was name calling, on both sides, which is too bad considering the seriousness of the content of the articles themselves.

Despite the lack of civility and potent remarks, I decided to join the fray.  After reading the article which discussed the individuals who are said to be on the short list to be President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, I clicked on the "join the conversation link" and found only 16 comments, to my dismay.  I say my dismay, because the conversations I had perused earlier today and on previous days, generally featured hundreds of comments.   So, I posted the following:

It says a lot about the American people's understanding of our great democratic system (which includes the brilliant creation of the three branches of government which are supposed to act to check and balance the powers of the executive, legislative and judicial branches), when there are so few comments on this article concerning the possible Supreme Court nominee, a position which will effect our country long after the current President leaves office, while other, more inflammatory types of articles, such as those on the border wall or voter fraud or crowd size at the inauguration, generate hundreds of comments. When we vote to grant either party all the power by giving them control of the executive and legislative branch, perhaps we might consider the wisdom of allowing the minority party to control the next Supreme Court nominee. Or at least, as an electorate, make it clear to the majority party that we prefer to maintain some kind of balance of power. Remember, regardless of whether you believe Hillary won the popular vote or not, there are many people in America who did vote for her, many people in America who love their country AND think that the liberal perspective is correct, just as in 2008 and 2012, despite Obama's clear electoral and popular victories, there were still millions of people who did not vote for him and deserved to be considered when new laws were being made. I would like to think that a great country is one which treats all its people with respect, not just those in the majority, whether that majority be race, gender or political viewpoint. Just a thought, along the lines of that famous quote, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely".

That was about 4 hours ago, and since then the total tally of comments is 35, including my statement above, the 2 people who commented on my remark, and my two replies to them.  Ugh!!

I had commented a few times, both in my posts and to my friends, that I sometimes felt that Trump was running for king as opposed to president, based on the manner and content of his campaign.  After reading a few days of comments, it seems that some of his supporters were voting for king as well. They seem to believe that any liberal/progressive thoughts and ideas will now be swept under the rug, and that only Trump ideas should be entertained.  What is odd is that in their comments, many bemoaned "Obama's unwillingness to listen or compromise", yet do not hide the fact that they expect Trump to do the same.

Praising those who work to thwart the policies of the other party when they win, then deriding those in the other party who do the same to you when you win, is the very definition of partisanship.  Advocates of both parties are guilty, yet neither seem willing to stop the cycle.  Which means that our government will not operate on behalf of all the people, just those on the top for now. It is easy to be happy when all the decisions, all the policies seem to benefit you, but how will it feel when your particular needs do not mesh with those of the majority?  

One other comment I left today, was the reminder that Obama governed with a Democratically controlled congress for only two years, 2008-2010, as the Democrats lost the House in the 2010 midterms, while President Bush governed for six years, 2000-2006 with a GOP controlled congress.  Overall, during the last 16 years, 8 under a president from each party, the GOP controlled both houses of Congress for 6 years, the Dems for two, while Congress was split the other eight, six of which were from 2010 to 2016. Now, clearly, the last six years have been marked by very little progress.  Both sides acted like kindergartners, sticking their collective tongues at each other, scuttling any meaningful legislation regardless of its merit, if it included any type of compromise.  But, lest we forget, during 2000-2006, when the GOP last controlled the executive and legislative branches, we experienced the 9/11 attacks and the housing bubble which contributed to the 2008 recession.  Actually, I guess we did forget.

I remain hopeful that the Trump Administration will provide the leadership necessary to break the gridlock in Washington, perhaps even to the point of bridging the obvious gaps between the perceptions of his supporters and those who did not vote for him.  If not, perhaps for the next election cycle, we will remember the lessons of history, and choose our elected officials with an eye towards maintaining a balance of power.  Or, at the very least, to challenge them to govern as adults, and to work across the aisle to improve the lives of all Americans, knowing that each party represents half of the electorate.     

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