Is it possible for “democracy” to address matters that affect communities, states, and even the world in a way that is rational, and not overwhelmed by emotions, even madness? Is it possible even in a republic? Or a tyranny or oligarchy?
Virtually all Democrats in Congress (both House and Senate) hate Donald Trump. They claim to be deeply concerned about his power. Not just his lawbreaking, scofflaw ways, but his day-to-day actions.
There are also a good many Republicans in Congress who likewise hate Trump, and also say they are concerned about his power and how he abuses it.
In a rational world, what could be done? Setting aside partisan political loyalties? For the previous eight years, it was mostly Republicans who feared presidential power. And for the eight years before that, it was mostly Democrats who were concerned about the character, integrity, political actions and power of the guy sitting at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Rationally, while both sides have problems with who is actually sitting in the White House, they BOTH seem to be concerned about one thing. That is, the power of the President. For different things, and not all at the same time, they agree that the President has too much power. And misuses, abuses, that power.
So would not the rational approach and answer be to limit the power of the President: regardless of who is in office? To take away the powers that have been accruing in the Oval Office since before there WAS an Oval Office.
Right now, Congress has a majority – maybe even a supermajority, who do not like Trump and how he uses the power he has. For once, you have people on both sides who resist and express their concern about the power of the White House. Power which The Donald has and is abusing. While demonstrating that he is incompetent at using them. For rational people – truthful about what they believe – the answer should be simple.
Reduce the powers of the President. Not in dribbles and drabs, but in large chunks. All it takes is a veto-proof vote in the two houses, to be able to override what can be assumed to be a presidential veto. Take away much or all of his power to order military operations, to negotiate with foreign governments – even to tweet! To put people into acting positions in the executive branch, to fire them, to do ANYTHING that is not specifically and in detail authorized by Act of Congress. Limit his ability to write Executive Orders. Limit the ability of his agencies to issue Federal Regulations without first having them approved word-for-word by Congress. Limit the ability to either spend money OR prevent that money from being spent. (Even if it is just given away to whomever Congress wants to give it to. At home or abroad.)
Limit the power which the president can exercise to the exact restrictions stated in the US Constitution. Sure, it would be a massive disruption in political and public life. But people would adjust quickly. And the Congress would have saved the democracy and what is left of the republic.
It would not be simple, it would not be easy. And there would be legal fights right up to the Supreme Court. (Unless the Act of Congress also specifically exempted the Supreme Court from having appellate power for this reduction in power. Congress does have the Constitutional power to do so.)
Oh, it would require compromise after compromise in Congress. But we are told that is exactly what they are supposed to do. In their eyes, both Democrat and Republican, it would “save the Republic.” Call it the Compromise of 2020.
It would be the rational thing to do for people who supposedly represent their constituents (ALL of their constituents, not just the ones who voted for them). It would be the rational action for people who supposedly put national interests above personal and political interests.
So of course, it will never happen. Never ever.
Why? Because it isn’t the power of the presidency that they fear and hate. It is not the Republic that they seek to preserve. Or even democracy.
Rather, it is two reasons they will not do this:
- Love of power, privilege, and wealth
- Fear of accountability
Congress as a whole – and most of its members fear losing the power and the privilege held by them. That is what they seek to preserve, for them and their successors (including family and their fellow elite). And the wealth that power gives them. Power not just over their “fellow” Americans – power over virtually everyone in the world. Maybe not the total power that they can hold over people living in the Fifty States, but certainly the power of death.
Now, they could have that power, privilege, and wealth without having a powerful POTUS. After all, look at Britain. Or Germany. Or Japan.
But they also fear being held accountable. That is where the President comes in: he is their scapegoat. They “authorize,” pay for (using stolen money, of course), and influence the Executive Branch that exercises the power directly. But Congress – and therefore each of its members – is “hands-off.”
It is like the person who believes it is wrong to hunt or raise cattle or chickens because it is cruel and primitive. But still buy steaks and hamburgers and chicken and chicken nuggets at the store and the fast food place. They didn’t abuse or harm or kill the animal – but they enjoy the power and privilege of eating it.
Of course any rational person would see the fallacy of that claim of “not my fault” and “he did it, not me.” But we’ve already established that Congress is incapable of rational thinking or action.
So why isn’t Congress rational? Why are they criminals? That must be a subject for a future commentary.