Now that everyone has had time to think about the results of the election in this country, maybe it is time to ask will it matter? Maybe just as important, where do we go from here?
Many people think the President of United States can just step in and make whatever changes he or she may think. However, we got rid of kings almost two hundred years ago and most people would not want to return to that form of government. Therefore, we must remember that whomever is elected president is not a miracle worker nor are they given unlimited powers to do anything they want. Well, that is true at least as long as the other two branches of our government, the legislature and the judicial, exercise their constitutional authority to provide a check and balance to the executive branch. It is that balance of power that forms the foundation of our government and one that we need to maintain.
Speaking of power, what power does the president actually have if they just cannot go out and do whatever they want? Possibly the best known is the president’s power as Commander-in-Chief to order military action or to stop military action. Since the Congress still controls the budget for the military, it is not as unilateral as you might think. After all, you cannot fight a military action without funding. However, the President, not Congress or the military can decide which conflicts to become involved in.
The President can also decide whom to appoint to many high level positions. Although these appointments may need to be approved by Congress, the President, not Congress gets the ball rolling by deciding whom to appoint.
The President can also decide which laws to enforce and which to ignore. However, doing so without some good reason can result in substantial and negative backlash from the public.
The President has the power to persuade Congress to do or not do any action. We have seen many examples of this over the years, but most recently concerning passing new health care laws and some of the recent decisions over taxes.
The president also has power over foreign affairs including negotiating with foreign governments. In the past, the United States has used this power to accomplish things like the opening of trade with China or helping to tear down communism in Eastern Europe such as the tearing down of the Berlin Wall.
We would like to think that every president wields their powers in the best interests of the Constitution, the United States, and its people. Of course, we get the opportunity every four years to get rid of any president we don’t agree with through the peaceful process of voting.
That process works only as long as the American people are awake and that they study the issues that are important and the views of the candidates on those issues. Unfortunately, many people do not really know the issues. Rather, they merely vote along party lines without any idea about who the candidate really is or what they stand for. In fact, many people simply vote on name recognition which is one of the reasons why candidates spend such huge amounts of money on their campaigns. Of course, there are many people who vote based on what their other family members or friends say without any real investigation about the candidates or issues on their own. Finally, there are many people who just do not vote out of apathy, their conviction that their vote simply does not count.
In our recent election here in the United States, several states declared a ‘winner’ before all write-in votes were counted. What does that say about how the states and even the country feels whether your vote is important or not? Even if the final count could not possibly change the decision as to who the ‘winner’ is, should such announcements be delayed to ‘show’ that everyone’s vote counts?
That is all I have to say today. I am sitting in a hospital waiting room as my wife undergoes some exploratory surgery related to her cancer. The news I got just a few moments ago is bad. While we will continue to fight until the end, the light at the end of the tunnel has receded. I only hope that the future of our country which has also been troubled for almost as long as my wife’s cancer diagnosis (some might say longer) stands a better chance of recovery.
I’m still hoping for a real leader who can inspire our nation to turn around the cancer that has been eating at our country’s greatness and returns it to the leadership role in the world it once had, a world where we can all help raise the lifestyle of all people around the world, a world in peace.
C’ya next time.