People often ask me, ‘Do you support Trump?’ And when I pause they will bark, ‘It’s a simple question!’ But what the question they are asking implies is, ‘Do you pledge blind loyalty to our leader,’ or, ‘Will you put this scoundrel in jail?’ I would like to propose that this is a category error.
The US Congress is not there to ‘support’ or ‘not support’ the President. The US Congress, by Article 1 of the US Constitution, is a separate branch of government. I know a lot of people think that this is just a tricky dodge of the question. (I’ll answer the other question later) But it isn’t, really. It goes to the heart of our democracy.
Senator Lindsey Graham has become like a Deputy Prime Minister in this Parliament of Fools (our current Congress). After this latest Syria fiasco Lindsey is slowly learning that being Deputy Prime Minister means you work at the pleasure of the Prime Minister (Trump). You do not have any real power. In recent years we have abandoned Article 1 of the US Constitution and have given away these powers to the executive branch. The President has far more powers now — executive orders, war powers, trade and tariffs, emergency acts – because apparently it was too hard for the Congress to handle these functions. Congress has given some other powers to the judiciary. The problem is we have the wrong people up there.
In Federalist No. 51 Hamilton (or Madison?) says ‘In order to lay a due foundation for that separate and distinct exercise of the different powers of government, which to a certain extent is admitted on all hands to be essential to the preservation of liberty, it is evident that each department should have a will of its own…’ We have abandoned this principle. Democrats swear allegiance to Obama, Republicans swear allegiance to Trump. It should not be so.
While I am canvassing no one asks me, ‘Do you support Justice Roberts!’ because everyone realizes this is a silly question. The Supreme Court is a different branch! Yet the Presidency and Congress now seem to be ripped from 18th century England. This is what our founders wanted to avoid.
It is time Congress once again became a separate and co-equal branch of government. With a will of its own.Independent of the executive branch. When Congress realizes it does have constitutional powers, and it is not just a place to wander the hallways asking what is for lunch, then it will be a check on the executive. We used to have a strong Congress, and when we did we got big things done, even in times of heated rhetoric. It’s time we have one again.
By the way, if you wanted an answer to the first question, I did not vote for Trump, nor will I.