The System Works

It’s amazing how fragile the system is, yet incredible how resilient it has been. The last couple of years have been a real time, ongoing lesson on how the American government should and shouldn’t work based on its design nearly 250 years ago. Most recently, we’ve seen the Supreme Court exercise its power. The naysaying pundits act as if we are compromised by activist judges. They claim we are unsafe because of rulings related to guns, that woman are losing reproductive rights due to rulings surrounding abortion, and that the climate is going to continue to deteriorate since rulings went against the EPA. These folks are looking at it half-empty, and therefore, incorrectly. The system works. How the system was being used was what wasn’t working. The Court simply did its job of resetting the playing field and instructed the citizens and bureaucrats how to properly interpret and run the government.

There are three branches of our government. This, like most democracies in other spots of the world, is common. The ruling executive branch, the lawmaking legislative branch, and law interpreting judicial branch. They operate to check one another. Where America is remarkably different from other democracies of the world has to do with our states. This is where the average American misunderstands our government and wrongly interprets how ours is to operate. We were designed to have a small and minimally-invasive federal government. The power structure was to always be one that favored the states. This stems back to our rich history of the original colonies, as well as the fact that we were founded as a nation going against one that exercised central power. We never sought to have a nation that had an all powerful central government overseeing and controlling smaller state governments. It was always designed to be the exact opposite.

The country began to lose its way with this in the early 1900s. First, the enacting of the seventeenth amendment in 1911. This changed how our senators were elected. They were previously appointed by local state legislatures, hence an emphasis of power on the state government. This rendered a state election remarkably important as they would decide who was sent to DC to represent your state. The goal was to take the power away from a small batch of elected bureaucrats at the state level and turn it over to the voters at the local level. It was an admirable effort, but has backfired over time. The reason it’s failed is it has swayed the attention of the electorate to DC and away from the states, thus shifting the power from the states to a central power.

The second snag in the early 1900s came via the Progressive movement through the New Deal post the Great Depression. The issue here was the vast expansion of the agency. This newly created and often referred to as the fourth branch of government, was granted sweeping power via congressional actions that could be misused by the executive and their discretion. The problem is the agencies report to no one apart from the executive based on whomever is in charge of the presidency. They have minimal accountability, and are a large swath of unelected, unaccounted for lifelong bureaucrats. This has again shifted power and importance away from states and into the hands of DC.

Another issue with America today is we the people. We are the government. Americans must understand we are a nation founded on self-governance, therefore, it’s truly our duty to be engaged with our government. We’ve lost our way, but its understandable why. The government is immensely vast. It feels out of reach and far too enormous. It makes us feel useless in our power and control, thus the reason we have placed an ungodly amount of emphasis on the presidency and which party controls congress. That wasn’t how it was meant to be. It was mean to be a government that had minimal control and power, as well as nimble size at the central DC level. That was meant to allow us to focus on our local elections and what our elected leaders in our communities were going to do or not do for us. A weak central government controlled by a constitution, combined with strong and unique state constitutions.

But, what does this have to do with the recent rulings at the court? Everything. All three of the rulings from the Supreme Court had to do with the interpretation of our constitution, rather than the issue at hand. The gun, abortion, and EPA were the byproduct of a larger component. That component being how our government is meant to operate.

For the New York conceal carry law, the fact of the matter is that the second amendment is not up for debate. It’s not a subjective interpretation. It’s part of our original ten. The Bill of Rights. And, the simple point is that NY overstepped the authority, and therefore, this is an instance where the Federal Constitution was being violated. The right is guaranteed to all Americans, regardless of what a state says. It’s part of the ten. An objective guarantee.

For the abortion issue, it’s incredibly important to note that the court did not render abortion illegal. The court simply said that unlike the gun issue listed above, there is nothing in our constitution that creates a right for a woman to receive an abortion. The federal government cannot protect a right that it has no control over in the first place. Therefore, the right itself is to be decided at the state level. This is what the founders wanted. Focus on local elections and approve or deny legislation based on what the communities say at the ballot box. Again, an emphasis on less power at the central level, and more power at the local level. The original design.

For the EPA, the court wasn’t going against protecting the environment. In fact, the court makes it clear it’s entirely appropriate for this to happen. But, the fact is the agency was misusing its power. The power here lies in the congressional level. The congress must pass a law to protect the environment, and the president must sign it into action. Or, states can protect their own backyards based on laws passed through their local governments. The illustrious fourth branch of government, or agency, cannot decide what states can and cannot do. They do not have that authority. But, congress does through laws.

In conclusion, the system works fine. We’re just learning how it’s meant to be used. The high court is not out of control. They’re simply providing Americans with guardrails and guides to use the system the right way. The system is resilient. We need not panic about rights being stripped, climates being destroyed, and safety falling to the wayside. No, we need to realize our government was designed remarkably unique, but correct. We must focus our efforts at the local level. It was always intended that way. Our state leaders should be the people we know by name. We should be able to name more of our state officials, versus federally elected congressmen and senators from states apart from ours.

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