An Independence Day Message From President Garfield

Before being elected President, while serving in Congress, James Garfield stated at the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1876:

James A Garfield 250p“Now more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature … If the next centennial does not find us a great nation…it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.”

I’m sure that quote will garner its fair share of “amens,” especially among the political right. However, I expect most of those “amens” will be predicated on the supposition that it’s “the other guy” who has tolerated ignorance, recklessness and corruption in Congress by his vote for, and support of, “the other party.” You might want to hold up on passing judgment just yet, and look at some numbers first. Continue reading “An Independence Day Message From President Garfield”

The Three Unequal Branches of Government

The Three Unequal Branches 295pI expect we’ve all heard the phrase, “three coequal branches” used to describe the composition of our federal system of government. In fact, we’ve probably heard it so many times that we don’t even pay attention, we just accept it as fact and move on. But, is it true? Are the three branches of our federal government really “coequal?

When that phrase popped up in an article that I was reading a few nights ago, something rose up inside of me and said “no, the three branches are not coequal.” When I found the phrase being used in another article the next day, I started to ponder just how unequal the branches of our federal government really are.

The three branches of our federal system of government are legislative (Congress), executive (President) and judicial (supreme Court 1). This is the order in which they appear in the U.S. Constitution, and it is also their ranking in the power structure. Continue reading “The Three Unequal Branches of Government”

Wrong-Way Republicans

Wrong Way 295pThe Conservative Right seems to operate from a general assumption that things keep getting worse because liberals are in power and democrats win all the elections. However, I got curious and did a little research on the topic. I discovered that over the past 20 years, republicans have held 57% of the control of our federal government – 68% if you add in the Supreme Court – that’s a 68/32 split in favor of the republicans. Among the union states, the elephant party holds complete control (legislature and governor) of nearly half the states (23) – more than three times as many as the dreaded donkeys (7). It turns out that America is overwhelmingly republican-controlled.

So why hasn’t so much as one unconstitutional federal agency or program been abolished, or defunded, or even had its funding reduced, or at least not had its funding increased? And why haven’t any of the states begun to dismantle their social welfare programs, eliminate regulatory bureaucracies, significantly reduce taxes or implement anything remotely resembling what was once known as the conservative agenda? Continue reading “Wrong-Way Republicans”

Leading Without A Compass

I recently ran across a bit of information that at first confused me; then frustrated me; then made me question; then it made a light come on; then it brought my view of our so called ‘conservative’ Republican leaders in Congress to a new low.

Some years back, I ran across the Freedom Index published by the John Birch Society. The index is published once every 6 months and tracks key bills in Congress and the votes of each member of Congress on those bills. Votes are scrutinized for adherence to the U.S. Constitution, sound fiscal policy and a traditional foreign policy of avoiding ‘entangling alliances.’ Members of Congress are then rated from 0% to 100% for adherence to this standard. Continue reading “Leading Without A Compass”