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February 22, 2019

1/30/2019 1:08:00 PM
Our republican government
From the editor

We elect presidents and representatives to govern: to meet and agree on policies to move the country forward. Legislation is decided upon and passed by majority votes. Presidents are not elected to rule by fiat. Whatever is promised to supporters in an election campaign becomes law through the give and take of the legislative process. Not all rhetoric becomes law or national policy.
Being insistent and banging loudest on the table does not make a president right. George W. Bush was 125 percent all in for war with Iraq in 2002 and 2003. He was also 100 percent wrong – indeed, he and his staff deliberately misled us: They lied to achieve their own purposes. Those lies have caused soldiers and civilians alike in this nation, and other countries even more so, death and destruction to this day, with no end in sight. That president wasn’t weighed down by the consequences of his single mindedness.
To govern is to work with and not only to respect but to follow the will of the majority. Championing a minority-held position and expecting to have the opposing side cave is an odd approach to negotiating, an altered way to reach a deal.
In poker, a game with rules that the players obey, one, as Kenny Rogers sang “ knows when to hold them / know when to fold them.” You don’t sit at the table and refuse to leave. You play by the rules. You don’t turn the table over when you have a losing hand. And you don’t insist on new or special rules midway in.
Again and again President Trump has shown that he is not interested in the game of republican representative government. He swore to uphold the Constitution, which outlines three co-equal branches of government. His actions, however, are unilateral and his words are disdainful, proving an ignorance of the institution and a lack of respect and concern for the millions of people who are the backbone as well as the face of the federal government No campaign promise trumps the process or the product—the decisions reached by elected representatives.
Leaders craft joint agreements reached in negotiations. Negotiations mean shared development. Being principled is one thing. Willfully having 800,000 people suffer as proof of your rigidity is insensitive and tragic. It is not honorable.
“Majority rules” is said in meetings throughout the county every day by people of all ages, including kids in classrooms. Kids call holdouts who refuse to work together loners at least and bullies at most. They don’t call, or elect, them their leaders. And, they learn, whether quickly or eventually, not to play with or include such people in their circle.

Related Links:
• Kenneth Stern

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