Back on Facebook, the site I love to hate. Someone who ought to know better is saying “Here’s a suggestion: To solve all our problems, we should call a general election and let the people decide what should be done. Let’s go back to running the government by the people! Sounds simple to me!”
And getting the response: “What’s simple to us is hard for our elected officials!”
It sounds moronic to me, but hey, what do I know? Because it’s not hard for our elected officials. It’s impossible and illegal for our officials — elected and otherwise. There is no such thing as a national general election other than the regularly scheduled ones in November. Nor have we any mechanism to allow a plebiscite in which everyone gets to vote his or her opinion and The Government has to Abide by That Vote.
How would that work, exactly? To which part of our legal system does this election belong? Judicial? Legislative? Executive? I’m pretty sure — feel free to correct me if I’m wrong — we have to pass laws via the legislature. To change laws, we have to get rid of old laws via the judicial branch and/or enact new laws through Congress.
If you don’t like the bozos in congress, don’t vote for them. What? You didn’t vote? Well then. I guess you got what you deserve.
The executive branch (aka The President) can’t enact laws. He can use his influence to try to get Congress to create laws he likes. He can veto proposed laws although presidents do not use their veto much. It’s a thing. Oh, and congress can overturn a veto if enough members of congress can agree. Like that’s going to happen.
So — after we have this entirely illegal “public opinion election,” who will enforce “the will of the people”? The National Guard maybe? Guns and tanks in the street?
Returning to Facebook, I post a little something. Because I love it when I absolutely, positively know no one is going to pay any attention to me. I say: “You can’t just ‘call an election’ in the U.S. We have scheduled elections. The Constitution specifies how and when elections will be held. You can vote down a government in England and in other parliamentary systems, but you cannot do it here.”
Everyone ignores me. Probably because I’m so smart.
So what can you do about all the stuff you don’t like? Between scheduled elections, you are free to gripe, whine, wail, argue, rant, piss and moan … but you can’t vote until the next scheduled election.
It’s one of several fundamental differences between our form of government and parliamentary governments (most of the rest of the free world). Americans are always saying how superior our government is, yet they don’t seem to know how it works. Hmm.
I love it when folks call for an election to change something they don’t like. As if the United States has ever or could ever “just call an election” and “let the people decide.” Even in a parliamentary government — which is nominally more responsive to public opinion — you can’t just “call an election” anytime citizens are displeased with what’s going on.
Somewhere in every government throughout history a lot of citizens are/were/will be unhappy with whatever the government is or isn’t doing. If you had an election every time a bunch of people were mad at the government, we’d always be in the middle of an election. Wouldn’t that be fun!
You are not required to like what’s going on, but if you want to participate, you need a fundamental grasp of how your government works. The boring stuff you
ignored learned in grammar school. Today, you’re all grown up. Your government may be boring, but it’s the only one you’ve got. I know. It’s not fair.
Feel free to ignore me. Everyone does. I should never read anything on Facebook. It just pisses me off.