THAT BORING STUFF YOU IGNORED IN SCHOOL

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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?

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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.

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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.

35 thoughts on “THAT BORING STUFF YOU IGNORED IN SCHOOL

  1. Well I don’t live in your country but I do agree with you……in Australia we do have a Parliament form of Govt and we from the day of the elections start planning for the next one…..nothing is ever perfect but we somehow manage to survive their collective incompetence.

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  2. “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.”

    True. You can never do big things very easily. It has to be planned, in huge span of time. Whoever says those kinds of things, may not have been paying attention to classroom discussions.

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    • I’m pretty sure that anyone who says anything like that hasn’t a clue about how our government is designed and never read or understood the constitution. This is basic stuff. Nothing obscure. Everyone who lives in this country should understand how their government works, without regard to party affiliation. Otherwise, you’re just a fool.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah. I’m from the Philippines, though. But I understand what you mean because in any electoral government, you can’t just call an election instantaneously. I remember in our Philippine History during the Martial Law period when the dictator Ferdinand Marcos called for a snap election in late 1985, but the election itself was conducted in February.

        So yeah. Nobody can “just call for an election” because it takes time and needs thorough preparation.

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    • I’m reminded of something my political science professor in college once told us… we could elect anyone from the most ultra liberal Communist to the most ultra conservative neo-Nazi to be our President, and it ultimately would mean very little in the results we’d get from out government. Like any good baseball manager, they get too much credit when things go good, too much blame when they go bad. I think this is why Presidents (particularly the ones of my lifetime, a nice bipartisan bunch if there ever was one) like to use their power as Commander in Chief of the military so much… it’s the one surefire way they actually can throw their “leader of the free world” weight around.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m pretty sure our system of checks and balances was designed to limit the power of any individual — or group. We had just dumped good old King George. We didn’t want to install a tyrant of our own. Overall, it has worked out reasonably well. The military thing is a big loophole, but that was supposed to allow the President to move quickly in a national emergency. It wasn’t permission to have private wars. Overall, though, our system pretty much hamstrings congress, the courts, and the president pretty effectively. We are intentionally do-nothing.

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  3. It’s funny but I’ve found the people who scream the loudest that we need to go back to the founding fathers and follow the constitution strict to the letter are the ones who have the least amount of knowledge about the founding fathers and the constitution.

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    • I think that’s the way it has always been, right from the beginning. A lot of people are convinced “it used to be better – different” but it wasn’t. It has been the same since George Washington took office. They loved him until he was in office. Then everyone hated him, hated his party, his policies, the laws he passed. Everything. He stayed for only two terms because NO ONE could convince him to stay for another. He hated it body and soul and just wanted to go home.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Actually I can never understand your electoral system. I do know that it is very expensive to run. That it takes forever to get to the actual election. We have them every 3 years here. One person can bring down our government when the majority is so slight and then we go to the polls. There is a limitation on the amount that each candidate can spend on campaigning and the time frame is usually only about 6 weeks. More than enough. Unlike Australia it is not compulsory to vote.

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    • We used to get from nominations to elections in a few weeks, but now the pre-election nomination process is a series of local elections with national implications. It’s not part of the government … just the way the parties have decided to waste our time and money. Our actual government is not much different from yours. Customs differ because, without putting too fine a point on it, our political process is whacked and totally out of control.

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  5. Well, you just demonstrated how to be ignored in FB if you are writing about political things. 1) State facts. 2) Keep it short. 3) Proper grammar.

    No one knows what to do with that! Emotional diatribes full of fallacies are needed!

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