Republicans are at each other’s throats over their Presidential nomination. Democrats are ruthlessly fighting as well. But if we all step back for a minute and take a breath, it shouldn’t be this way. The Presidency was never meant to be so powerful. But the Presidency as a powerhouse is really a proxy for an out of control Washington that has overstepped its bounds in all areas.
We have five black robed masters who have determined that they and they alone can set the boundaries of morality for 320 million people. Instead of trusting the people themselves or the duly elected representatives of the people in fifty semi-sovereign states, these five black robed masters have determined that a heterogenous nation will be homogenous sharing the same values across the fruited plan.
So naturally all sides now have a very vested interest in the election of the President who nominates our black robed, life tenured masters.
At the same time, we have a federal bureaucracy that involves itself down to the street level of small municipalities, demanding compliance with regulations set in far off Washington that are shaped by a field of lobbyists with vested financial interests for various trade groups that must justify their existence. Every public pool needs a handicapped accessible chair on the off chance that on one occasion someone might need it to get in a pool. Dish washer detergent is regulated to make it less effective in the name of the environment. The zika virus spreads and the government wants to spend millions to study it instead of spraying DDT to kill the damn mosquitos.
The President presides over this every growing bureaucracy and shapes both amounts of funding and direction of funding as well as regulatory language that can affect small shops on the fading main street of a small town as well as Fortune 500 companies.
The tax code continues to grow and become more complicated. The President can write executive orders to shape various policies with a congress that does little to combat him. Cranes and buildings rise over the nation’s capitol as more and more millionaires and billionaires take up residence there to be close to the power. Washington is having a building boom to rival third world countries with newly discovered oil reserves.
It was never supposed to be that way. Washington was never supposed to be that powerful. The future of the country, of us, and of our children should not have to depend on the election of one politician or even congress or the federal courts.
The founders intended this nation to have both vertical and horizontal federalism with the states ceding limited powers to Washington, D.C. The system has gotten out of whack and neither party has any interest in devolving power back to the states. Frankly, few of the states have an interest in doing that either. The states want Washington to call the shots and send largesse back to the states. But neither congressmen nor bureaucrats in Washington should really have any say over street paving in a town 1,000 miles away from the District of Columbia, but they do.
The founders of this country lived and died with very real ideas we now find abstract. You may look at the third amendment to the constitution and wonder about housing soldiers. It was a very real issue for the founders. The amendments to the constitution, including the second amendment, were not abstractions to them. Their grandfathers had participated in the Glorious Revolution, which was closer in time to them than we are to them. The ideas mattered and they were willing to die for those ideas.
Along with those ideas, the founders had a real distrust of direct democracy. They knew the nature of man. Whether they were deists or not, they had a very Christian world view on mankind and knew that men could be vain, licentious, corrupt, lying, and greedy. Mankind is full of sinners and pitting sinners against each other in power meant fewer sinners riding roughshod over the people. The best way to do this was to divide power through a series of checks and balances and divisions of power between states and a federal power and between institutions within each state and at the national level.
The founders, were they here today, would know that the best way to “make America great again” is not to send a strong leader to Washington make it work, but to redistribute Washington’s power back to the states and recalibrate the powers between the people, the states, and Washington.
Five black robed masters should not be able to redefine a multi-thousand year old institution because it makes less than 10% of the population happy. One President should not be able to direct an education bureaucracy to encourage gender neutral bathrooms in local schools across America. The bureacracy itself should not be able to redefine a mud puddle as a navigable waterway over which to exercise regulation of a person’s backyard. And no congressman should be able to direct a vanity building project back in his home state. The fight for the Presidency should not mean as much as it does because the Presidency itself should not mean as much as it now does. The way to fix Washington is to force it to surrender power back to fifty states and their citizens.
The grueling fights should happen there, at the local and state level, where the government closest to the people can govern best with the people keeping a watchful eye.