A high school student I knew and taught when she was younger recently emailed me to ask my view of the election result. She noted that her class had been paying close attention to the vote and that everyone was shocked and depressed by the result. She wondered why Trump is so popular, asked if I was happy with the result, and asked whether the December 19 vote of the Electoral College could possibly change the outcome.
In a follow-up email, she noted that the Republicans dominate both the House and the Senate and that Trump could end up appointing a few Supreme Court justices. Then she asked:
“Aren’t the three branches supposed to check each other so nobody would have too much power? It’s a bit scary to think they’re all on the same side.”
Here are the replies I sent her:
I actually think Trump was the lesser of the two evils. He’s an ignorant bigot, but Clinton is a war criminal with blood on her hands who is responsible for literally destroying nations (including Iraq, Libya, and Syria). So I’m very happy that Clinton is not president. But that doesn’t mean I’m happy that Trump is. I didn’t vote for either of them. I didn’t vote at all, actually. The way I see it is this: Why would I want to legitimize my own disenfranchisement? Why would I want to legitimize the corrupt system that produces these kinds of candidates? I think Americans needs to stop participating in this insanity every four years because it only perpetuates the criminal operation people call a “government”.
The Electoral College system is confusing, but was designed to make sure the people of each state were represented (rather than just counting the total number of votes of all voters in the USA as a whole). Here’s a pretty good article explaining how it works: http://people.howstuffworks.com/electoral-college.htm.
Technically, the electors could put Clinton into the White House instead of Trump. But that isn’t likely to happen.
I’m a bit indifferent to whichever party holds power. I hate them both pretty equally, though for different reasons. You’re right, of course, but the three branches don’t really check each other. People have a view of Republicans and Democrats as virtual opposites. This is reflected in the language of “left” vs. “right”. But the truth is if you look at the policies across administrations, fundamentally, both parties are the same. The differences are marginal if you look at the big picture. This is most obvious with foreign policy. But even with domestic policies, like health care, there are certain assumptions both parties accept.
For example, both parties accept that the federal government has authority to force individuals to buy goods or services in the marketplace against their will (i.e., Obamacare’s mandate to buy insurance). This is a tyrannical power. Where is that authority granted to Congress in the Constitution? You can look for it, but you’ll never find it. The Supreme Court says it’s there. And we’re supposed to just accept that as fact. We’re not supposed to think for ourselves. Well, the Supreme Court says so, so it must be true! That’s what we’re supposed to believe. But read the Constitution for yourself and tell me if you can find where this power is granted to the Congress!
In fact, direct taxes on individuals (like the Obamacare penalty for not buying insurance) are explicitly prohibited in the Constitution. So the Supreme Court says it’s an indirect tax. That’s like saying up is down. The way the government uses words to justify its own usurpation of power makes the words totally meaningless. Ever read George Orwell’s book 1984? Read it! It’s like that. (War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength.) Or like Alice in Wonderland.
In fact, the Founding Fathers never even dreamed of taxing people for not purchasing a good or a service in the market. How could they possibly have granted such authority to the Congress when it was entirely beyond their imagination that a government would claim to have such power? It’s complete nonsense.
In reality, the three branches often conspire against the public to usurp ever more power that infringes on our liberty and violates our rights. Sure, there are disputes between the two parties, but these are like two heads of the same beast fighting over a carcass the two-headed beast has just hunted down and killed. The Obamacare law was modeled largely on a law passed in Massachusetts under a Republican governor (Mitt Romney), for example. Sure, the Republicans say they oppose Obamacare. But their arguments are superficial and don’t go to the fundamental level. Sticking with the example, Republicans don’t dispute that the government has authority to force you to buy something even if you don’t want it.
The Supreme Court itself noted that this means if the government wants to fight rising health care costs, it could tax people for not buying enough vegetables. To reduce carbon dioxide emissions, it could tax people for buying cars below a certain fuel efficiency standard (even if the reason they bought the car was because they couldn’t afford one with higher gas mileage). These two assume that, however tyrannical their abuse of power, government officials at least have good intentions. But what if they don’t have good intentions at all? Use your imagination to come up with other examples of how the government could use this extraordinary power.
And the sleepwalking Americans don’t even question it. They just accept it because, hey, the Supreme Court said so! Even people who are capable of thinking for themselves choose not to.
And that’s why we have a situation like we’ve seen where it came down to a choice between Trump or Clinton. It’s insane. That’s not a choice. My choice was to just not participate at all. My message to Washington was: I am not going to legitimize your corrupt and illegitimate system or your criminal operations.
Actually, I think the government not being able to accomplish anything for the next four years is the best case scenario. Not getting anything done at all is better than getting a lot of evil deeds done, as is usually the case, regardless of which party is in the White House.