Trias Politica! Not One Office or Leader!

Over the last two days or so my 82-year old Mom has been watching a steady dose of C-SPAN television. In the days leading up to these last two I have had to shut myself up in my bedroom when she ventures over to the FOXNews Channel. To me it is appalling the propaganda crap they peddle. She knows clearly how I feel about their blatant disinformation schemes. Therefore, maybe out of compassion, she feels bad about forcing her son into his room for hours as if being disciplined in time-out. 😄 Thus, I’m guessing the recent C-SPAN viewing.

This morning she was catching C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, Open Phones, Part 2. The topic was Should Mike Pence be considered not only a hero, but also a 2024 Republican Presidential Candidate. Nearly every single caller Greta Brawner took from Republicans, Democrats, and Independents—and it was some 15-16 total callers—never really called-in with their answers to those questions about Pence. They all simply wanted to vent their personal frustrations about the January 6 Committee Hearings and how atrocious life has currently become for average Americans since mid-February 2022. No surprise, the show descended into furious callers trashing either Dems or Repubs or Biden, Pence, and Trump. It is also worthy to note that all the callers sounded like they were 50–79 years of age, mostly on the elderly end of that age group.

The subject of what Mike Pence is today, what he was Jan. 4–6, 2021, and what he might be in the 2024 Elections was none of my concern or inkling of interest. What Kathleen Parker, columnist at The Washington Post opines about Pence is precisely what I personally think about his 3-days of doing his vowed Constitutional duty to protect our democratic elections compared to his dereliction of some 1,457-days of NOT doing that duty.

No, what utterly appalled and astonished me about every single caller, of all three various parties, and what they were bemoaning and ranting on and on about was how ALL of them kept singling out one man, one party, or one office one branch as the sole cause of this nation’s current Constitutional threats and socioeconomic problems, mostly inflation, skyrocketed gas prices, and a stolen 2020 election.

People, elderly callers—granted most of them from the Southern states with Kentucky, California, and Maryland being outside of the Deep South—and anyone else who passed high school History & Social Studies (with state and federal government included), I have one simple question for your very simple minds:

When did our nation’s governmental system change from a Trias Politica model with Equal Separation of Powers… and into a Dictatorship ruled by One Man or Office!? When!?

For all Americans and non-Americans abroad, please, please, PLEASE read this definition of what it means to have a Trias Politica model consisting of Equal Separation of Powers with Checks and Balances on all three branches as advocated by French Renaissance philosopher Baron de Montesquieu and later ironed out by James Madison’s Federalist Papers then our six (6) Core Founding Fathers. Taken from the Bill of Rights Institute in Arlington, VA, it states:

In our system of separated powers, each branch of government is not only given a finite amount of power and authority but arrives at it through entirely different modes of election. Madison theorized that as it is the Constitution that grants each branch its power, honorable ambition that ultimately serves the highest interests of the people could work to maintain the separation. In other words, since Congress is not dependent on the presidency or the courts for either its authority or its election to office, members will jealously guard its power from encroachments by the other two branches and vice versa. For Madison, this organization of powers answered the great challenge of framing a limited government of separated powers: “first enabl[ing] the government to control the governed…and in the next place, obling[ing] it to control itself”.

James Madison, Federalist No. 51, 1788
from the Bill of Rights Institute

Now, what does the above, precisely articulated definition by Madison and Montesquieu implicitly spell out as well? Simple really. It means that if there are three branches of government with equal limited authority and responsibilities as well as commissioned to safeguard against abuse of authority or dereliction of their responsibilities, then no one branch is completely responsible for said abuses or dereliction. Nor do those three branches have the total authority or Carte Blanche to change its direction (popular or not) or its outcomes. In other words, since 1788 the successes or failures of the U.S. government has been and is ultimately shared by all three branches. There’s more.

Given the functions of the active legislative and executive branches with regard to publicly needed policies and laws or their refinements, and their intentions and outcomes, the legislative and executive bear more instant responsibility for the failures or successes, while the judicial branch merely checks, monitors, oversees, etc, on the sideline, if you will, the Constitutionality of enacted laws, orders, and policies. But never, in our 230+ years of governing history has our federal or 51-state governments been lead by a dictator, or one man! Never. To imply such an accusation or explicitly state such a rant is an erroneous, categorically wrong statement and is not based upon anything in our standing Constitution, Bill of Rights, or the 27 Amendments. Period.

The POTUS can never be fully blamed for America’s ills, nor can he or she be hoisted as the sole hero of our country’s glories and victories. He/She must have bipartisan help and support from both chambers of Congress, approval (or silence) from the Supreme Court, and more importantly… the general help and support of a good majority of the American people. Without those four components, no one man or President can accomplish great things. Furthermore, no one man or President can be entirely blamed for dismal disastrous outcomes either. As the great Benjamin Franklin once exclaimed during the birthing of our nation and its eventual Constitution:

“We must all hang together, or most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”

benjamin franklin, philadelphia continental congress – 1776

Sadly, however, it has become glaringly obvious that America’s general population over the last 4-5 decades has been seriously deficient and undermined in learning and applying their civic educations. Rarely do I ever hear an average ordinary American—particularly in my home state of Texas—speaking, writing rants on social-media, or calling in on C-SPAN to show off their cunning expert knowledge about our Constitution and Trias Politica model as engineered by our Core Founding Fathers. Nine times out of ten they’re blabbering about what they know little or nothing about. It quickly becomes obvious when they all single out one office or one man.

This detrimental, lethal deficiency of civic education over the last 4-5 decades culminated on January 6th, 2021 with the seditious attack and coup on the Capitol, members of Congress, and democracy itself took place. It is appalling to listen to and read. It is incredibly dangerous to the survival of our Constitutional democratic Republic. Not only is this ignorance by too many ordinary (moderate?) Americans a ticking time-bomb, but when a Cult of Personality (dictator) uses that unfettered, emblazoned ignorance and channels it into continuous disinformation, lies, mob-rule or mafia-rule by its cult leader, followed by insurrection(?)… then Judge Michael Luttig’s stern warning about Trump, his allies, and his fanatical ignorant supporters as ‘a very real, clear and present danger‘ only scratches the surface of what precisely has been and is at risk. It is…

The dismantling, destruction, and total loss of our country’s democracy, maybe forever if ordinary Americans don’t get better educated and wise up fast to cultish subversions by the “one man” and his fanatical allies and supporters. Texas is likely too far gone by now due to multiple decades of apathy and shitty K-12 educations here.

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Civil Responsibility 2016

I pointed to the classroom’s lesson hook on the board, I turned to my 8th graders and repeated the question, “Who has the power to do things in the United States?” I quickly had to add, “LEGALLY do things!

Over the years of teaching Social Studies, there is one answer I consistently get: “THE PRESIDENT!” I remain silent for as long as necessary. Why? For a number of fine reasons, comic relief is one, but mostly to gauge how extensive the class will need to cover U.S. government, and indirectly Texas state government, for the upcoming week or two. However, there is another reason I like to ask the class this hook question. Inevitably parental teaching and influence will surface between the lines of their responses, especially if I allow the students some time and freedom to challenge each other’s answer and explanation. Those opening minutes are not too unlike adult conversations over political issues you catch at town squares or workplace break rooms. Every four years these conversations, sometimes volatile debates, can be exactly the same as those my 8th graders start. 😮

Don Huffines - TX Senator

Senator Huffines reply to me about the absurd injustice of Texas businesses refusing service to any of the LGBT community on religious grounds

If all of you received a quality education in primary school through secondary school and graduated obtaining your diploma, perhaps in the upper half of your senior class or better, or had the fortune to attend four years of undergraduate studies obtaining a bachelor’s degree, then it is reasonable to assume that you know that our U.S. President does NOT have all the power to do things. There is a very good reason… it prevents one person, or one office, organization, branch, from gaining a greedy and/or abusive advantage; in a word: dictatorship. Yet, surprisingly (or not) a significant population of American adults under the age of 50 feel the U.S. President is the sole person responsible for good times and bad times. At the risk of stating the obvious, this political mentality is tragic, let alone harmful for a community’s, a state’s, or a nation’s future.

Critical thinking skills are sometimes (often?) NOT taught to our young children, adolescents, or undergraduates. This is partly due to how much freedom people and institutions are indeed given, e.g. the above image and response letter from Don Huffines, my Texas Senator, regarding the rights of business owners to refuse all services to gays-lesbians-transgendered whomever they choose. Another reason critical thinking skills are not taught or tested in primary and secondary schools is that until recently Common Core Standards in education did not exist 10-20 years ago. Thus, a generation of un-ingenious or unimaginative followers were raised. Today, 43 states have fortunately adopted Common Core Standards teaching critical thinking skills to young minds. But that is only in public education. It does not reflect the ever-increasing popularity in some states for charter or private schools, much less the home-schooling sector.

Following is a good 3-minute video about these skills and how ProCon.org promotes them in non-partisan fashion.

As I alluded to in my previous post, I have very little time at the moment to write in-depth 3,000 – 7,000 word posts on such MONUMENTAL subjects as voting and other civil responsibilities during campaign years, primaries, elections — and elections of public officers who APPOINT other officers or judges into positions of great power the general population will have no direct say in their placing — and how these officials will affect millions of citizens for years to follow. Knowing how your candidate might “appoint” other officials, collaborate with other officials, or remain consistent to their campaign positions and promises are just as crucial as your here-n-gone single vote for him or her! I feel this is a subject, a blog-post that is important enough to pause my hectic life for a few hours and share in a small way how paramount civil responsibility is to each of us… including your own children’s and grandchildren’s futures and how to make changes, improvements, even though they may be slow and gradual.

Therefore, if you would like to get a broad introduction into how to be a more informed wiser voter, I’ll recommend my post Oversimplification 2012 and its 4-part series as a starting point. However, if you’d prefer the abbreviated more shallow introduction — i.e. the version(s) many American voters prefer or only have time for — then continue reading. If you barely had time to read this far, then I beg you to try and at least watch completely the below video. It could cause you to reconsider your voting and political tendencies regarding our privileged, important, and free (or costly?) civil right to vote that each of us are gifted. Voting, and voting wisely, as well as freely, should never be ignored or taken lightly.

So many political issues and controversy are rooted in economics; its healthy or unhealthy status. This is partly why I chose Joseph Stiglitz’s video and commentary over his new book, The Great Divide. Also because he is a Nobel Prize winner in Economics and has loads of wisdom to impart!

I hope this very brief post has helped you and other voters to be a bit more informed, but informed in more objective broader ways. Please get or remain very involved in your community’s, your county’s, your municipal’s, your state’s, and your federal elections. Correspond with your elected officials frequently. Vote and vote wisely, and just as important, vote for a greater good for the greatest number!

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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