Constitutional Stability

Same topic, different views

By Tim Baldwin and Joe Carbonari

By Tim Baldwin

The Constitution creates a wonderful system with tremendous stability. The flux of political parties, politicians, agencies, and bureaucracies do not destroy the system.

Virtually every presidential race in American history is described by the candidates, media and voters as “the most important election of our time.” 2016 is no different. Trump claims that if Clinton is elected, America will be destroyed. Clinton has used different language but has inferred the same.

In truth, the American people and states respectively have more power than the president could imagine, and the president cannot do much effectively without the consent of the governed. If the people want the system to work, they will make it work. If they lose trust and or see the system needs changing, they can abolish or amend it.

Ironically many people see the American presidency like a monarchy, with untouchable power to unilaterally raise taxes, change laws, manage the economy and heal the land. But this is not how the Constitution delegates authority to the president and it is not how it works in practice. The system requires cooperation of Congress, Supreme Court, state governments and people collectively.

Whether Trump or Clinton is elected, there will be many upset Americans. But our anger alone is not likely to collapse the system. It would take much more, like economic collapse or foreign invasion. We hope Trump or Clinton don’t contribute to those.

By Joe Carbonari

Abraham Lincoln’s “Four score and seven years…”  has stretched to 240, but the question remains: can a nation “so conceived and dedicated … long endure?” The “so conceived and dedicated” referred to “the proposition that all men are created equal. The implication is that they should be treated that way … race, gender, and station at birth notwithstanding. It was, and is, a matter of decency.

For the vast majority of the life of our nation we have stood as a beacon of decency and opportunity in the world. We have fought great wars, and some not-so-great, to develop and maintain that position. Should we surrender it now because of frustration, short-sightedness, and willful ignorance? Let’s not.

Let’s end our obsession with self and return to the cooperation from which all human progress has grown. We are part of an interrelated world community. We do not toil alone, nor do we benefit in isolation from those distant. Yes, we must take care of ourselves and our own first, but not without consideration to the communities and societies within which we live, and among whom we compete. Our social bonds have become stretched and weakened. We have turned inward in our discontent. This does not serve.

Too many of us have abreacted our responsibility to give of ourselves for the greater good. Our leaders are too seldom drawn from our best and our brightest, and as followers we are, on balance, distressingly under motivated and ill-informed. Fortunately, our salvation lies within ourselves.

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