Remember when we were taught in school that we have a Constitutional Republic?
The United States of America is a Constitutional Republic. A constitutional republic is a state in which the head of state and other officials are representatives of the people, making the state a republic. They must govern according to a constitution, which specifies and limits the government’s powers, which makes the state constitutional.
Our Constitutional Republic is broken.
It is not operating as it was designed by our founders and not according to the Constitution and laws already on the books. That makes many of the actions of our representatives both unconstitutional and illegal.
So, that brings me to the point of this essay.
What kind of government are we now operating under when our representatives refuse to be bound by our constitution and are no longer representing the will of the people?
What kind of government do we have when our president (the people’s most exalted representative) doesn’t do what the Constitution requires him to do? The constitution requires the president to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed?” When the president refuses to faithfully execute our laws, he is operating outside of our constitutional framework.
What kind of government do we have when the president establishes by decree (Executive Order or Executive Action), government policies and procedures that should be enacted by legislation? In this case, the people’s representatives in Congress did not participate in the president’s actions, he did it unilaterally, not according to our constitution.
What kind of government do we have when the creators of legislation deliberately write a bill so voluminous (thousands of pages) as to preclude even a cursory reading by those who may oppose it, and intentionally construct it to the point of ultra-complexity? Isn’t that an example of obfuscation?
Remember when the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said that “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it?” How can that statement be interpreted any other way than the public doesn’t need to know what’s in the bill. Why’d the democrats do that? That’s easy; they did it to obscure the bill’s actual mechanisms. They knew that if the public was aware of what was in the bill, it would not have passed. And even with all of the subterfuge and backroom deals that were cut by the democrats, it barely passed. The result of those shenanigans is what we now know as Obamacare.
Intentionally writing a bill to obscure its internal workings is best illustrated by the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (PPACA or Obamacare). We now have testimony by Dr. Jonathon Gruber admitting that “The bill was written in a tortured way to make sure the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) did not score the mandate as taxes. If the CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies.” He also admitted that “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage.” Congress’ motto should be, “obfuscation is our friend and public knowledge is our enemy.”
What kind of government do we have when a particularly voluminous piece of legislation is made available to the opposition only hours before a vote is scheduled? This scheme makes it all but impossible for anyone except the bill’s authors to actually understand what the legislation is supposed to do. That is the aim, to conceal and obscure the bill’s contents. What are the chances that the public will understand the bill and their representative’s vote on it? Nil.
How can one’s representative be held accountable when the impact of his/her vote can’t be assessed? Answer: that is the plan. There was never any intention of submitting the legislation to opponents (or the people) since doing so would subject it to scrutiny and the bill couldn’t withstand scrutiny.
What kind of government do we have when the titles of legislation are intentionally worded to create a false illusion of the bill’s purpose, but which bear no relation to the actual intent of the bill. Answer: they’re specifically designed to mislead the public. Practically everything that our representatives do is intentionally hidden from the prying eyes of the public.
Here’s a prime example: the PPACA (again). When patients lose their plan, and lose their doctors, because of the plan, how can that plan be termed protection? And now, with a couple of years of facts in evidence, it is plain that the majority of citizens have experienced massive increases in premiums or deductibles or both, all of which combines to make the PPACA anything but affordable. The word “misnomer” doesn’t do justice to the description of this legislation. It was deliberately named to imply a law that would protect patients and make healthcare more affordable. It has not. It was plainly another intentional obfuscation.
What kind of government do we have when votes on legislation are deliberately withheld to prevent legislators from being forced to vote, and thereby held accountable for the bill’s passage (or its failure to pass)? They do this because our representatives don’t want to be “on the record” and thereby held to account; they don’t want the public to know how they’ve voted on a difficult issue. This is especially egregious when a legislator votes in a manner he/she knows is against his/her constituent’s wishes. Harry Reid is a master manipulator when it comes to allowing or preventing votes. His decisions are purely political.
What kind of government do we have when arcane parliamentary maneuvers are used to give one party an advantage over the opposition? It further consolidates power in the hands of the majority party, and often to the determent of the country. Both parties do it and they do it to help individuals and the party, not the country as a whole.
I’m not sure exactly what we have here anymore.
What we are experiencing is not a Constitutional Republic – it’s something altogether different – and it’s certainly not an improvement, it’s far worse.
I’m thinking that what we have here is an Obfustocracy. We have a party-centered, clique-based, bureaucracy that exists to perpetuate itself, reward cronies in good standing, and keep the people in the dark about what they’re really doing with the taxpayer’s money.
I think that pretty much sums up our government as it currently exists.
An update: I thought that I was originating a new phrase – a more accurate way to describe our government the way it currently operates.
But I found that I was wrong. While it’s not in “normal” dictionaries, I did find it in the Urban Dictionary. It was described pretty much the way I’ve used it, i.e., “the state of governance that arises when bureaucracy and obfuscation become the acceptable, operational norm.”
So, someone else has apparently had some similar thoughts on the matter. As they say, great minds …