Victory Lap for the Feckless

Those of us who did not sleep through civics class probably remember that the US Senate approves treaties with a 2/3 vote. Meaning 67 senators (or two-thirds of those present) must affirmatively vote to ratify a treaty. There are those of us who paid attention in civics class, then there’s Barack Obama, who decided to conduct an “agreement” with the governments of Iran and other world powers regarding that country’s nuclear ambitions.

Whatever your opinion of the “Iran Deal” is – and whether giving people who hold weekly “Death to America” protests a  path to developing a nuclear weapon is the best of ideas – is a discussion for another time. The concern we have is the process the president has used to bring about the current state of diplomatic play.

As with so many other initiatives, the president proves once again that he has no respect for the rule of law, for the Constitution he has sworn to uphold, or even basic political compromise. His administration negotiated a deal, and he took a figurative victory lap while declaring that this deal would be a path to peace.

But bypassing the elected representatives of the American people is not the right path to be on. Seeking Senate ratification requires 67 votes – meaning the president would have to subject his agreement to the Republican Senate majority for review. The same Republican Senate majority that won those elections that the president taunted them to win in 2012.

Republicans have been less than eager to voice support for the deal due to such glaring oversights as the Iranians essentially being able to self-certify that they are in compliance with the agreement. Call us crazy, but a country that is an active state-sponsor of terrorism is probably not an honest partner that should be trusted with self-certifying anything when it comes to nukes.

Rather than seeking political compromise with a majority of Senators – several of whom would need to come from the opposition party – Obama determined that the deal was an “executive agreement.” Executive agreements are essentially treaties that the executive branch pretends are not treaties for Senate review – but ARE treaties for virtually any other purpose – and would require the Senate (and House) to pass a law to void the agreement – over a presidential veto.

And voila. We have arrived at our current circumstance. Opponents of the Iran Deal in Congress and not the president are the ones who must muster a veto-proof two-third majority to disapprove the deal rather than the president being required to seek a 2/3 vote to ratify his agreement – as the Constitution requires.

If you’re of the opinion that this is somehow good policy, you probably really like Obama and really don’t like Republicans. You probably didn’t pay much attention in civics class either.

So what if a socially conservative president signed onto an international agreement to ban gay marriage or abortion in solidarity with other socially conservative South American and African countries who do not share the same beliefs that you do? You’d probably be pretty irked. (By the way, Iran would likely sign onto both of these deals too, so that should tell you something about your prospective partner in this current deal.)

Our government has a system of checks and balances that is required, not suggested, by the Constitution. The purpose is to prevent any one branch from seizing too much power. This is particularly true of an executive branch now headed by a lame duck president who will not stand for election again unless he determines that the two-term limit somehow doesn’t apply to him.

When presidents do everything they can to thwart our system of checks and balances in order to get their way, they break faith with the people they represent and the Constitution they have sworn to uphold and defend.

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One Response to Victory Lap for the Feckless

  1. Jenean McBrearty says:

    “…they break faith with the people they represent and the Constitution they have sworn to uphold and defend.”

    The key word here is faith. The Constitution set up a structure and a process to limit government and maximize individual freedom without doing away with both. Being people of the Enlightenment, they were opposed to the extremes of anarchy and authority, believing that essential rights (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness) were important enough to fight and die for and that a workable structure and process for securing those rights was humanly possible to create. Imperfect, self-interested, and morally conflicted over slavery, they nonetheless forced themselves to deal with the aftermath of a revolution: debt, turmoil, and poverty. Like others before them, these social explorers set out to construct a ship of state without blueprint or instructions with only their collective intellects and confidence to guide them. And what do we call a belief on what can only be imagined? Faith—not just faith in God, but in each other and their fellow newly created citizens of the United States.

    If we are to understand, and combat the dangerous behavior of citizens such a Obama, we must consider that he, Congress, and many Americans have lost this underlying necessary precondition of a successful republic—destroy the faith people have in themselves and their government, and you have destroyed the nation. This is no big revelation. We’ve known for ages that low morale can undermine the toughest army, that despair can produce psychic paralysis, and that those who lack hope lack the will to survive. We’ve known since the early 1800s that Socialism/Communism was the bomb-packaged-as-brotherhood that could explode rational governing systems, including our own. We’ve known for ages that early education content, fostering a balance of loyalty and skepticism, and attainment of basic intellectual skills and a values system that includes patriotism was essential to the continuation of the republic. So what happened? How and when did we give up fighting to preserve, protect, and defend the republic?

    I suggest we, as a people, lost faith in America. We allowed ourselves to become lazy, afraid and forgetful. We let our intellects go unchallenged and unskilled, our psyches afraid of common sense and discrimination because of what others might say—afraid of words and the very freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, and our best and brightest forgot that they have a duty to lead, teach, and be examples to the lazy and afraid.

    In this clear and present dangerous non-treaty with Iran, we are simply reaping what, collectively, we have sown. We have a rogue president, a cowardly Congress, and radicalized and inept Supreme Court. None of the branches of government possess the faith in the Constitution or the restraint of self-interest needed at this crucial juncture in history. The Congress and the judiciary have all the tools they need to reign in this totalitarian egomaniac, yet they demur simply because of the colors of his skin and his ideology: he’s a black clothed in red.

    As a people, we demur. We are too lazy, afraid and forgetful to do what the Declaration of Independence commands us to do when, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for a people to throw off the yoke of tyranny. We need a revolution in this country. If that means firing a second shot heard ’round the world, so be it. We’re going to have to fight our government again regardless of how loath we are to do so. I believe this sincerely, and I have faith that God will give America the leadership she so desperately needs.

What do you think?