For the first time in my life I am ready for an election season to be over.
I enjoy politics and therefore I have always enjoyed the discussions that surround elections. In recent years this has less to do with the differences between Democrats and Republicans and more to do with thinking through a libertarian and free market response to the issues. Through this lens it becomes obvious that fundamentally there is little difference between the two parties because they both believe in using the power of the federal government to achieve their agendas.
One of the the things that has turned me off to this election is the Christian defense for Donald Trump. I understand believing that Trump will be better for the United States because he will appoint conservative judges to the Supreme Court, but that doesn't mean you have to defend the indefensible. I wish Christians would stop acting like Trump is God's chosen candidate to preserve the United States and admit that he is an immoral man who MIGHT BE more conservative than the alternative.
Another thing that has me turned off to this election is the media's refusal to shine a light on Hillary Clinton and the effects of her policy positions. It is maddening to me how the media is going out of its way to portray Trump as evil incarnate, but will not even talk about the serious nature of having classified emails on an unsecured server. In my mind that is the least of her crimes, since she has supported policies that have led to the deaths of innocent people in the Middle East. Remember, I do not support Donald Trump, and think he will make a bad president, but the double standard here is glaring.
A third thing that has turned me off to this election is people's acceptance of the power of the presidency. It is mind boggling that the response to many of the agenda items for both major candidates is not; “That is unconstitutional.” We have come to assume that the President of the United States can do all these wonderful (in reality, awful) things. I am certain that every king and emperor of the ancient world would have killed to have the power that is concentrated in the office of President today.
In recent years, however, American presidents have anointed themselves with the power to wage war, unilaterally kill Americans, torture prisoners, strip citizens of their rights, arrest and detain citizens indefinitely, carry out warrantless spying on Americans, and erect their own secretive, shadow government.These are the powers that will be inherited by the next heir to the throne, and it won’t make a difference whether it’s a President Trump or a President Clinton occupying the Oval Office.
Why are we not rebelling against the very notion of an all powerful president? Why do continue to legitimize it by voting for this office every four years?
Part of the answer is that the natural tendency of people is to be ruled. We would like to believe that the desire of people's hearts is to be free. I don't think that is true. Most people want to be left alone, but they are perfectly content to let someone else make all the decisions.
Another piece of the puzzle is that we like people who use power to accomplish their agendas. If you look at a list of the best presidents, the presidents we are suppose to love, the one thing they all have in common is that they used and expanded the power of the presidency. That is certainly the case for Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt, the two presidents that many people see as the greatest presidents in American history. Since history teaches us that presidents have all this power, we have come to accept their use of power without question.
Instead of evaluating presidents based on their use of power we should evaluate them based on their oath of office. We should ask this simple question: “Do they uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States?” If we used that measure, the best president in the history of the United States, according to historian Brion McClanahan, would by John Tyler.
How do we combat this abuse of executive power?
First, Congress needs to take back its constitutional duties. Rather than just following the agenda of the president, the Congress must do its duty to be the starting point of legislation and for declaring war.
Second, the States need to remember that they are not under the Federal Government. The Federal Government has certain enumerated powers that it is responsible for, all other powers are to be retained by the States. One reason for this is because each State has its own local issues and there is rarely a one size fits all answer for the entire country. If that was true for the original 13 States, how much more true is it today with 50 States?
Third, amendments to the Constitution need to be added, not because they will make the Constitution more enforceable, but to remind us of the proper role the Federal Government, particularly the President, has in governing the country.
It is time that we stop electing a king with a term limit and start reducing the power the President and the Federal Government has over our lives. When the election is viewed through this lens it becomes obvious that Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, or even Gary Johnson is not the right candidate for the job.
This election is lost, but that doesn't mean we should despair. Instead we need to start focusing on our State and Local elections and begin to bring about change at the local level. That is the only way to reduce the power of the Federal Government and return the power to the people.