The election, which divided the country in the preceding months, has left a gouge across the nation in its post-election outcome. Verbal protests and physical violence are being reported every day.
Now, I am just one little citizen who cast one little vote. As I went to the polls I saw my choices as voting for a Crook or a Crazy. Yes, I could have voted for a third party or even used the write-in slot and I debated that back and forth throughout the long months leading up to the election; but I realized voting that way wasn’t going to help. If I wanted to protect what I valued I needed to vote for one of the Two.
At some point my vote leaned toward each of the candidates in turn—in fact, I was constantly back and forth between the two until Election Morning. Finally, in the end, I did vote for one of them—not because I wanted that person in office but because I realized I did not want the other person there. This election, for the first time ever, I cast my vote—not to put someone into office but to try and keep the other person out.
Who got my one, tiny vote doesn’t matter. What does matter is that I’m not protesting nor acting like a spoiled child in the store who was just told they couldn’t have the toy they wanted; nor taunting another child because their toy was taken away. (Personally, I didn’t want either toy but that is not my direction here.)
Why am I not protesting? Because I realize two things.
One--in the big picture, the President of the United States is simply a figurehead. He or She wields no real power except in the Executive sense. In other words, the President is the biggest “Yes-Man” or “Yes-Woman” in the world. The real power in this Nation is held by our Legislative Branch—our elected Representatives and Senators. (The term “Congress” is a blanket term used to describe the collective powers of the House and Senate. A Congressman is either a Representative or a Senator.)
Sure, the President can sign or veto laws presented by the “Congress”. However, if the law is vetoed, it is sent back to the House and the Senate and can still be brought to law no matter what the President said by a “Simple Majority” vote or by a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate.
As for committing our soldiers to war, the President technically has that power but, again, it is limited and can be rejected by Congress.
The only real power the President holds is the power to appoint; and most of those appointments will change when the Presidency does. The only appointment that has any lasting effect on the nation is the Presidential power to appoint a judge to the Supreme Court.
That said, the real power in this nation is NOT held by the President…disappointing as it may be to every protester and naysayer out there. It is held by our elected officials in the House and the Senate. In our Nation, the President always functions with one hand tied behind his or her back and our Representatives and Senators hold that rope.
Two—and here is the bigger view I have. Whenever there is a swing in political power it is GOOD. Power swings mean that that groups who were not the pet-projects of the previous power will now get their time of needed attention. It means that no one special interest group will dominate for decades.
Yes, in our country, ALL the wheels squeak ALL the time. Every group needs and wants political attention. Every power swing mean that a new and different wheel will now get their much needed oiling…and we should be glad for the members of those groups. Glad because we know how much we benefited when our causes were oiled.
And when a power shift means OUR groups won’t be getting enough oil we can remember that it is very difficult for a new President to rescind any previous laws or protections. We will still be protected because the advances made under a previous president are not easily cast aside. They will remain while a new President—only with the approval and support of Congress—focuses on helping other groups make new advancements. The democratic process of our nation is a win-win process. We just have to wait awhile for our turn sometimes, and allow others to have their turns.
Now here is something else I know. And this is the hardest admission of all. The Presidential office does not have a “trickle down” effect. The President will not ruin our national core and fiber. Only we will do that. And if we don't like the direction our nation is headed we do NOT need to look to the President. We need to look in the mirror.
Because “individuals” vote in each President, the Presidential Office is an upward reflection of our individual values! Each President--who is a product of the homes in this nation--shows what we are, or are not, teaching in the home. (Schools cannot override the influence of the home, so don’t even try to pin that responsibility on the school system.)
If we do not like who is voted into office, rather than ransack and scream and show our hatred, we should go back to our homes and start there to teach and MODEL values of tolerance, kindness, and forgiveness. Then, maybe in 20 years we will elect a President who truly reflects those values. Before we can change a nation we must change our homes.
And that change won’t happen if we are out on the streets. It will happen only as we quietly and consistently gather our children and family members around us in love and tolerance, and teach them that the worth of all souls is great—even those souls who will be helped by a President we may or may not have voted for.