Marvin Vangilder: Facts get confused by campaigners
Campaign pressure, subject to over-correction and over-indulgence, has led presidential candidates to deal with many major issues as if each one is a stand-alone matter to be solved on its own terms alone.
That erroneous, self-serving approach results, whether by accident or by studied intent, in generally false views of how these issues can be or will be resolved. It's also accompanied by clearly untrue and unconstitutional claims about how the power of the president alone can be applied as a certain means of gaining specific desired resolutions.
One problem with this is that it leads to claims of specific actions that cannot be taken by the president alone and are dependent for final action upon the legislative or judicial branch. In many cases, the actions are dependent also upon the ever-changing positions of the leaders of other nations.
For example, every time I hear a presidential hopeful declare, “I will pass a particular bill or program to resolve a certain problem,” I have a nearly uncontrollable desire to interrupt by waving a copy of the U.S. Constitution in the offender s face.
No president ever passed a bill; each one who has held that office has signed many bills, but each was passed by action of the legislative branch before being presented to the president for signature or veto.
For that matter, if we hear the same claim at the congressional or senatorial level of campaigning, the same fallacy often happens. No congressman and no senator ever single-handedly passed a bill. He or she may write, promote and convince a majority of candidates to approve a certain bill but, by singular action, cannot pass it into law.
The vital issues of our national government, which incidentally may in many cases turn out to be life-or-death issues for many of us, do not exist in so many separated and unique capsules. They will not be resolved in isolated, singular circumstances.
Each issue will be met by each branch of government in its own way. In every case, the eventual result will be in some degree a product of compromise or trade in the system of checks and balances that has served us so well through the years. That system has led to better government that we really deserve in return for our action or inaction.
The system places certain restraints upon each branch – executive, legislative and judicial – in the process of drawing the boundaries or the perimeters of individual rights, privileges and responsibilities. A further bit of complexity is added by the fact that resolution upon almost every single issue is dependent to some degree on the action taken on several of the other issues at stake.
The distribution of power among the branches will remain after the election just as before. It will continue to be diverse and non-dictatorial. That means we must give intense attention to the qualifications -- or lack thereof -- of every candidates for any and every federal post, as well as those at more local levels.
And in that sense we have every right and every reason to insist that every candidate stop lying about promises to do what the Constitution will not allow them to do. We must demand they begin dealing in the realities of government of, for and by THE PEOPLE.
All of them must agree that we out here in the diverse populace are not stupid sheep available to be led to slaughter. We are intelligent Americans with the right to personal life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in law-abiding ways.
Many among us probably will respond more agreeably when the candidates stop insulting us with falsehoods and exaggerations and begin telling it like it is and accepting the restraints of citizen rights as the true boundaries of their behavior — both on the campaign trail and in the office to which they may be elected, if we choose.