Note: First published on Facebook this morning, but I wanted to preserve it somewhere else.
I love Facebook. It asks me what’s on my mind when I visit. So here goes: For those who are bouncing around in the media’s portrayal of a dramatic binary opposition, represented as two political parties vying for the attention and support of the political will of the people of this nation, I just want to call attention to the underlying truth that’s been with us — and building in strength — through most of my life time. Deep, institutionally-based presidential power.
Simply put, the difference that all this daily uproar we are currently experiencing as “news” is supposedly all about is superficial. In psychology family dynamics it’s called uproar. Uproar is a power play game where one individual gets everyone else confused in a chaos of personal argumentation while they advance an agenda of their own underneath the atmospheric haze that results.
I think this current administration has done us a favor and made no effort to disguise that superficiality. But now we have to come to grips with the facts. It WAS disguised all along.
Apologists for the Democratic Administrations of one of those two parties need to look at what the last, inappropriately-awarded Peace Prize version of their party was really about. And face this: it was not a big deviation from the previous administrations, including Clinton’s, and certainly including the one that put my generation into Vietnam, and of course the one that put us on this path to unending military engagement in the Strategic Ellipse, an engagement ever seeking to expand across The Arc of Instability (search those terms, you’ll find the descriptions if you don’t know what they refer to; your military leaders and political policy professionals certainly know what they mean) where, incidentally, you’ll find many of the raw materials needed to keep industrial civilization growing. And that’s what most people really want, isn’t it? So who really wants to look beneath the uproar?
Well, in case you do. There are voices out there talking about it.
Here’s one just this morning, I’ll link it below. It came through what amounts to my news feed of headlines in one of my email accounts.
As a little background to the article: I’ve looked (deeply) into the upwardly growing arc of power in the executive branch of the U.S. I found that the basis for that growth in power was put forward as a coherent theory during Reagan Administration. Remember Reagan? A favorite and a hero president to many? Also, incidentally, a grade B movie actor, but good with remembering his lines, and talented enough to act presidential on stage in front of a nation tuned into those news feeds with their televisions.
Well… during his administration this thing came up called the Unitary Executive Theory (UET). It is a legal theory that delves into the intentions of the Founders and their Constitution we now live with, and their constructive concepts about the relative powers of the Executive Branch. The legal scholars who were advancing this theory also started a legal “club” known as the Federalist Society. Please look it up if you don’t know what it is. At least five of the SCOTUS justices are associated with it. It didn’t even exist before the Reagan Administration.
Hmmm. A legal society intent on changing the nation’s interpretation of the Constitution that didn’t even exist thirty eight years ago now one of the biggest and most influential legal societies in the nation….? According to their textualist and originalist-based theory, the President was supposed to have more power than they thought presidents at that point, in the early 1980s, had.
And, guess what, presidents since then have been trying to act out that theory in order to make it a reality. That includes Clinton and Obama. Presidents want more power. It makes their job easier. Trump isn’t disguising that in any way at all. And I, for one, appreciate that he’s bringing it out in the open. That way this nation can decide, finally, if it wants to be a nation of authoritarian followers or not. I hope we get to decide for ourselves.
The UET, of course, can be a troubling idea to anyone who might be concerned that a presidency can move towards something more dictatorial in nature — which, as a political system, is one of the noted dangers of a presidential system. I don’t know if they teach that in high school political science classes. It wasn’t mentioned in mine as I recall. I had to find it on my own.
Jacob Bacharach doesn’t mention the UET in his article. But what he is describing is the result of it, especially as it was expressed throughout the much maligned previous Obama Presidency — maligned by the people who now support the current President, whose Presidency is following the Obama arc of seeking ever greater presidential power, with a few hyperbolic steroids added to buff those presidential muscles, but not maligned by most of those who are now in binary opposition to the current Trumpians. Like I say, superficial.
Trump’s Brutality is Part of Obama’s Legacy Now by Jacob Bacharach