THE EROSION OF DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA:
The Three Branches of Governmental Authority - Powers of the Executive, of Congress, and of the Judicial System
The system that is known as ‘checks and balances’ came into being with the founding of this country, at a time in which power was given to rulers in a complete way to determine the fate of nations. The first democracy in the world sprang full-blown as an idea from the minds of the founding fathers, inspired by the archangelic realm, infused by light, and driven by emotional, economic, and physical necessity, the idea and motivation came strongly to a small group of citizens to separate themselves from the ruling authority of King George and to found thirteen separate colonies under a charter or confederation that later became the Constitution of the United States.
These original colonies bound themselves together with the sweep of a pen, justifying their right to do so in The Declaration of Independence, and setting forth the means by which government would operate according to democratic principles. These principles were set forth in the Constitution. Within this document, a separate authority was given to each of the three branches of government that would mitigate the absolute power of rulership by any one branch. Thus, the Executive had certain rights over the free reign of Congress to make laws. Things such as veto power, the pocketing of bills that could not be brought before the congressional body for review, the institution of amendments to the passage of legislation – all became rights of the Executive. Similarly, the legislative branch had the right when the President stepped out of line, to limit this transgression through impeachment, censure, and through a refusal to accept the presidential veto of significant legislation. The Judicial branch of government, by its empowerment to interpret the law and to set the standard by which government must operate, could declare illegal, unconstitutional, or criminal, any action of Congress or the Executive, and could set forth the statutes of limitations that would govern the behavior of both other branches according to the interpretation of precedent and of the present delineation of how that operated within current circumstance.
This elegant design was deep in its conception, profound in its implications, and brought to life a new form of government in which those who were governed were given the right to choose their own way of life rather than those who governed, and in which those who were governed - the citizens of the Republic - were the ultimate authority over what the governing body was authorized to do.
Such an arrangement was the intention of the founding fathers. It was to protect the rights and ultimate authority of the people that the structure of government was set up with the goal in mind of acting as a check to such absolute power as had been common in Britain and throughout the countries of Europe for centuries. What has occurred to the arrangement of limitation of power, of checks and balances within today’s political and social climate, is significant. Today, we observe:
- The power of the Executive claiming supremacy over all other powers, due to the exigencies of war and to the right, at a time of war, to suspend the normal checks and balances,
- The power of the Legislative claiming supremacy over the right of the Executive to single-handedly make decisions, but backing down in the face of political and economic pressure from powerful constituents who benefit greatly from the pursuit of war. This pressure group has been known in the past as the ‘military-industrial complex’.
- The power of the Judicial Branch claiming the right to power but interpreting the law according to the ‘tenor of the times’ in relation to moral values, not in terms of the moral values arising from the Constitution itself. Since this ‘tenor’ relates to a shift toward a theological basis for establishing legal definitions rather than a legal basis, the Constitutional mandate that gives laws their weight and authority has gradually been eroded so that a new, moral mandate takes their place instead, fueled by a growing voice within the population of those who believe that they are in a position to define and defend a more ‘fundamental’ morality that is in danger of getting lost.
In all of this, there is a corruption of basic principle and practice that was never intended by the original vision of democratic functioning, also conceived at a time of war, a vision which included protest against the consequences of absolute power imposed on a people. Such protest was generated by the fervent desire of those who wrote the founding charter to ensure that the people of this nation would never again be dominated by run-away power over their lives. This wish, so pronounced and so valiant, was one that many laid down their lives for in those early days, and it again needs to be reaffirmed as power becomes concentrated today in the hands of those who would use it absolutely, not to represent the governed, but to speak in their place.
The usurpation of power by the presidency at a time of the ‘war on terrorism’ is a danger to the continued democratic functioning of the United States. It is a danger because it is based on a false presentation of ‘facts’ to a people that cannot adequately see that what is being presented as ‘factual’ is, instead, a mythos that contains partial truths surrounded by a large measure of interpretation used to justify the continuance of the ‘war’ itself. This presentation of a mixture of truth and falsehood as ‘fact’ has a compelling quality when: 1) it is surrounded by moral righteousness, 2) when it is fueled by fear of additional terrorist attacks within America, and 3) when it is not consistently resisted by other governmental branches. It is this falsification of information presented as fact to the American public that more than anything else has given rise to a willingness within many to be led astray – to become supportive toward a military engagement and an attitude of profound entitlement on the world stage that would never be tolerated if the truth of the separation of powers and what representation of the governed actually means, were held fast to.
At present, the ‘war on terror’ is being used as the justification for many things, among them, the legitimacy of abandoning democratic rights and privileges of the individual:
- to privacy,
- to due process within the law,
- to humane treatment,
- to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty,
It has also led to the scapegoating of those of the Muslim faith, to the abandonment of tolerance for those who feel differently from the established view - labeling these as ‘traitors’ or ‘disloyal’ or suspect - and to the seeking of support from corporate entities that are regulated by the financially powerful in this country in order to continue a posture of absolute authority.
We are moving, little by little, toward a centralized form of government in which the ruler IS the state, and through which the governed have little influence over the laws and regulations which govern them. We are moving toward the centralization of power and the abandonment of democratic principle in a way that many are beginning to see, but many more are still asleep to. If we are to avoid the consequences of this centralization that has already begun, if we are to avoid a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions that may equal the catastrophe of a future attack on the United States by terrorist groups, we must begin to recognize that we are being lulled into believing that everything is alright, that we are just living through difficult times, through fearful times. Everything is not alright, and it is important that we see what is happening. The abandonment of democratic principle in America has begun, justified by the necessities of war and fueled by other powers than those that strive to maintain life and liberty. There is a need for all to open their eyes and no longer think that this is just a conflict between different points of view – between the political ‘left’ and the political ‘right’. We are, day by day, increasingly moving past this level of conflict toward a time in which both ‘left’ and ‘right’ lose their ability to make a difference in deterring the continual growth of power in a centralized form of government in which the President is ruler and has become ‘the State'.
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Global Purification, which discusses the present expansion of light on earth that is the basis for the manifestation of darkness,
The Meaning of Tomorrow, which talks about the new consciousness that is arising for many today, and,
The Karma of Power, which describes the connections of an influential 'center' to its 'sphere of influence.