Thursday, February 7, 2013

Chris Rock Civics Lesson...

I hate to even have to bring this up – I really shouldn’t have to – but it’s got to be said:  Chris Rock is an ignorant idiot.  Whether intentionally, or not, he is completely lost.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, as reported on, comedian Chris Rock said:

“I am just here to support the President of the United States. President of the United States is our boss, but he is also... you know, the President and the First Lady are kinda like the Mom and the Dad of the country. And when your Dad says something you listen, and when you don't it will usually bite you on the ass later on. So, I’m here to support the President.”

Really, Chris?  Do you really believe this?  Ok, let’s break it down:

1.       The President is NOT our boss.  He works for us.  “Government of the people, by the people and for the people…”.  All elected officials work for the people.  We are the boss of them!  Trust me, you don’t want the president to be your boss.  Keep in mind, no president is in office forever.  You might like this one, but you may not like the next.  You certainly did NOT like the last one.  Was he your daddy/boss???

2.      The President is NOT our dad and the first lady most certainly is not our mom.  The president does not rule us – he should not be spanking us when we are bad or giving us an allowance or sending us to our rooms.

3.      Um… are you advocating that those who don’t support the President should be bitten on the ‘ass’?  What powers do you believe the President should have over YOUR life???

We’ve seen 'boss' leaders in other countries – Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, Pol Pot, Amin just to name a few.  History is chock-a-block full of ‘bosses’.  People like this were ‘the bosses’ of their people.  They had the power to reward, punish or even kill.  With just a word, your life was forfeit.  People died by the millions under their ‘care’.  The model of a single ‘boss’ or ‘parent’ running an entire country has an abysmal record historically.

And you know, when I read Chris's words above, I wonder why this is only true for Chris now?  He certainly didn’t feel this way about the last President.  The problem is that if you take what he says literally, he is not talking about President Obama.  He’s talking about the office of the President of the United States.  That’s why this is so very, very dangerous.  It’s easy to feel this way when it’s someone you like or someone 'benevolent'.  Can you still feel this way when it’s someone you don’t?  What happens when you get a malevolent leader who decides death panels are a good idea or that they can send drone strikes against Americans?

Anyway, I think Chris needs a short civics lesson on the Federal Government where ‘bossing’ is concerned.  It’s not hard – here are the basics:

-          The United States government is broken into three co-equal branches.  The heads of these branches are equal in power.  The president is the head of one of those branches – the Executive branch.  The other branches are the Legislative and Judicial.  The president is not in charge of the other two branches.

-          The President is the boss of the Executive branch.  Any departments that fall under the Executive branch report to the President and are ultimately his responsibility.  The military is ultimately responsible and answerable to the President.  However, even though he is the boss, he is bound by the law and Constitution and is oath-bound to follow the law.  The Executive branch/President has the authority to choose people to run Departments (i.e. – State, Defense, etc), submits nominees for Federal courts, including the Supreme Court and is the ultimate signer or veto-er of laws written by the Legislative branch.

-          The boss of the Legislative branch is the Speaker of the House of Representatives.  The Speaker has no control over the other branches, but does fall into the order of succession to the Presidency in the event of the incapacity, resignation or death of the President, behind the Vice-President.  Interestingly, it’s the President Pro-tempore of the Senate (Judicial branch) that is 4th in line ahead of the Secretary of State, who is in the Executive Branch.  The Legislative branch has authority over the Executive in that the House can issue articles of Impeachment against the President, and the Senate holds the trial of the President.  The Legislative branch also has to approve certain appointees in the other branches including heads of Departments (i.e. – Department of Justice, Department of State, etc) and federal judges sent by the Executive branch.  Since the President isn’t supposed to write laws, only sign them, the Legislative branch passes laws that get sent to the President.

-          The boss of the Judicial branch is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.  As with the other branches, the Judicial branch has no authority to ‘rule’ the other branches other than the power to declare a law as ‘legal’ or not, typically directed at the Legislative branch.  The only ‘bossing’ they can do in regards to the Executive branch generally, is that the Chief Justice presides over the impeachment trial of the President in the Senate.

So you can see that the three branches all share power.  They are all equal, and they are bosses ONLY of their own branch.

That leaves one final part, the most important part of our Republic…

-          The People.  According to the Constitution and other founding documents like the Declaration of Independence, the people are the boss of themselves.  In our form of government, it is up to the people to decide what kind of life they will lead, where they will live, how many children they will have, who they will marry, what kind of work they want to do, what foods they eat, who their friends are, who their enemies are, what clothes they will wear, where they will shop, who they will work for, whether they believe in God or not, where they want to have our vacations, what kind of car they drive or even if they want to drive, and so many other things.  In the United States, the intent is that the people will decide what the limits are that are best for the community, and it is the responsibility of the community to ensure that those limits are maintained.  The federal government should have very little, if any, impact on the day-to-day life of the people.  There shouldn’t really be any expectations on the people from federal government.  By design, our federal government is intended to foster freedom, not limit it.  The law-abiding citizen should almost never need to think about government and it should have very little impact on the people.

Now I know that what I just said is a pipe-dream.  It would be wonderful if I could decide pretty much whatever I like as long as it does not infringe on the freedoms of other citizens.  This is the insidious nature of government involvement in our lives:  The more the government pays for with the taxes from other people, the more limits the government can put on you, since your actions affect other people’s wallets.  This is why the Libertarians among us are so stridently against government involvement in things like healthcare.  If your taxes are going to pay for my healthcare, then the government, which has inserted itself in the middle, can tell me how I must live, what I can eat (and not eat), where I can live, what jobs I can hold, how many children I can have, whether I can smoke or not, and what drugs I must or must not take.  If I fail to meet their rules, I’m a law-breaker and am no better than a thief.

It’s important to be reminded of something:  The government is the only legal entity that has the power of life-or-death over you.  They have the authority to kill you.  Corporations do not have that authority.  Other people do not have that authority.  Even your Mom and Dad do not have that power (unless you haven’t been born yet – and the government gives you permission to kill that life, if you want – so you’re really acting as a federal government proxy when you have an abortion), organizations do not have that authority.  Only the government has the RIGHT under law to take your life from you.

So, sorry Chris Rock.  The President is not my boss and he’s not my Dad.  He shouldn’t be your boss or daddy, either.  Just like the children of Israel wanting a King, getting what you wish for means accepting not just the boss you like, but also the boss you don’t.  And remember one other thing:  unlike your boss at work, you can’t change jobs to get away from the President of the United States if he’s your boss.  The POSITION is your boss, not the man!

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