Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Trial by Fire.

Today TIME.com published an article titled "The Candidates' Test of Leadership". The article contrasts McCain's Maverick, "action hero" approach with Obama's careful and prudent one. And, indeed, what better vetting for these two candidates than an economic crisis?

Isn't it Ironic?

In my humble opinion, this meltdown, although undesirable, couldn't have come at a better time. It was always on the way as the irresponsible and risky lending was not sustainable. Ironic to think that the very people who heralded and profited from deregulation are now at risk of losing everything. Furthermore, this economic crisis they've caused may now have solidified Barack Obama's candidacy for president. Coincidence or Instant Karma? I'll let you be the judge.

From "Test of the Candidates": "In one sense, it was a good time for both men to be auditioning for Leader of the Free World, since the ones already on-stage were falling flat on their faces. It made for a sickening spectacle, watching the firefighters argue over the diameter of the hose as the house burned down around us. And President Bush, in a final countdown to oblivion and with sub-basement approval ratings, was hardly in a position to rally the public behind a plan that violated every economic and political principle he's ever espoused."

The economic crisis America now finds itself in, however- whatever the reasons, has proven to be a Trial by Fire for more than just Senators McCain and Obama. An even bigger question is what does this Crisis, and our handling of it, say of our Democracy? What does it say of the American people?

A Democracy Put to the Test

I am currently reading/listening to Barack Obama's most recent book "The Audacity of Hope". It is truly a great read. It gives invaluable insight to the inner workings of the political process and the vital role Hope plays therein. But it does something more than that. Obama, who also reads the book on tape, brings the US Constitution and the Founding Fathers to life. He has such a deep appreciation and reverence for our Country's beginning that you find your self falling in love with it too.

So, how has our still very young and still experimental government held up in this time of economic crisis? I would submit it has done wondrously well. The intricate, yet simple, system of Checks and Balances and Separation of Powers cleverly devised by Madison and the other Founding Fathers has, for the time, saved American tax payers from being saddled with a $700 Billion debt.

Bicameral Brilliance

Taken from the Wikipedia article on the Separation of Powers: "as James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 51 regarding the ability of each branch to defend itself from actions by the others, "But it is not possible to give to each department an equal power of self-defense. In republican government, the legislative authority necessarily predominates." Bicameralism was, in part, intended to reduce the relative power of the legislature by turning it against itself, by having "different modes of election and different principles of action."

By giving the legislative Branch the majority of the power but dividing it into House and Senate they did a brilliant thing. Because the Senate is smaller, the seats are more valuable. As such, Senators must also undergo more in depth, and more costly, campaign processes. This ensures that the Senate will be comprised of better educated individuals who, in the end, have the last say in passing a law- barring a Presidential veto that is. Becoming a member of the House is a bit easier which encourages a better mix of demographics to join. The Congress men and women are of all backgrounds and consequently are better equipped to be the true voice of the majority. They are truly the last chance for the masses voice to be heard.

So, it is no surprise to me that the $700Billion Rescue(Bailout) bill proposed by George Bush, didn't make it past the House yesterday.

A Sturdy Framework

In order to fully understand our government, it is important to realize it is still a very young one. America has never truly been betrayed by its government to the point of its having to be overthrown. As Barack points out in "Audacity of Hope", the Founding Fathers merely crafted a skeleton government which we have, and will continue to, add meat to and perfect in the crucible of dissent and in the never ending tug of war between good and evil and liberal and conservative philosophy.

In conclusion, it is safe to say the House that is the American Government will weather this storm, thanks in large part to the sturdy and rock hard framework provided by the founding fathers who signed the Declaration of Independence, drafted the US Constitution and later the Federalist Papers.

The American story is as rich as it is young. As my dear granny always said "This too shall pass". And it will. And, I dare say, America will emerge stronger and the better because of it. After all, it is not the fault of our government that greed infiltrated it- it was a sleeping nation which elected it.

1 comment:

Adam said...

Wow Ashli. Very strong points. I have also learned so much from Barack's book. Its almost like a history lesson, which isn't too much of a stretch, considering Barack was once a Constitutional law teacher.

As you said Ashli, I also urge all to read (or preferabley listen to) this inspirational book.