Editorial: What Three Things Should be Changed about American Politics?

This article addresses three things we would like to see changed in American politics. While no system is perfect and politics is a difficult profession, these topics are our observations of things that may help lead to a more productive political system.

Presidential War Powers

The Presidential War Powers have increased too much: Can anyone tell us when the last official war the United States declared was? Most probably said the Iraq War but that is incorrect.

The last declared war was World War II. All the other conflicts that have taken place have been military actions that the president ordered. While Congress does control the funds for these conflicts, the president ordered them. According to the Constitution, the power to declare war rests with the Congress to offer checks and balances.

Presidential abuse of War Powers could be torn apart with a theory by Noam Chomsky, referred to as “Imperial Grand Strategy,” he explains that America acts under the idea that they can and will take action against any nation or organization that threatens their power, prestige, or security. The strategy depicts how the foreign policy of America often goes against the grain of international law in order to keep their country safe from any threat that they see fit.

This theory is seen, and practiced, by President George W. Bush in the declaration against Iraq in 2003. With the impending threat of weapons of mass destruction, something that will always be taken as a threat, President Bush decided to invade Iraq before the United Nations could investigate if the weapons truly existed, which they did not. 

Legislative Term Limits

Roger Sherman, founder of Rhode Island, wrote at the time of our nation’s founding that, “Representatives ought to return home and mix with the people. By remaining at the seat of the government, they would acquire the habits of the place, which might differ from those of their constituents.”

The United States Congress has an approval rating of 12 percent in February according to Gallop poll. As the branch that is supposed to represent the citizens of the United States, that approval rating is very sad. Compromise is a “dirty word” according to Speaker John Boehner where we think that compromise is necessary for productive democracy.

Term limits would help with the gridlock because new people would, in theory, bring new ideas to the table.

The oldest member of Congress, John Dinell, was on the floor of Congress when President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave his declaration about Pearl Harbor. He has been in office over 57 years and nothing against him personally but being removed that long from non-political life could make it difficult to relate to the citizens you serve.

Party Politics

George Washington in his farewell address warned our nation about the damage of political parties. He warned against having “a small but artful and enterprising minority” to replace, “the delegated will of the Nation, the will of a party.” ‘

We as a nation, however, have not listened to his warning and have become so divided between the party system that our Congress is nicknamed “the do nothing Congress.” In America we have accepted the two party systems of Democrats and Republicans, who are essentially the opposite of one another.

While other parties appear from time to time, like the libertarians or Tea Partiers, they are often just an extension from the two main groups. Smaller, sub parties; never really get a chance in the spotlight, most often being overshadowed by the party they are extended from. They take pride in bickering with one another on the extremities of the issues, in order to energize a political base and gain financial support for their elected seats.

The issues with the party system are that it allows room for partisan to play into the governmental duties of elected officials. They will do anything to keep their election and support for the party, and if they do not, the candidate often falls. This is bad for our efficiency as a nation, leading to the stand stills between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to the various issues such as the national debt, immigration, taxing or various social rights.

This causes a division in not only the government that creates the laws for society, but also in the people themselves.

This was the downfall of Governor Mitt Romney in his presidentail run. Instead of using his past experiences, which tended to lean more towards the center, he had to move far over to the right. As seen in The Affordable Care Act which was based off his health care model implimented in the Massachuessettes. During the Presidential campaign however, he had to go against the plan because it was being used by a Democratic candidate for a national model.