The Future of Anti-Government

Author: Gary Hart

In the Western democratic world, and especially in America, the deepest divide exists between those who view a national government, perhaps all governments, as the indispensable instrument for achieving fairness, opportunity, and social justice and those who view government as a barrier to free enterprise, entrepreneurship, and even freedom itself.

For the former group, who governs and how they govern is vital.  For the latter group, who governs and how they govern doesn’t matter so much so long as the government leaves them alone.  The former group focuses on the inclusiveness of domestic agendas and a positive role for America in the world.  The latter group focuses primarily on national security, military strength, and increasingly on rigid borders.

Looking at the last few months through this lens, little the Trump administration has, or has not, done is surprising.  It doesn’t really matter if the sub-cabinet level of political appointees, the deputies, undersecretaries, and assistant secretaries, are appointed or not because who cares if their departments function or not.  This is a Party after all that has featured candidates for national leadership vying with each other for the distinction of how many federal departments and agencies they would eliminate.

That would be a plausible political posture if the candidates in question knew what those departments did.  Former Texas Governor Rick Perry, for example, wanted to eliminate the Department of Energy, a department he now heads.  He is quoted as saying he had no idea how many good things that department does.

I am old enough to remember when ignorance was a barrier to political advancement.  Fancy that.  Now the President is being excused for his self-initiated war on his own Department of Justice because he is “new to government.”

But if you don’t like government and want it gone, what is the harm in not fully understanding what it does and does well.  We have a Department of Justice to, guess what, pursue justice, not to cover the tracks of a President and his coterie doing business, literally and figuratively, with our principal political rival.

We now have a President who believes he can order a federal department, directly or through his appointed Cabinet officer, to quit doing its Constitutional job.  After enough of his Cabinet has recused themselves from doing their jobs, eventually you get down to surviving career civil servants who take their oaths of office seriously.  Then the path of an errant President becomes fraught with peril.  And the peril for this President is only just beginning.

The other major barrier to government by whim and fiat is something quaint called THE LAW.  Turns out those who want to abolish national preserves can’t just do so with the stroke of a pen.  The same is true of public schools, many environmental protections, health care initiatives, and much else the administration came into office to destroy.  Even with a totally compliant Congress, a large majority of Americans are not prepared to dismantle decades of national progress.

Even after a shambolic campaign against “the elites” (in which each of us was at liberty to fill in the blank of the “elite” we loathed the most), it is still necessary to govern, that is to faithfully execute the laws of the land.  And that is where the train is stalled.

Given the unwillingness, or incapability, of the current administration to appoint even unqualified carpet baggers to high executive office, somehow our government continues.  It does so for one simple reason.  It must.  The government of the mighty United States is not being run by the Trump White House or Cabinet, many members of which are still trying to find out what their departments actually do.  It is being run by dedicated and talented civil servants, those “bureaucrats” so loathed by Limbaughland, who show up every day and do the jobs the law and the Constitution require them to do.

The Government of the United States will survive the assaults upon it by Donald Trump & Co.  It will do so because it is stronger than he and his badly confused group are.  It will do so because the American people want it and need it.

7 Responses to “The Future of Anti-Government”

  1. Stephen D. Pillow Says:

    Senator Hart:

    “The Government of the United States will survive the assaults upon it by Donald Trump & Co. It will do so because it is stronger than he and his badly confused group are. It will do so because the American people want it and need it.” But at what price, and who will pay that price?

    The most likely persons paying the price will be those who can least afford to do so, the poor, the elderly, the sick, the infirm, the children, the homeless, and the veteran. The price that these will pay will be paid with their bodies, their minds, and their souls. They will die needlessly. They will not get the education and food needed to grow into the best citizen that they can be for this nation. They will become lost in the masses of the lost souls who just drift away from us and are never seen again.

    These are the ones who can’t wait for the election cycle to ran it normal course to right the wrongs of the elected representatives being removed from office by an outraged majority. Where was that outraged majority in 2016 during the Presidential election? What is that outraged majority now? What is that outraged majority doing to put pressure on its elected representatives to stop destroying this country for the benefit of the Wealthy and Big Business. Why is that outraged majority NOT putting pressure upon the members of Congress to institute Impeachment Proceedings against the most corrupt, inept, unqualified miscreant to have ever occupied the White House in our history?

    This is not the time for, nor do we have the time for, an intellectual debate upon what must be done. It must be done now before any more damage is done by this joke of an administration.

  2. Brian C McCarthy Says:

    Senator,

    All the rules are gone. My friends, well-educated professionals, routinely tell me that Mr T will be impeached, that he won’t survive his first term, that he will resign – and as much as I want to agree with them I can’t. I feel that all the rules have been thrown out and he may very well fill out his term and be re-elected despite a majority of Americans disapproving of him and his actions. Sadly, I think there is enough of an anti-intellectualist faction in the country to keep this madness going. The internet and 24-hour news networks should have worked to improve the knowledge and level of informed thinking among us – but it has instead lead to a situation in which millions derive not only their opinions but their FACTS from highly partisan, ideological sources. The late Sen. Daniel P. Moynihan, a mentor of yours and my former NYS Senator, would be aghast. It is hard to imagine how to confront the situation without resorting to the type of demagoguery and showmanship that is so distasteful and anathema to the principles of good government and clean politics that should dominate. Ironically, the rise of the internet and 24 hour cable news has lead not to an increase in citizens being informed, but rather to an explosion of ignorance and misinformation. To defeat this current trend, a way must be found to prevent cutting edge technology from being hijacked by those who want to drag all things backward, but who have no scruples about using the most modern means to spread their reactionary agenda.

    BCM

  3. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    With birthdays here and coming soon for both of our countries, I just wanted to wish everyone here a very happy 4th of July and to say that there is so much that we all have to be thankful for just for being Canadians and Americans.

    Few nations are in similar positions of being able to make things better, no matter what, and strive for progressive change even in the midst of what seem unbearable circumstances as I think of the original inhabitants of this continent and struggles for justice that they still must endure.

    We have the ability and inclination to move forward. And, that is a lot to celebrate!

  4. Gary Hart Says:

    And to the ever-thoughtful Ms. Miller, those of us to the South send happy Canada greetings to our Northern friends and allies on this Canada Day. Thank you for reminding us all of our dual national days. GH

  5. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    Whoa, that was quick! 🙂

    Thank-you, Senator Hart.

    We are 150 years old today and I am personally feeling every year of it. 🙂

  6. Paul G Says:

    IF GOVERNMENT IS THE ENEMY OF SUPERPOWER / EMPIRE, WHY RESTORE OUR REPUBLIC?

    “If you don’t like government and want it gone, what is the harm in not fully understanding what it does and does well.” – Gary Hart, ‘Future of Anti-Gov’

    We The People – all immigrant descendants – who failed to secure ‘papers’ from the original owners – now celebrate our independance from tyranny.

    But do ‘We’ even know today’s industrial scale corruption of our elected officials by major media and Wall Street lobbyists may be making us a tyrant?

    I look forward to an essay from our honorable host on restoring our republic.

    Happy Independance Day to Seantor Hart who inspires us daily to love our USA!

  7. Paul G Says:

    CORRECTION & note:

    Ronald Reagan’s infamous declaration that “(our)government is the enemy,” is the basis of my comment title. It should therefore read: IF GOVERNMENT IS THE ENEMY (A SUPERPOWER / EMPIRE), WHY RESTORE OUR REPUBLIC?

    Note: As a few civic-minded students from BC, BU, Harvard and MIT (whose predecessors demonstrated successfully for Hart’s 1988 campaign re-entry) recently inquired “where do we go from here?” I suggested they may want to study RESTORATION OF THE REPUBLIC by Gary Hart. They asked, “Who is Gary Hart?” I therefore think such essay devoted to these students may be timely.

Leave a Reply

All comments are reviewed by a moderator prior to approval and are subject to the UCD blog use policy.