A Complicated Nation in Search for Simple Solutions

Recent poles show Donald Trump by far the most popular Republican frontrunner for President.  Trump presents very straight forward and simple solutions to many of America’s domestic and foreign policy issues.  He is well-known for his reality shows as being quick and decisive, the sign of a good leader, at least that is the perception of many of his supporters.  He reminds me a little of Ross Perot who ran as an independent some years ago.  We like civil war heroes like Grant and Lee who quickly assessed a situation and decisively rallied their troops to victory even though those decisions cost tens of thousands of lives in America’s bloodiest conflict.

But in truth things are rarely as they seem.  Our civil war heroes in fact spent far more time accumulating intelligence and considering their strategies than the movies and history books reveal.  Perhaps Gen. George Custer was quick to decide without consideration to intelligence or possible outcomes but look at where that got him.  Social/economic and global issues are far more complex than those not involved in such decision can possibly imagine.  Hasty decision may look impressive but can be catastrophic as in the case of Gen. Custer.  That is why our form of government has so many checks and balances which slow down hasty decisions and look at issues in far more detail with far more considerations and points of views.

But it is the indecision created by these safeguards which concern many conservatives today.  They would like decisive and powerfully enforced decisions.  I think some even see what the government in China is doing to move that country forward and are looking for a leader who could do the same thing for the U.S.  It is true that the central government of China is strong but I think we have no idea of the process they go through in making decisions invisible to the public.  But for good reason we are not run like China.  We are a government by the people and there are lots of different views of what is right for our nation so the process of legislation is tedious and lengthy.  But many bills are highly compromised just to get them through Congress.  So there is both good and bad to this form of government.

We brag about how good our country is with its legislative process so legislation represents all sides.  But we are equally critical of that long legislative process and the compromised bills that eventually come out.  But you can’t have your cake and eat it, or can you.  Either you have an autocracy where decisions are made quickly or you have a republic with a lengthy process of checks and balanced compromises.  But the executive branch has become more powerful over the years with with the use of executive powers which have the force of law without going through congress because people in power want their cake and to eat it at the same time.  However there is still the Supreme Court to decide the Constitutionality of executive orders if challenged.

In reality there is no perfect government.  It depends upon who is in power and what is their agenda regarding benefits to the governed.  Autocratic governments run by people who care a great deal about their people are the most efficiently run governments at bettering the welfare of the people.  But usually Absolute power corrupts Absolutely.  Representative republics like ours with checks and balances enact compromised laws which are often weak and difficult to implement and enforce but reduce the potential errors of bad unilateral decisions.  But when the government is highly polarized, as is often the case here, little gets done and everyone is unhappy.

So in comes Donald Trump who compromises with no one and is not upholding to any party line.  He is independently wealthy so does not have to make deals with others to raise money for his campaign.  His supporters hope that he will be independent and by sheer force of will bring Congress to its knees.  In essence they are supporting a person with autocratic tendencies that represent their mostly conservative values though he can somewhat a mixed bag on positions.  So he is not strongly embraced by his own more mainstream party.

Postscript 8/17/2015:

Donald Trump has put out a position paper which states that anyone who is an illegal immigrant will be immediately deported if he is elected.  If this is done many jobs in agriculture, gardening, custodian, etc. will be without workers.  They will have to pay higher wages for people to work at these jobs raising the price of food, etc.  Illegal migrants contribute far more to society than they burden it.  Most try to stay out of trouble so as not to be deported.

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