Executive office is not the end-all be-all


Executive office is not the end-all be-all

By Eric Bradach

In the wake of President Donald Trump’s inauguration, the public has organized an endless stream of protests and demonstrations. From the Women’s March the day after to the Tax March April 15, it is exhilarating to witness as well as report on the resistance.

The public has become so invested in what the new White House administration  is up to that people have even been protesting against cabinet nominees and the recently confirmed Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

It is unquestionably important to pay attention to what is happening in the Oval Office, but it’s time to redirect this increased attention and focus on what happens Capitol Hill and in state legislatures.

If the average citizen on the street  was asked to name one of their state lawmakers, their response would probably be nothing more than a blank stare. Asking the name of a member of the U.S. House of Representatives will most likely have the same result Only a fraction would be able to name their U.S. senator. 

Despite their apparent lack of knowledge, only 20 percent of U.S. adults approve of Congress, according to an April 11 Gallup poll. How can they judge the U.S. government if they don’t know how it operates?

This is an obvious problem. People need to stay informed about who is representing them in the legislative branch because it sets the budget and writes the laws. 

In a September 2014 Annenberg poll, 35 percent of Americans out of 1,416 asked could not name a single branch of government. Meanwhile, 73 percent did not know it takes a two-thirds vote to override a presidential veto, and 21 percent thought a Supreme Court decision is sent back to Congress to be reconsidered.

Given this level of apathy, what has the heavily despised Congress been up to? To no surprise, rejecting measures to help the public and approving damaging legislation.

In January, the Senate rejected a bill that would have lowered the cost of pharmaceutical drugs by allowing them to be imported from Canada.

Earlier this month, Congress voted to dismantle internet privacy protection policies, enabling internet providers such as Comcast, Verizon and AT&T to monitor, collect and store information about American’s online activity, then sell it, which was later approved by Trump, as discussed by The Chronicle Editorial Board April 10.

Another concern is that nearly four in 10 Americans incorrectly said the Constitution gives the president the power to declare war, according to a September 2016 Washington Post article. This is disturbing because it seems the U.S. could enter another war any minute following Trump’s approval of a 59-cruise missile airstrike at a Syrian airbase.

Members of the public who are unhappy with Trump need to understand the U.S. has more than one branch of government and intelligently lobby their legislatures if they want to combat his administration. The legislature’s purpose is to write laws, approve the budget and decide whether to go to war,  but all of these issues seem to be heading in the wrong direction.