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Letter: Checks and balances have become a joke

Checks and balances have become a joke

Once upon a time, when I was in school, I was taught that our country was governed under a system of checks and balances. The purpose of the various elements of government, we were told, was to assure that our country ran smoothly, without domination by any one person or group. This was immensely comforting, because at that time we were expecting either a nuclear attack or an invasion by extraterrestrials, and good governance kept us grounded.

I’m astonished, therefore, by the overdue realization that the success of checks and balances appears to be pretty much just a gentleman’s agreement, applicable only in the distant past.

When Barack Obama was president, Republicans were able to detour most of his planning, and did it basically because they didn’t like him. There was no thought of working together for the benefit of the people. Therefore, the president resorted to executive orders. So much for checks and balances. Evidently learning from this, President Trump went straight to executive orders. Retaliating, Democrats are now the ones announcing that they are going to detour him as often as they possibly can.

The real disappointment is that apparently there is no way for Americans to make their governing bodies grow up and cooperate. It is a relief to see that the judicial branch has stepped in to bring some order to the government proceedings. We can only hope that members of Congress and the president will tone down the rhetoric and talk civilly to each other for a change. At the moment, the extraterrestrials are looking good.

Sandie Davison

Hamburg

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