Seeing the protests against Donald Trump reminded me of a valuable lesson about government I learned when I was their age.
The lesson: Since your people may not always be in power, be very careful about what powers you grant to the government.
When ‘our guys’ are in charge, it’s easy to wish they had more power so they can get the things done that we want. It’s easy to turn a blind eye when they overstep their designated authority, so long as most of what they do we agree with.
There’s also a tendency to think when ‘our guys’ are in power, they will always be in power. We don’t think about the day when the ‘other guys’ might be in charge and will get to use the same powers that we granted to ‘our guys’.
First, it dawned on me that ‘my guys’ may not always be in power. Second, I learned that it would be awfully inconsistent of me to be fine with ‘my guys’ overstepping their authority and not be fine with the ‘other guys’ doing it.
Then came the lesson…I gained a newfound appreciation for the separation of powers granted in the Constitution between the three branches of Federal government, the States and most importantly, the People.
If I didn’t want the President to be able to short-circuit the power of Congress when the ‘other guy’ was in charge, then I should want the same thing when ‘my guy’ was in charge — or I would be a hypocrite.
I also learned that despite whatever faults and flaws we could find with the Founders of the country, they did a good job separating the powers to protect our freedom. They, after all, designed this government in response to abuses of power and diminished freedom they experienced at the hands of the British King.
The final lesson from all this…if you appreciate the above and hold true to the separation of powers, then you don’t have to be too disappointed when the ‘other guy’ is President. You can rest assured that you live in a time and place the enjoys unprecedented personal freedom and part of the reason for that is the separation of powers in government for which you gained a newfound appreciation.