Lacking Checks and Balances, Government Brings Us a Tragicomic Mess
Today’s post is a lesson in basic civics.
When one party reigns supreme, as it does these days in the majority of states and the federal government—when one party dominates the executive branch and the legislative branch—government leaders do pretty much whatever they want. They pass dangerous legislation and they pass outrageously trivial and sometimes noxious legislation. Even if you disagree and use all the avenues citizens are given to participate in our supposedly participatory democracy, your opinions may be completely ignored.
There are some lessons here—about the importance of courageous stances taken by legislators in the minority—about powerful voices in the community who help change and shift the debate—and about the need for the press to make sure the public is aware of the implications of the actions taken and to make sure everybody votes in the next election.
Ohio is a one party, super-majority Republican state. I’ll demonstrate the importance of the three lessons with examples from Ohio just in this past week, but remember that the lessons very probably apply in your state and certainly to what is happening at the federal level.
Let’s begin with the lesson on the need for the press (and even bloggers) to make sure the public is informed about the implications of the actions taken. In a Valentine for school teachers, Ohio Governor John Kasich included in his state budget a requirement that to renew their teaching licenses, teachers will have to complete an externship with a business or local chamber of commerce. Here is Jackie Borchardt of the Cleveland Plain Dealer explaining the reasoning behind Kasich’s proposal: “The idea is the latest in Kasich’s push to better connect schools with their local business communities. Requiring externships for license renewal was one of several recommendations made late last year by Kasich’s Executive Workforce Board.”