It’s that time of year again when we as a nation take some time to stop and consider all of the things that we have to be thankful for. And in light of the recent elections, one item that is often overlooked is this: our government is slow.
For all of our justifiable complaints about our elected officials, and even our system of government, the fact that it is slow is a gift from our country’s founding fathers for which we can all be truly thankful.
To say that the founders were suspicious of power, government and human nature would be an understatement. And considering that self-government has to be administered by flawed individuals, they purposed to spread power as far, wide and thin as possible, reducing the potential for mischief that couldn’t be quickly checked by either competing interests or the voters themselves.
Not only did they provide us with the world’s first written constitution, a separation of executive, legislative and judicial power, and a division of legislative power, but they also had the presence of mind to stagger elections for representatives, president and senators every two, four and six years respectively.
It was a conscious choice to design a system that would make rapid and radical change extremely difficult. The end result being that Americans have to feel really, really strongly about something for an extended period of time in order to impact the election of enough officials to make substantial changes. read more »