Thursday, January 26, 2017

Out Of Order

As the Republicans were fond of reminding us during the Obama administration, executive orders don’t carry a whole lot of weight without legislation to implement them or fund them.  They can be rescinded by the next president or even the president that implemented them in the first place.  Some do have permanent impact if they are an element in the legislation, but by and large they are mostly symbolic in nature.

So when Trump signed an executive order to build the wall along the Mexican border, it doesn’t mean that it will go up.  When he signed an executive order to ban funding to sanctuary cities, there are ways around them, the same way that family planning agencies in Africa have found ways around the reproductive rights restrictions put in place by Reagan, rescinded by Clinton, reinstated by Bush, rescinded by Obama, and reinstated by Trump.

Believe it or not — and the last eight years or so make it seem like it’s not true — but in order for most things to happen in this country, Congress has to pass a law or provide funding.  And while Trump may be in office for four years, the House of Representatives is up for re-election next year, as is one-third of the Senate.  It would help them to make a decision if they were consistently reminded of that.  Find out who your representative is and establish a connection.  And while you’re at it, find out who your state representative is in your state legislature.  Remind them too that they are up for re-election soon and that you’ve got your eye on them.

Also, I agree with Adam L. Silverman over at Balloon Juice who basically says don’t become like Trump: don’t let every little thing set you off.  There will be a million little things about this president and this Congress that make your blood boil, but as we have seen, easily distracting him brings chaos and consternation, and we can’t be like that.  Calm and steady but implacable resistance works better than going off every time he sends out a 3 a.m. tweet.

Jim Morin in The Miami Herald.