“Stand up and speak up for truth—especially when it is not popular.”
—President Russell M. Nelson, “Becoming True Millennials
Accessed April 6,2018 from the LDS Media LIbrary.
What follows is my response to all the current political issues, the current President and how Presidents have come to do things ...

"Negative" Versus "Positive" Democratic Processes

We live in a country that protects more freedoms of belief and action than any other government on earth. I believe in these democratic processes and the rule of law. Who makes decisions and how they get made have always been extremely important issues in our democratic system.

Some procedures are more democratic than others. If changes are instituted through direct democracy – citizens voting – it will be a more secure foundation for these rights than through court interpretations or the actions of elected or unelected, government officials.

All citizens of this coun
try have many democratic processes available to them such as voting, influencing elected representatives, influencing other voters, contributing time and money, petitions, initiatives, running for office, etc.

I have never considered protests, marches, and demonstrations as positive behavior in a democratic system. It is negative behavior. It simply demands that someone do something about the issue.

In a democratic system that someone can be YOU. My opinion of protests, marches, and demonstrations is different in systems where positive democratic tools are not available to ordinary citizens. In such systems, people are extremely limited or prevented entirely, from engaging in any positive action in the governmental system they live under.

In this country, consider that women were forced to resort to these measures when they did not have the vote. In addition, blacks were also forced to utilize these tools when intimidation, violence and other methods prevented them from exercising their democratic rights. Currently, no group on any side of thie issues is prevented from utilizing democratic tools. They are available to us all.

I encourage everyone to focus their efforts on the positive democratic tools available to them. Our system is fundamentally good. Change should come within it.

Protests, marches, and demonstrations seem based on emotion and tend to appeal to emotions. They do not result in any positive change based on respect and civility. They seem to produce the opposite, regardless of which side is utilizing them.

This is also the view of Rep. Barney Frank. In an AP article that ran in October, 2009:
Rep. Barney Frank, the first openly gay member of Congress, says he'd rather see gay rights supporters lobbying their elected officials than marching in Washington this weekend, calling the demonstration "a waste of time at best."
Frank, in an interview with The Associated Press, said he considers such demonstrations to be "an emotional release" that does little to pressure Congress.
"The only thing they're going to be putting pressure on is the grass," the Massachusetts Democrat said Friday.
Gay rights advocates should borrow from the playbooks of the two most effective interest groups, the National Rifle Association and the AARP, said Frank.
"Call or write your representative or senator, and then have your friends call and write their representative or senator," Frank said. "That's what the NRA does. That's what the AARP does."
Mobs Will Be Mobs

We have a right “peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Somewhere along the line, we have decided that this also applies, not to just government, but against each other as well.

Groups often become unruly mobs and end up doing things that the individuals comprising them would never intend or sanction on their own. History and current events supply numerous examples.

Demonstrations, protests and marches appeal to emotion, not to reason. So, whether people are participating in them, or are the object of them; they are going to react emotionally.

Underage children in my family participated in a sign-waving rally in a distant state on Election Day. They were screamed at, cursed at and subjected to the national sign of disunity. Am I appalled? Yes, at the parent’s decision to subject their children to this type of behavior. An emotional appeal will result in an emotional response. You can expect no other. We are all better off assuming our opponents are reasonable people who can, and will, respond to reason.

Any group’s behavior can disintegrate quickly into lawlessness, regardless of the issue that brought it together. Since I see nothing positive in demonstrations, protests, and marches, I will not participate in them – any of them. I would encourage all reasonable people to do them same. Whether the mob is with you or against you, it is still a mob.

After the initial #MeToo march, I saw a response by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She remarked that, to her amazement, the march never turned violent. That is positive praise. However, it does illustrate that her expectations were not very high.

Demonstrations, protests and marches can get out-of-hand so quickly. I don't encourage anyone to participate in them, especially children.

The Donald

I share the disgust and repulsion of Donald Trump. I'm mortified he is the President. It degrades the political processes I've championed and taught for nearly my whole life. However, I do think that criticism of him, or any President, should be carefully exercised.

Criticism of him and other governmental activity you disagree with, should be tempered by the fact that he does occupy a dignified office, even though he personally degrades the office he holds. You can criticize the man and his activities while simultaneously supporting the position of President and the important office it plays in our representative democracy.

It is a balancing act, I will grant you that. Our representative democracy is a fundamentally good system and change should come within it, using the processes it provides. If the office of the President is weakened, it will hurt all future Presidents as well as this country as a whole. In fact, it could weaken democratic processes worldwide.

Plenty of criticism can be leveled at Trump, and his activities, without jeopardizing the fundamentally good democratic system we all support. Emotionally charged rhetoric can do a lot of damage. Criticism, on the merits, is always positive.

The Presidency

We are not at this very uncomfortable junction solely because of Trump. His behaviors and activities are not unique to his Presidency. What is unusual is that they are all embodied in one President, in fact, one Modern President (FDR and later).

Lyndon Johnson was crude and crass. Many President's chased skirts, such as Johnson, Kennedy and Clinton. Clinton's personal behavior is a deep stain on the Presidency. From the inside knowledge I was privy to while teaching government in the South during the election cycle leading up to his Presidency, his offenses include numerous instances of aggressive sexual assault, molestation and even rape.

Listening to the Nixon tapes revealed Nixon to be a criminal and a thug. The recordings sound like organized crime/mafia dealings.

Reagan was deeply critical of the government saying that government IS the problem. Our democratic system took a real beating under him. Trump is certainly following suit. Reagan, almost single-handedly, made "bureaucrat" a dirty word.

Like Trump, George Bush, Jr. organizationally isolated himself and impeded the free flow of information to the Presidency. This resulted in him making bad decisions based on incomplete data. This was Kennedy's problem during the Bay of Pigs fiasco, although he obviously learned from his mistakes in how he handled the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Reagan was a lax President. He spent over 365 days of his two terms vacationing. He made the Presidency almost a part-time job. Trump seems to be following suit.

Every President since Eisenhower has been caught in lying although Trump certainly deserves to win the VCR. He is a pathological liar.

Government By Executive Order

Clinton began a dangerous precedent that ALL Presidents have since utilized. Executive orders are decrees on how a President is going to administer law. Clinton didn't just address implementing and administering law, he created law.

Presidents who do this are bypassing the legislative process. Executive Orders are part of administrative law, one of my specialties as a Ph.D. Experts at the time were expressing concern over a President getting too aggressive with this power. They agreed that as long as the President didn't use it as an end run around Congress, and exercised restraint with it, the Courts would probably allow President's to keep this power.

Clinton got out-of-hand with this power, as did Bush Jr. and Obama.

The problem is that you must exhibit your concern over this when it's a President you like and when you approve of the actions he's taking. Too few people have done this.

What we've ended up with is law being jerked back and forth as Trump tries to undo, by Executive Order, what Obama did with Executive Orders. This results in law lurching back and forth.

These sorts of actions should have been taken by Congress, not the President. When Congress acts, action is tempered and more consistent, much better for governing. Congress is the proper entity to legislate.

What I Hope Results From All of This

Despite all these problems, I am still hopeful. I think the national press has learned some things from covering the Presidential election.

Citizens are getting a government "run like a business" and they don't like it.

We have people with no expertise trying to serve in government and they are largely failing.

The President's Executive Order power is being curtailed by the courts.

Congress is reasserting itself in legislation and this is what it should be doing.

"The President" is getting no credit for Congressional legislation. It isn't being called "Trump's Budget" or "The President's Budget." it is the budget.The President is not being credited with anything Congress is doing.

This President will likely be thoroughly discredited in history.

I think the political scientists' concern about our "Imperial Presidency" will be reversed. Our separation of powers seems to be reestablishing the balance we should have.

What I Fear May Result

The office of the President has been permanently degraded because of the present occupant.

The dialog amongst citizens has become so inflamed and politically polarized that no compromise can occur, no common ground can be found and both sides end up hating each other.

However, I do think it is possible to reverse the damage if people remain respectful, stick to the merits of arguments, avoid personal criticism and not demonize the opposition.

We can all play a positive part in the future.

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