The separation of powers helps to ensure good government at the same time it guards against tyranny. Independent in function but coordinated in the pursuit of justice, the three branches of government—legislative, executive, and judicial—must each have enough power to resist the encroachment of the others, and yet not so much that the liberty of the people is lost.
How many times does it appear that those congressional officials who we elected seem to be more interested in matters that don’t concern us in the least? When you are feeling neglected or your government is not responding the way that it should – look around if only for an instant – and in most cases it will be either protection from the potential encroachments of the other branches, or in the House of Representatives it very well could be other members of your party or another party creating factions within the same house.
This institutional design allows the sovereign people to observe and to know which branch is responsible for which actions in order to hold each to account. The sense of mutual responsibility built into the separation of powers is a reflection of the moral and civic responsibility all Americans share.
As for us, the sooner that Americans begin to take hold – firmly of their rights, responsibilities, and giving back – indeed more than we are taking into account, the shaky and undetermined future of America rests with those who involve themselves in all aspects self-government.
In the American regime, the Constitution is the “supreme law of the land.” No one branch is superior to it; all three branches have a duty to abide by it. While each of the three branches plays a unique role in the passage, execution, and interpretation of laws, all of the branches must work together in the governing process. Therefore, with the former House Speaker, Rep. Nancy Pelosi saying that the Houses’ agenda for the forthcoming elections and thereafter is going to be “a commitment in altering the U.S. Constitution” people from her district should take considerable notice.
The defining characteristic of the executive is “energy.” The president can act swiftly and decisively to deal with foreign threats and to enforce the law and can also provide a check on legislative tyranny through the veto.
With careful cultivation of one’s soul, attention to “the laws of nature and of nature’s God,” and the uplifting assistance of family, church, and the local community, an individual is able to tame base passions and live worthy of the blessings of liberty. Virtue is vital to good government. However, how do you feel about the quickness of response of our President Obama?
Among the greatest of blessings—and the most important of rights—is religious liberty. Rejecting the low standard of mere “toleration” that existed elsewhere, the Founders enshrined liberty of conscience as a matter of right. It is immoral, they held, for any government to coerce religious belief. Yet they also argued that it is advisable for governments to recognize their reliance upon “Divine Providence,” and to provide for the support and encouragement of religion.
The government of the United States (or any of the fifty states) is not a church, and the church is not a governmental entity. This institutional separation, a clear statement of which is in the First Amendment, is a boon to both religion and politics, for instead of tying man’s religious fate to the future of the state, the establishment of religious liberty frees up religion so that it might flourish. This important point is missed by the Supreme Court’s misinterpretation, repeated numerous times since 1947, of Thomas Jefferson’s “wall of separation between church and state” metaphor.