Right from the Middle: America taken over by three oligarchs acting as dictators

Right from the Middle: America taken over by three oligarchs acting as dictators
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Right from the Middle: America taken over by three oligarchs acting as dictators

Three oligarchs rule this country, each acting as dictator for their wing of government- the President, the Majority Leader of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House. These three individuals make decisions for our country, not the American people and a coalition of their locally elected representatives. Over the course of the past 30 years, I have watched power consolidate around these three individuals, and those of you who follow the operations of our federal government I am sure will agree.

By William O. Lipinski

Today, our Land of Liberty is governed by a three person junta and American Democracy suffers for it. We no longer maintain a government of, for, and by the people; America is no longer a Democratic Republic, it is an oligarchy.

Three oligarchs rule this country, each acting as dictator for their wing of government- the President, the Majority Leader of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House. These three individuals make decisions for our country, not the American people and a coalition of their locally elected representatives. Over the course of the past 30 years, I have watched power consolidate around these three individuals, and those of you who follow the operations of our federal government I am sure will agree.

The Senate, the House of Representatives, the courts, news media, big business, and ordinary everyday citizens have permitted the Imperial Presidency to become a reality. Most Americans understand the separation of powers to simply be a division of authority between three branches of government, but the American government’s structure intended to protect individual rights by stopping one branch from assuming enough power to become dictatorial.

William O. Lipinski former Congressman from Illinois (5th and later 3rd District). Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

William O. Lipinski former Congressman from Illinois (5th and later 3rd District).

According to our Founding Fathers, no one branch of government shall have enough power to govern alone. When one branch has the power to govern alone, citizens are left only with the assurance that such power will be used wisely. James Madison famously warned, “if men were angels, no government would be necessary.”

Our Founding Fathers also warned against blind trust in government, citizens should trust the government only when two of the three branches have been equally involved. Only when all Senators, Representatives and the President participate in developing legislation should that legislation be accepted by the citizens; as that is best it can be in a Democratic Republic. Even then the citizenry should monitor it very closely.

Today I would like to talk about one of those dictators, the Imperial President. An Imperial President is a President that has gone far beyond his constitutional limits in the exercise of power. Remember our Founding Fathers feared and vigorously opposed an Imperial Presidency, having just freed themselves from the British Empire. It was certainly not a vision of George Washington and to prove it he only served two terms.

Some will say the Imperial Presidency began with Andrew Jackson because he vetoed more bills than the six previous presidents combined. But I strongly disagree, Abraham Lincoln started the Imperial Presidency by assuming powers that no other president has claimed; he suspended habeas corpus, ignored Congress and expanded the army, jailed people suspected of being disloyal and many other actions that went far beyond his constitutional powers. He did more than any other occupant of the White House with the exception of Franklin D. Roosevelt to create the Imperial Presidency.

After Abraham Lincoln things started to return to normal, but then along came Teddy Roosevelt and the Imperial Presidency was reborn. Remember his famous statement — “I took the Panama canal.” He also sent the Great White Fleet around the world without getting the funding from Congress. When Congress would not fund the mission, Roosevelt said it would be Congress’s fault when American men and American ships were stranded halfway around the world. Roosevelt acted as though the President had the right to use any and all powers unless they were specifically denied to him.

Next came another expander, Woodrow Wilson who in my opinion was one of our poorest presidents. Wilson approved the federal income tax. He permitted unprecedented expansion of segregation in federal offices. He lowered tariffs which hurt American industry. He had the army and the Navy intervene in Haiti, Dominican Republic, and Mexico. The way he campaigned for reelection was hypocritical and appalling, his reelection campaign theme was he kept us out of war, yet shortly after the election, we had troops fighting on European soil. His actions were militant and extreme, yet the Legislative and Judicial branches lay idol. Their refusal to act as an appropriate check led to Wilson using his executive powers to carry out the Palmer Raids during the post World War One, Red Scare.

The Palmer Raids were conducted primarily against Italian and Eastern European immigrants of Jewish heritage. Wilson ordered his Atty. Gen. Alexander Mitchell Palmer to go after hyphenated Americans who Wilson charged had “poured the poison of disloyalty into the very arteries of our national life”. He went on to say such creatures of passion, disloyalty, and anarchy must be crushed. US attorney Francis Kane for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania resigned in protest of the raids. In his letter of resignation Kane wrote, “It seems to me that the policy of raids against large numbers of individuals is generally unwise and very apt to result in injustice.” Massachusetts District Court Judge George Anderson ordered the discharge of 17 arrested aliens and denounced the Department of Justice’s actions. He wrote, “a mob is a mob whether made up of government officials acting under instructions from the Department of Justice, or of criminals, loafers and vicious classes.” The raids arrested over 13,000 individuals and only deported 556 aliens.This was truly an act of evil, and greatly expanded the powers of the Presidency.

Then came the greatest Imperial President of them all, the champion of champions, the only person to have an ego great enough to run and win the presidency four times. A man who believed he was indispensable and irreplaceable. Franklin Roosevelt became a dictator. If his health had not given out he may have run again in 1948. He did an incalculable amount of good for this country, but he fundamentally changed the role of the President to the point that it no longer resembles the Presidency of our forefathers.

He created a new and powerful role for the federal government in our country’s economy, in its corporate life, and in the health, welfare, and the well-being of its citizens. He forged into law, the federal government giving financial aid to the infirm, the aged and the unemployed when they no longer could provide for themselves. He saw to it that unions got the right to organize and bargain collectively. FDR helped agriculture with price supports and development programs. His New Deal sought to ensure that the economic, social, and political benefits of American Capitalism were distributed more equally among America’s large and diverse population. His New Deal and the Second World War truly created the first real American Middle class. Through his “fireside chats” he built a bond with the American people, creating an image of the president as the caretaker of the nation and its people.

By becoming the nation’s caretaker, FDR made the President both the chief legislator of public policy, and the implementer of it. FDR signed an incredible number of executive orders- 3728, that congress had no voice in, one of which was Executive Order 9066, which gave the Federal Government the power and the right to round-up Japanese American citizens and place them in camps during World War II. These are the types of troubling choices that can be made by one person, when we concentrate the power of the Federal Government against the founder’s vision.

Harry Truman who I think was an outstanding President moved the presidency only slightly more imperial, but after FDR people didn’t even notice. Then came the only president who tried to scale back the Imperial Presidency Dwight David Eisenhower. He didn’t scale it back much but he didn’t add to it. Where FDR might have pushed a national roadway via an executive action, Eisenhower passed popular legislation with general support among the American population. He got the support of Congress which allowed them to legally fund the creation of a national highway system via the Federal Aid Highway Act. Coincidently he was the president during what I think are the greatest economic years of the American Republic when America truly developed a middle class.

After Eisenhower they all expanded it a little or a lot Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump. That’s how the president became the strongest of the three dictators that now run this nation.

Next time we will go into the other two dictators, the Majority Leader of the Senate and the Speaker of the House.

(William O. Lipinski served as the Congressman originally representing the 5th Congressional District and later the 3rd Congressional District from 1982 until 2005. Previously he served as the alderman for the 23rd Ward between 1975 until 1983, and as Democratic Committeeman for the 23rd Ward. Share your comments with Lipinski by email at BillLipinski@hotmail.com.

(This column is co-edited by Lipinski’s grandson, Brian Broeking.)

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William Lipinski

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