Monday, June 26, 2017

The United States Would be Better Off with a Parliament


"From a professional standpoint, it is my opinion that Parliamentary Systems of government, historically speaking, have always had a much better record of responding to the needs of their people than have had Constitutional Republics." - Kent Allen Halliburton

Parliamentary Systems 

A Parliamentary System is a system of democratic governance of a state where the executive branch derives its democratic legitimacy from its ability to command the confidence of the legislative branch, typically a parliament, and is also held accountable to that parliament. In a parliamentary system, the head of state is usually a different person from the head of government. This is in contrast to a presidential system, or Constitutional Republic, where the head of state often is also the head of government, and most importantly, the executive branch does not derive its democratic legitimacy from the legislature.

In parliament, the seats are appointed by the popular vote in each constituency. For example, a person running in a certain constituency would be elected by the popular vote in that constituency. Same goes for the head of state, assuming there is no monarch. For example, Hillary Clinton won 48.2% of the vote, but the electoral college elected Donald Trump, who only had 46.1% of the vote. However, in a parliamentary system, the head of state, President, who would only serve for ceremonial purposes and would have no executive power, would be elected by the popular vote of the nation. This would eliminate the electoral college putting the power in the hands of the American people. However, the Prime Minister, who would have executive power, would be elected by the party who won the most seats in the election. In the United States' case, the Prime Minister would currently be Republican due to the Republican majority in the Congress. 

Countries with parliamentary systems may be constitutional monarchies, where a monarch is the head of state while the head of government is almost always a member of parliament, such as the United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden and Japan, or parliamentary republics, where a mostly ceremonial president is the head of state while the head of government is regularly from the legislature, such as Ireland, Germany, India and Italy. In a few parliamentary republics, such as Botswana, South Africa, and Suriname, among some others, the head of government is also head of state, but is elected by and is answerable to parliament. In bicameral parliaments, the head of government is generally, though not always, a member of the lower house.

Parliamentarism is the dominant form of government in Europe, with 38 of its 50 sovereign states being parlamentarian. It is also common in the Caribbean, being the form of government in 10 of its 13 island states. It is also the most common form of government in Oceania, otherwise known as the Pacific. Elsewhere in the world, like Africa and South and Central America, parliamentary governments are less common, but they are distributed through all continents, most often in former British Empire colonies. For a more detailed explanation of of parliamentary governments, click HERE and HERE.

Constitutional Republics

A Constitutional Republic is a state where the officials are elected as representatives of the people, and must govern according to existing constitutional law that limits the government's power over citizens. A Constitutional Republic is the current form of government in the United States. A Republic, by definition, has two principle elements. First, it is controlled by Law; therefore, it does not control Law. Second, it recognizes the private independent sovereign nature of each person, man or woman, of competent age and capacity; therefore, a Republic must be representative in its nature.

A Republic recognizes Law as unchangeable, or at least that it can only be changed by a higher source than government. In a Republic the concept of “collective sovereignty” cannot exist, except with recognition that the State or nation, as a body of sovereigns, can speak through one elected voice; though that one voice can never lawfully interfere with the private rights of the individual sovereigns.

A Constitutional Republic is a government created and controlled, at least, by the Law of a Constitution. The Constitution of the United States of America was, in Law, a foundation based, in some parts, on the Bible, the Magna Carta, and the Declaration of Independence, among other documents, and historical references. Those sources recognize man’s sovereignty, the divine nature of man’s creation and man’s divine right to Life, Liberty, the means of acquiring and possessing Property, and the pursuit of happiness.

The purpose of a Constitutional Republic is to place limits on the tyranny of the majority. Alexis de Tocqueville wrote:

"If, on the other hand, a legislative power could be so constituted as to represent the majority without necessarily being the slave of its passions, an executive so as to retain a proper share of authority, and a judiciary so as to remain independent of the other two powers, a government would be formed which would still be democratic while incurring scarcely any risk of tyranny."

The United States Constitution has many protections against the "tyranny of the majority." Specifically, it protects the Unalienable rights of the People from an overreaching government. For example:

Congress cannot establish a religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof—Amendment 1

Congress cannot prohibit free speech—Amendment 1

Congress cannot infringe on the right to keep and bear arms—Amendment 2

Senators must be elected by the States, not the people—annulled by Amendment 17

Habeas corpus shall not be suspended, except during invasion or rebellion—Article 1, Section 9

No direct tax shall be placed on the people without apportionment—Article 1, Section 9 - annulled by Amendment 16

Anything not explicitly permitted to Congress by the Constitution is reserved for the States or the People—Amendment 10

Comparison

The problem with the American Constitutional Republic system, as good as it may sound to some, is how difficult is to amend the system of laws when things are not going well. From time to time, a given issue may require that the Constitution be amended in order for a particular subject to be settled. In order for this to happen, each house of the national Congress, the Senate and the House of Representatives, will be required to pass the amendment to the Constitution with a clear two-thirds majority. Then the the amendment bill will have to be sent out to all fifty states where it must then then be approved by at a clear three-fourths of all of the state houses in those states each of whom have varied rules about how they require such laws to be passed in their states. The time that this could take is unimaginable. The record for such a period of time for an amendments passing sits at 202 years. There has to be some serious political force behind an amendment bill for it to pass within any reasonable amount of time. Now, it is possible that Congress could simply pass legislation to the effect of the amendment, but good luck getting the states to comply with the legislation if they are not willing enforce it.

Now, compare this to the Parliamentary System. In this system things are much more simple. If a party's piece of legislation fails to pass, this means that the sitting government has lost the faith of the people, and in most systems, this will automatically lead to new elections. After which, a new government will be formed, under the rule of the new party or their ruling coalition, which will then rule the country until they too fail to pass the needed legislation to carry out the agenda that got them elected. In this manner, a country's political mood can shift more easily and a politician that is disliked can find themselves unseated with a lot more ease, as opposed to people in a Constitutional Republic being forced to sit on their hands while a leader they don't like sits in the seat of power as he or she's likability numbers seek to historical lows.

Applying this to the United States

Over the past year, we have witnessed, as a nation, the most controversial presidential election in decades, arguably giving Nixon’s reelection a run for its money. All three candidates came out to show their teeth and it got ugly. In the end, due to the Democrat’s being so damn corrupt, just as much as the Republicans; they failed to choose a nominee that actually represented their constituencies' beliefs. As a result, this country is now stuck with a spray tanned buffoon as President for the next four, possibly even eight years. However, the presidency wasn’t the only controversial election. Congress had its own issues. Again, in the end we ended up with a Republican majority in both houses. Now we must pray to our gods that the Republicans can’t get anything done, or at least do any major damage, but this sparked my interest. What if the United States didn’t have a Congress, and instead had a parliamentary system of democracy? My main idea is that average citizens should have more of a chance of being represented at the highest levels of government, and that politicians should be held more closely accountable.

The United States Constitutional Republic is failing and its time for a controversial change to the system. Parliamentary systems work far better for far many more reasons than are listed here. Due to the way parliamentary systems work;  right now, Congress would have to call for a snap election that Donald Trump would likely lose to whoever his opponent is. We are living in a crucial time in history where the law is being ignored by most of our politicians, and because we live in a Constitutional Republic, we are forced to endure corruption and vice for much longer than is fair. We need to actively consider starting a movement in the United States that will press for the formation of a parliamentary system of government that will truly more accurately represent the needs and interests of the American people. When the people don't believe that they are being heard, they give up. A parliamentary system of government will give the people a better chance to feel included in the decision making process, and allow them to develop a closer more mature relationship with their government.

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