The Decomposition of the Executive Order - By Greer Clem

With only little over a week in office, President Trump is handing out Executive Orders like samples at a grocery store. Except if we don't like it, we can't simply choose not to buy it.

The concept of the executive order was not conceived so that the President could effectively act as a monarch. Congress exists to oversee the checks and balances system necessary to our democracy. Thus, executive orders should be the exception, not the rule, but with no political experience, it is not surprising that Trump does not understand this.

Granted, over time the use of the executive order has become more commonplace, but by all means is not the norm. During his tenure as President, Barack Obama issued a total of 279 executive orders, a generous number in it's own regard. Broken down by his 8 years in office, that is roughly 34 executive orders per year. Broken down by months, that is roughly 3 orders per month. In his first three days in office, Donald Trump has already issued 10.

Perhaps this would not be so troubling if the orders themselves were not so frightening. While executive orders may be used to bypass resistant members of congress, they do not exist to advance a personal agenda. However, Trump's executive orders only bolster his own narrow minded xenophobic views.

So far, he has delivered two orders to revive the Keystone XL pipeline and Dakota access pipeline, an order to reinstate the Global Gag rule, an order to withdraw the US from the TPP, an order to freeze hiring within the federal government, and has promised an order to build his wall along the border of Mexico before the week is out.

Just when we thought it couldn't get worse... the Muslim Ban. When acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, then implemented the use of checks and balances by refusing to immediately endorse the ban, she was fired, with a note not even signed by the President himself.

This was never how Executive power was envisioned. Our system of checks and balances were created to prevent the kind of actions we have seen over the last few days, or to at least prevent them without being properly vetted and supported.

Several years ago, I heard the recently departed Justice Antonin Scalia speak at Tufts. A man I had little in common with, a man who was known for being conservative sometimes to the point of impropriety, stood and told us that the founding fathers envisioned America as a place where gridlock would be our safeguard. Political gridlock was no accident, he said. It exists because we need to think through our decisions, to weigh them heavily and to let our differences of opinion fight it out. I have thought of those words often over the past few days and how they resounded with me so deeply.

I only wish that Donald Trump could be so affected by that argument, or that he could even open his ears and listen to it.


Greer Clem