The Art of Circumvention

As children, we are masters at the art—or at least the attempt of—circumvention. Simply put, kids are in the business of getting what they want. Parents in the business of running block against some of those (often ill-planned) things that children want.

Enter the Art of Circumvention.

The child will either bypass the more “difficult” (translation: more likely to say “no”) parent in favor of the more lenient parent; or the child will simply find a way to get around having to ask permission at all. Often it’s the latter.

Usually, the parents catch wind and the kid gets caught.

What happens in those cases where the kid doesn’t get caught? To their sheer delight, the child revels in the fact that he or she was able to pull a fast one on the ‘rents. But in the end—it’s the kid who ends up losing . . . because so often a decision to circumvent the authority figures in our lives (Mom, Dad, grandparents, etc.) gets us into trouble. Think dangerous places, dangerous crowds, etc. Parents stand as the gatekeepers of their child’s decisions, attempting to field out the dangerous ones and protect the young one.

Most things in life work this way. Our lives are surrounded by rules meant to keep us from going a step too far.  Our government is no different.

When our Founding Fathers crafted the structure of our unique system, they knew first-hand what living under the rule of a leader exempt from the rules was like. England, like most places in Europe, had lived under the thumb of a string of monarchs who had near god-like power. Take the infamous Henry VIII, who broke with Rome and created his own church just so he could divorce his first wife, Catherine, and marry the much younger and more attractive Anne Boleyn. Or consider his daughter Queen Mary I who—deeply Catholic, and deeply slighted by her father’s rejection of her Catholic Spanish mother—earned the grim moniker “Bloody Mary” for the way that she persecuted non-Catholics during her reign. The examples are many. They could do virtually whatever they wanted, and they did.

Despite some initial desires to create a brand new American monarchy, the Founders instead wisely divided the government into three branches—the legislative, judicial, and executive branches that we have today, limiting the power each branch could wield over the American people they serve. Parameters were put into place to curb our natural human tendency to circumvent the rules in search of the path of least resistance; the easiest path to whatever it is we all want.

So, what does President Barack Obama want?

We all know he wanted the Affordable Care Act. So much so that it was jammed through Congress by his supporters without so much as one vote from the opposing party.

Barack Obama got what he wanted, and on March 23rd, 2010 he signed the Affordable Care Act into law. Signed, sealed, and delivered.

Despite having achieved passage of his signature piece of legislation, this law has never enjoyed majority support. In fact, its numbers have never been spectacular . . . and when the particulars of the law began trickling down into Main Street U.S.A., the numbers did nothing but nose-dive.

So, again, what does President Obama want?

There’s an election coming up in 2014. Not unlike any other president in his position, President Obama wants to keep the Senate, and take back the House. With his own job approval numbers hitting epic new lows and Congressional job approval hovering shamefully in a deep, deep hole, the President knows he can’t afford to take any more flack from the Obamacare “horror stories” that seem to surface anew each day—despite Senator Harry Reid’s claim that they’re all lies.

The fix is simple.

Circumvent the law . . . again . . . and the inevitable negative impact becomes somebody else’s problem down the road.

Remember how we were told we could keep our plans if we liked our plans? The pain of those Americans suffering the loss of their much-needed healthcare as a result of this law is very, very real . . . and it’s getting louder. In an effort to quell the protest—if only temporarily—the administration recently announced that it will allow “insurers to continue offering health plans that do not meet ObamaCare’s minimum coverage requirements.” (Incidentally, if the horror stories are indeed lies, I wonder if Senator Reid might explain the President’s urgent desire to prevent the law from full implementation?)

Wait—the administration “will allow?
Much to the contrary of what is quickly becoming “popular belief,” the president has zero power to draft, change, or bypass legislation.


Yet, this isn’t the first time. The administration has now (including this most recent change) arbitrarily changed the health care law 11 times. (It’s 28 times if you include the times when Congress and the Supreme Court got involved.) This is just one law, however, and this certainly isn’t the administration’s first rodeo. From its order to the Department of Justice to cease upholding the federal Defense of Marriage Act in court, to issuing immigration law by fiat, this administration has long been in the practice of refusing to abide by the laws and constraints in place.

And they’ve got the full backing of major pundit figures, like Donna Brazile who tweeted out this message to Obama on Presidents’ Day, openly urging him to take action without Congress:

Brazile 1 Brazile 2It’s really irrelevant whether or not Congress is cooperating with the President. The fact of the matter is that we have laws and we have Constitution, and operating by anything less is simply dictatorial. What else do you call a leader who doesn’t follow his nation’s laws? Indeed, what separates our President from, for example, Vladamir Putin, who simply decided to take Crimea for his own? After all, it could be said that had Putin waited around for the Russian population in Crimea to work with the Ukrainian government to legally separate themselves from Ukraine, it never would have happened . . . and after all, Putin needs that port in the Black Sea now. So, it’s ok, right?

To be certain, Barack Obama is not enforcing his executive orders with armed, masked men. But that’s beside the point. He and his administration are circumventing the law at his whim through executive orders, and that has a lasting effect on the precedent set. While some are quick to point out that past presidents weren’t exactly cautious in exercising their executive pen, the difference, as aptly points out, is the type of executive order this White House emits:

“There are three basic ways in which Obama’s behavior exceeds that of any his predecessors. The first is that Obama is using executive orders and actions to alter his own legislation . . . The second way in which Obama’s abuse of executive power is different is that he has done it to prevent the legislature from acting . . . The third way in which Obama’s behavior is unusual is that he commands sweeping executive power on some issues while arguing, on other issues, that he has no power to act . . . There is no constitutional doctrine behind the president’s executive orders, actions, and omissions: there is just pure, cynical political expediency.”

Why should this matter to you?

Responding to a condemned Jesus, Roman leader Pontius Pilate once famously asked, “What is a truth?” Such a flippant worldview invites disorder . . . after all, if there is no truth, there is no way to establish order.

Similarly, without a Constitution and without rule of law, there can be no order—only the whim of the leader in power.  If such a thought doesn’t particularly bother you, I ask you to imagine the current situation reversed. Consider a person or party you oppose wielding the very same power, except this time shredding our nation’s laws in favor of what you oppose. It’s dangerous, no matter what party is in power.

Chad Kent of and The Chris Salcedo Show puts it well:

“Again, Thomas Paine taught us that is absolute governments the king is law.  But in free governments, the law must be king.  Given what we know about how Obamacare is being implemented, ask yourself that question again: Are we moving closer to having a free government… or an absolute government?”

The world is full of places led by a single person, or a single party—Venezuela comes to mind at present—and such dictatorial rule eventually necessitates suppression to quiet those who refuse to cooperate. After generations as the world’s bastion for freedom, do we really want to join such ranks?

2 thoughts on “The Art of Circumvention

  1. We understand that Obama has circumvented many laws, but looking at all the regulations we’re under we haven’t been free in a long time. The question that I have been asking is how can we circumvent the laws and become free again?

  2. It is refreshing to read such concise, articulate writing. I look forward to reading more of your work.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s