Larry Bradley’s Ezine #389 How Does Election Reform Relate to the Alexandria Shooting?

Weekly Ezine #389

How Does Understanding Direct Vs. Implied Orders Help Us Understand Comey’s Testimony?
How Does Election Reform Relate to the Alexandria Shooting?

How Does Understanding Direct Vs. Implied Orders Help Us Understand Comey’s Testimony?

First of all, my apologies on the time gap since my last Ezine. I’m involved in several personal projects demanding my time and attention. That leaves little time for in-depth, careful writing. I do frequently post articles supporting Election Reform on my Facebook page. My bad for not duplicating those postings on my Blog. I’ll do better. I hope to resume a more frequent and consistent schedule by the end of September. Now, on to this Ezine’s topics.

There’s an important concept that needs to be understood in order to have proper perspective on former Head of the FBI James Comey’s Jun 8, 2017 testimony. At high levels of executive authority (especially in government and the military) there is a difference between an explicit direct order and an implied order. A direct order is just like it sounds. “Go to this place. Do this task. Report back to me.”

An implied order sounds like this. “Wouldn’t it be nice if this happened?” While the second order is softer and sounds nicer, it has all the authority of the direct order. It’s used because the boss issuing the order wants to seem less stern or to see if their subordinate has the capacity to think for themselves, rather than having to always be directly told what to do. Most people are employed in positions where they never experience an implied order.

Here’s an illustration of the concept from an event a friend of mine observed and later told me the story about. Two Army Generals were sitting in a conference room having a discussion about various topics. Sitting in the chairs lining the conference room were their various aides and staff. At one point, given the nature of their conversation and their knowledge of their implied order authority, the two Generals stopped talking. They turned around and looked directly at their subordinates. They said explicitly, “We’re just talking.” They wanted their subordinates to clearly understand they were indeed just conversing, not issuing implied orders.

Now apply the implied order concept to our current President telling Comey, “I hope you can see your way clear to go easy on, etc. etc.” Seen in that light, it is obvious President #45 was not “just talking”. Comey may not have in so many words been directly told to halt an investigation, but (as his testimony indicated) Comey felt he had been given a tasking.

Let us also remember two other factors. Unless there is something to hide, shouldn’t a sitting President welcome an investigation that would exonerate them from wrong doing? And if the former subordinate is indeed convicted of wrong doing, then doesn’t that same President also have the power to pardon that subordinate? So, why would a President seek to impede an investigation? Could it be they have something to hide?

How Does Election Reform Relate to the Alexandria Shooting?

We denounce the shooting that took place this past week in Alexandria, Virginia. The shooting resulted in the wounding of several people, including a member of Congress, Steve Scalise. The shooting was, as we know now, done by an individual who was apparently upset by government policy and performance resulting from the 2016 election.

While we might sympathize with the shooter’s disagreement with government policy and performance, we completely disagree with the methods he used to attempt to resist that change.

We do think, however, that this incident offers some lessons for us. One of those lessons has a parallel with the shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords in 2011. The similarity is this. The two shootings illustrate what can happen when individual citizens feel our elections have results that fail to reflect the will of the people and their voices are not being heard by elected officials. The frustration those citizens feel can boil over into violent acts.

And why do citizens have those feelings? They have them because we continue to operate with the flawed election processes we do. We continue to tolerate the restrictions of the spoiler scenario caused by the type of ballot we use. Elections are being won by pluralities, not majorities. This leaves the majority dissatisfied with government policy and performance.

We are supposed to be operating with representative government. But thanks to gerrymandering and the influence of money, the views of significant portions of the population are not able to be a part of debate in state and federal legislatures. For example, look at the current situation with the health care reform bill now being developed in the U.S. Senate. There are no hearings scheduled and the bill is being developed in total secrecy. The process has been amended so that only 51 votes (potentially including that of the Vice President) are required to bring the Bill to the floor for a vote.

America is not alone in frustration with its government. The recent British election demonstrates many similar problems. Their citizenry largely voted against those who “won” with a plurality of the vote. But thanks to the First-Past-the-Post Ballot they (and we) use, the majority has again been thwarted. https://www.thecanary.co/2017/06/13/big-election-story-political-establishment-doesnt-want-us-talk-images/ An interesting proposal within the article is that majorities form alliances among parties for elections so that they might gain the representation needed to make the reforms they desire. Americans might consider such an alliance themselves.

In sum, our process enables domination by one side or another, rather than ensuring diverse points of view are adequately represented in the post-election debate. Neither does our election process enable the electorate to clearly state the parameters of what they do want and find acceptable vs. what they don’t want and find unacceptable. Until we update our election processes, we will continue to see the conflict we see today. And possibly more shootings.

See you next time.

Regards,
Larry

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