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7 Historical Facts Politicians Should Know

Updated on December 26, 2016
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Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.

Leaders should understand what they are leading. That is something politicians don't seem to get. They are so focused on getting into powerful positions that they forget what they are leading and who they are creating a future for. During speeches and interviews, politicians mention things that are totally untrue and which they should be ashamed for not knowing. In fact, they shouldn't be allowed to run for public office if they don't know these 7 historical facts.

Republic - Not Democracy

This is one mistake that nearly every politician makes, and they should be flogged over it. No, I’m not being dramatic about this. There is a big difference between a republic and a democracy. Those who are leading our nation should know what kind of political country they are leading.

A republic is a form of government where the people elect representatives who meet and determine laws and justice for them. Ideally, those elected would be representative of the thoughts and beliefs of those who elected them. Therefore their actions at the seat of government would be in accordance of what the people wanted.

A democracy is a form of government where the people vote on every law and decide every question that arises in governing the land.

In America, we have a republican form of government. No, this does not mean it belongs to the Republican party. It means that we represent men and women to go to the nation’s capital for us and make laws to govern the land. We cannot be a democracy because that means we personally would have to go to the polls to vote on tariffs, funding, judicial appointments, and even how much can be spent on each project. That might sound great, but it would very impractical considering how many people are citizens in this country and how big the nation is.

Everyone proclaims that we live in a democracy. Sorry to burst your bubble, but that is far from the truth. We are a republic.

What is the harm in interchanging these words? A lot. First off, they are not the same thing so should not be used interchangeably. That is lazy and dangerous. The right words should be used when you communicate. Also, the misuse of these words shows an ignorance that is downright scary when you realize we are putting these leaders in office to run our country. They should know how our government is designed and how it works. Doesn’t that make sense?

Personally, when I hear a politician get this wrong, I tune him out. He is too ignorant for me. If he is going to run my government, he should know the mechanics of it. I don’t want someone who can’t tell the difference between a truck and a car to try to fix my vehicle. Then why do we allow ignorant people run our government?

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9/11 Facts

Too many politicians throw out ‘facts’ that are just conjecture or theory. Most of what you hear coming out of the politicians’ mouths are theories that have never been proven. Why? Because this event is fresh on most American minds and the full truth of it all is still fully known.

Was there a conspiracy behind 9/11? We can for certain say there was through Al-Quida, but anyone else is theory at this point. That doesn’t mean you can’t talk about the theory, but if you are a politician, you should step back and keep your nose clean. Deal with facts and not dreams. The reason is because it is used to just throw mud and lies at the opposing team.

Politicians should focus on issues and not drag up theories of how the other person was involved in something especially if there is no proof of it. Facts are vital. Theories can be created by anybody for any reason and lead to disaster every time. It’s the one who deals with facts who is able to successfully apply lessons learned from the incident and do better if it happens again.

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Middle East Conflicts

Present day international issues that our country faces today is largely a part of our own making. In the past, America has chosen countries, leaders, and rebels to support. In that support we have supplied warfare equipment to them. Now, we fight many of them against our own tools and resources. We created much of the trouble in the Middle East.

How many of us remember the Iraq/Iran war? We wanted Saddam Hussein to win. Therefore we gave him supplies to fight Iran. We gave him the power he had when he turned on Kuwait and ended up fighting us and being executed. We supplied resources to the Taliban to fight Russia. Who did we end up fighting a few decades later? The Taliban.

This is an historical fact that many politicians forget as they point fingers. They might point a finger at an opposing politician over something their own party did just ten years earlier. Maybe they didn’t know the truth, which makes me wonder if they studied the history of this nation at all. If they were misinformed, then they should educate themselves and stop relying on others to tell them what to say. Hopefully, there is a brain in there to use.

To successfully deal with a current problem, you have to understand the history behind it and not assume or point fingers. Facts help to win the day.

A Three Branch Government

Yes, there are three branches of government. Too often politicians give too much power to one branch or another. No, the president does not have unlimited power. Yes, Congress is there to check him. We have three branches of government so there is some balance in case injustice penetrates and tries to take over, which it tries to do on a regular basis.

The judiciary branch is where laws are challenged and the Constitution is upheld. They generally will not review any matter until the topic has worked its way up the judicial system.

The legislative branch is Congress. They create the laws and send them to the executive branch for approval. They also can impeach a president, which is not removing him from office. It is just saying there is enough evidence to take him to trial.

The executive branch is the President. He oversees the country and can block laws the legislative branch gives him though that block can be removed by the right number of Congressmen supporting the law. He also can declare war. He can work with the other branches to help his own agenda along, but he cannot force them to do anything he likes.

The branches are there to keep any one person or group from becoming an uncontrollable dictator.

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Church and State

No! The declaration of separation of church and state is not in the constitution. Stop saying that it is! This is not a constitutional right. We need to get the facts straight on this especially the politicians.

The phrase was first noted in Virginia because there was an official government religion there. One of the dreams of the new country was to be free to worship as you please because the religious environment in the old world was oppressive and deadly. From there, it become a common belief that the government should not choose one religion and force all others to follow suit.

Never, at any time, did the Founding Fathers or the government desire to remove religious influence from government. While it never wanted to force any religion down anyone’s throat, it opened its doors to prayer. One writer in Forbes stated that “our forefathers never sought to evict the church from society.” (http://www.forbes.com/sites/billflax/2011/07/09/the-true-meaning-of-separation-of-church-and-state/#51a81f726e59) They made sure in the Constitution that the government could not ”make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Again, there was to be no force. The popular phrase we incorrectly place in our country’s most hallowed document really came from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to a religious group. It is nothing official in our government literature. It was a phrase he used to describe how the Constitution had been set up.

If a politician says that separation of church and state is a constitutional right, he should never be allowed into office. He’s too dumb to run anything.

All Founding Fathers Were Not Christian

It is a very common misconception that our Founding Fathers were extreme Christians. Yes, they believed in God, but most were not as religious as we have made them out to be. The best way to understand them is to see beyond how history has painted them. Historians look to the personal writings of the men to get their true stance on politics and religion and discovered that “they had the following in common: (1) belief in a personal God, (2) familiarity with the Bible, and (3) belief in prayer” (http://greatamericanhistory.net/blog/the-religious-beliefs-of-americas-founding-fathers-christians-or-deists/).

Were they deists? Not all. Just as not all were devout Christians, but they all believed in a deity and much more complicated religious stances: “But the Founders were a product of not only Christianity, but also the political ideologies of the Enlightenment.” (Ibid)

No, they were not devout atheists, but they were also not the evangelical Christians they have been painted. One article stated that if “Jefferson was a Christian of any kind, he was an idiosyncratic one. He admired Jesus as a moral teacher but like many of America's revolutionaries, he had a visceral loathing for priestcraft. Jefferson blamed Saint Paul, the early Church, and even the Gospel writers for distorting the mission of Jesus, which, as he saw it, had been to reverse the decadence of the Jewish religion.” (http://www.economist.com/node/21541718)

The truth? It is probably in the middle. They were not zealous Christian nor were they devout atheists. They were men who believed in God but wanted to ensure that religion and government did not exist to tear the other one down.

The President Doesn’t Hold All the Power

For some reason, politicians think that being the President is the ultimate power trip. To a degree it might be, but what most people forget is that the position of the President of the U.S.A. is not absolute power. There are limits to that position which gets lost in the running for that office.

The government was designed to where no one man could have complete control and whole groups could have limited control. The president can make policy but it has to be approved by Congress. The Congress can make new laws, but the president can veto it. That still does not give him ultimate authority as the Congress can come back with a 75% vote and overturn his opposition. The president cannot do just anything he wants. That doesn’t mean he won’t try, but he does not have carte blanche to do anything he feels like.

Too often politicians use the misinformation that the president is an all-powerful position to strike fear into the hearts of voters or to convince them that a candidate will get certain things done. The fact that one person assumes the office is not a guarantee that his policies will be the ones that prevail,. If he’s smart and is able to work with all parties in Congress, it will be more likely he can get his agenda passed. But he is not powerful enough to get anything he wants. Who the voters put into Congress can make a much bigger difference in the country than who sits as president.


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