The President, Congress and Principle
The president commands immense power and is sometimes asked to make life-changing decisions. Congress is also mandated by the constitution to endorse the actions of the president. For example, the president, as the commander in chief of the armed forces, can only send the army to war after receiving an authorization from congress, or in the event of an attack on the US territory. The president in his actions may sometimes make decisions in total deviance of the congress’ advice. A recent case scenario saw president Obama sent US troops to Libya to assist the rebels in toppling Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. His decision was a total disregard of congress’ advice.
It is evident that the relationship between the president and congress is sometimes conflicting. While congress may be vouching for a certain policy decision, the president may be the only voice of dissent. Congress may sometimes be driven by selfish desire rather than the good of the people. It is during such times that the president is compelled to take charge of affairs even if it means sometimes exceeding his authority. When the president assumes more authority than he is allocated by the constitution, it constitutes a violation of the same constitution. This raises the pertinent question of if the people would rather suffer at the hands of an indifferent congress, or gain at the expense of a mere constitutional violation.
In as much as the president is supposed to work in the spirit of the constitution, this should not be at the expense of a suffering citizenry. The decisions he makes should be governed by principle and not by the aspirations of congress. He should fully represent the views of the nation and act according to what he truly believes is appropriate at that time. In the process of discharging his duties, the president should also know that no one, including him, should be exonerated from actions that may harm the populace.