With Europeans intrigued by America's unexpected success, Alexis de Tocqueville carried out an in-depth study of the new nation in the 1830s. He was quite impressed with our divided government, which featured the separation of powers.
This structure made it difficult for any one branch -- executive, judicial or legislative -- to acquire too much power and run roughshod over the other branches and the will of the American people. Unfortunately, today we are witnessing a largely unchecked executive branch issuing decrees that circumvent Congress while facing only tepid resistance.
In civilian life, when a contract is entered into by two parties, and it is subsequently discovered that one side knowingly presented false promises in order to consummate the deal, a legitimate lawsuit can be initiated on the basis of fraud. The Affordable Care Act is a prime example of such a contract in the form of a bill, which never would have been passed if it had been revealed that millions of people would lose the health insurance with which they were satisfied and that they might not be able to keep their doctors, among other promises.
Nevertheless, this massive case of fraud has not been legally challenged by the legislative branch, leaving one to wonder why.
We hear a great deal about "Chicago-style politics." It is nothing more than a euphemism for political corruption, including bullying, blackmail and bribery. These pressures can be just as easily applied to national political figures as to local politicians.
Courage can be quite difficult to find when the threat of exposure hangs over one's head. In an age when Big Brother is capable of watching everything we do, it is not hard to imagine a scenario in which large numbers of public servants are silenced or subdued by secretive threats.
I have had an opportunity to witness firsthand how the blackmail threat operates. Several years ago, while I was in the operating room, I received a call from one of the legal offices at Johns Hopkins University informing me that the state of Florida was trying to attach my wages for child support.
I was shocked at such an allegation and informed them that I have three children, which I already support very ably. They said a woman in Florida was accusing me of being the father of her son, and that she had proof of our relationship. The proof turned out to be knowledge of where I went to high school, college and medical school, and where I served my internship and residency. To top all of that off, she had a picture of me in scrubs. I said anyone could obtain such information. However, the paternity suit was pursued, and I had to involve my personal lawyer.