Guest column: By electing hardliners, we’re losing access to our system of government

In failing to elect people who can work together, we are losing the third branch of government, writes Ken Fallon.

These are worrying times. Our democracy and democracies around the world are being threatened both without and within.

On Friday, July 13, the National Security director, Dan Coates, said with regard to Russia and continuing cyberthreats, “The warning lights are blinking red again”. He went on to say, “Today, the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack.” The director made these statements on the same day that 12 Russian agents were indicted.

Three days later, at the Helsinki summit, Monday July 16, 2018, our president, who knew about the 12 indictments, seemed to have forgotten where his loyalties lie; with the country he has sworn to, “preserve, protect and defend” or to acquiesce to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin which the world witnessed at the news conference. No fake news here. We all saw it.

And what happened in the two-hour meeting without a U. S. Representative or U.S. Security present to witness? We don’t know. We know what Russia State Media is saying what was agreed upon, but our government is silent. We don’t know.

So, one has to wonder where was the President Kennedy who confronted Nikita Khrushchev to get his Russian Missiles out of Cuba? Where was the President Reagan who demanded that Mikhail Gorbachev, “Tear down this wall.” Well, that president was not present in Helsinki on July 16, 2018.

Russia has always sought to divide U.S. and European democracies, externally and internally, something that both European and United States leaders have fought. Knowing these truths, why would our president advocate that Russia be allowed to rejoin the G-7 Countries after they were ousted from the group following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014?

And why would our President continue to disparage NATO members and double down with Tariff wars with our Mexican, Canadian and European Allies while at the same time easing sanctions on China Telecom giant ZTE? And why impose tariffs that can ultimately cost jobs and increase the living costs for middle class Americans and erase savings realized in the 2017 tax reform legislation?

And finally, why do we continue to divide ourselves into ideologies and tribes resulting in nothing getting done in Congress? It’s a mystery. We are losing the weight of our vote and giving our policy decision making to the Executive Branch with Executive Orders and the Judicial Branch with Judicial Decisions.

In failing to elect people who can work together, compromise and make decisions, we are losing the third branch of government that was designed to represent our interests, thelegislative branch. How much sense does that make?

The threats to our democracy are equally external and internal. We can do something about that.

Ken Fallon is a retired Clinical Social Worker, School Board Member for fourteen years in the Matanuska Susitna Borough, Alaska, and author who moved to Idaho Falls in 2003 and can be reached at