Six a.m., day after Christmas

It was news several weeks ago when President Obama announced that December 26th would be a holiday for federal government employees. Oh, what a generous ol’ St. Nick, cooed the mainstream media.

It wasn’t the act itself (which was hardly without precedent) but the manner in which it was executed that should have received attention. What was required for the proclamation to be so was an executive order. An executive order, you say? Yes, an executive order.

An executive order is an act of an executive (here, the President) that manages operations within the government (in this case, the federal government) itself. For example, proclaiming a certain day to be a holiday. It is akin to a private business CEO declaring such a thing for his or her employees. It affects only the company itself, or in the President’s case, the federal government itself.

The bastardization of the executive order (sadly, this too is hardly without precedent), is one of the great misdoings of executive power in 20th and 21st century governance. Presidents now are in the habit of declaring “executive orders” whenever they feel it is inconvenient to rely on Congress (the branch of government tasked with legislating) to make laws. “Executive orders” today have shoehorned their way into having the full effect of law–see recent commotion and fuss over amnesty for illegal immigrants–though this was never the original intent (pardon the expression).

So enjoy your day of, federal government employees. At least it came about legitimately.

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About moc

My name is Mike O'Connell. I am 42 years old and live in Northern Virginia. I am a teacher, a musician, and an enthusiast of all things American.

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