Wednesday, November 10, 2010

U.S. Government in a Nutshell.

"I don't fully understand your government structure..." my European friend confesses.
"Here's our government structure in a nutshell." I explain,

Back in the 1800's when our country broke away from the British rule and the king, we decided (well, actually the founding fathers decided, since my "people" were still slaves) anyway, they decided that after the "Declaration of Independence", they would create a government where "the people" of the country ruled so that NOT just one person would have ALL the power, like the king had before.

So they created 3 Branches of Government to rule the United States. The Executive Branch, Legislative Branch and The Judaical Branch, which is what we have today.

1. The Executive Branch - lives in the White House and consists of the President and his next door neighbor the Vice-President.

White House

Our President does not make his decisions solo, he always has a Cabinet, yes, like a "kitchen Cabinet" full of 15 members to help a brotha out in making decisions.

The President's Cabinet

The President basically makes sure everyone follows the Law made up by the Legislative Branch. Which brings us to the Legislative Branch where all the voting commotion took place last week.

2. The Legislative Branch - is the LAW MAKING MACHINE of the U.S.A. called CONGRESS. They branch live in the U.S. Capital Building (for a little while), you know that beautiful building with the big Dome on top?

The Capital Building Under Construction

Our Congress Lives Here - Senate and House of Reps.

Our CONGRESS is divided into 2 Sections, groups, houses or whatever called:
The House of Representative and the Senate. We "the people" just voted on who sits in both houses of congress.

The big news is that now the Republicans also called the Good ol' Boys...uh, I mean the "Grand ol' Party" (GOP) have the majority of people sitting in the House of Representatives. There are 435 Representatives in that home under the dome, and again, most (but not all) are Republicans. They are not the same party as our President who is Democrat. This should NOT be a big deal if everyone's ego and prejudices were put aside.

Why do we have 435 people representing only 50 States? It's based on how many districts are in each state.

When our government was formed, it was decided that each state in America would have a Representative in the House of Representatives. But since some states have a larger population than others, some states get to have more "homeboys" to represent in congress. My state, Nevada has only 3 representative. Texas has 30.

The Senate part of Congress (remember, the legislative Branch has 2 parts..and this is one of them) The Senate has 2 people from each state represented in congress. It is not like the House of Representatives. There are only 100 Senators in Congress.
And right now the majority of the senators are from the Democratic Party.

So our congress is now divided. House of Representatives ruled by majority Republicans and the Senate ruled by the majority Democrats. That's the way America Voted last week. Now, somehow this group of men and women have to agree on the making (or re-making) of laws for America. Some news reports that the Republicans in Congress want to focus on making sure President Obama is not successful in getting elected for a second term as President. They also want to get rid of the Health Care Program that President Obama succeeded in his uphill battle!

Either way, their laws will have to be passed to the President for approval. It will be interesting to see how all these boys and girls will get along.

Our Congress only meets together once a year, that's when we say, "Congress is in session." The meeting is from 3 January (my brothers birthday) until 31 July, but sometimes Congress meets longer...if they have "issues".

3. The Third branch is the Judicial Branch - This branch is made up of all our courts, the highest court in the U.S. is the Supreme Court which is where this branch lives with it's 9 Judges.

Supreme Court

The Judaical Branch of courts make the final decision when everyone else is unsure of a law or other stuff. ahh, the Supreme Court. That's where Anna Nicole Smith went to ask for money from her Billionaire deceased husband...remember?

Lastly, everyone meets in Washington D.C., the District of Colombia (D.C.)named after our 1st President George Washington and the Italian Spanish explorer named Christopher Columbus.

That's our government in nutshell...or blog post.

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