How the Government Works

Olivia Longmore, Staff Reporter

While scrolling through social media, it is common to statuses of current events happening all around the world. Most of these current events are being broadcasted by our elected government representatives that pass down information. However, after hearing about the mueller report, it was clear that many American did not fully understand how the system of government was set up. Americans are also unclear of what jobs there are in the government, or what role they play in helping the United States. In fact, only 30% of Americans can name the three branches of government, let alone state what their main jobs were.

The American government is set up using a system of branches. There are three branches of government: legislative, judicial and executive. The legislative branch includes the congress, senate and house of representatives with the congress in the highest power and representatives in the lowest. Two members from each state are elected to represent on the senate while the number of representatives is based on the population within each state. This branch is responsible for making new laws and passing bills onto the supreme court, the highest part of the judicial branch. The judicial branch are the courts of the United States with the highest power in the Supreme Court. The supreme court is made up of nine judges called Justices who serve until their death or removal. There is one, chief justice, that acts as the supervisor, but does not vote. If there is a tie in a decision for a case, the lower court’s ruling stands. The executive branch includes the president, vice president, independent agencies and members of the cabinet. Cabinet members are selected by the president for advisement and must be agreed upon by majority of votes in the senate. The executive branch carries out or acts upon what the laws are saying.

These branches work together by keeping each other in check. No one branch can unanimously agree upon something without the possibility of another branch vetoing it. For example, the president can propose a bill, but cannot be sure that congress and the supreme court will make that bill into a law. This system allows for more people to put in their opinions on important matters within our country and community.

There are a vast number of government occupations that play a role in shaping the country. However, there are some that are simply broadcasted more than the others. Here are some of the most popular political occupations that pop up on social media: secretary of state, speaker of the house, US diplomats and chief justice. The term secretary of state can be a bit misleading, as the person with this positions handles all of the foreign affairs, such as negotiating treaties or advising on international affairs, in the executive branch. This person relays the information with the other government employees as well as the public. The speaker of the house can be compared to the “judge” for the house of representatives in the legislative branch. This person conducts the meetings and speaks for the voters within the house about the ruling of their majority vote. A U.S. diplomat is one that represents the United States in foreign countries for the legislative branch. They observe what is happening within that countries government, public and businesses to relay this information back to America. A chief justice serves in the supreme court by presiding over discussions of cases and assigning the other justices to write their opinion on a subject for the judicial branch.

While scrolling through twitter, two words come up more than any of the others: republican and democrat. These are the two governmental parties separated between their most basic beliefs about how the government should be run. United States citizens can also become registered to vote in one of these categories to help the government decide which way the people are leaning or to help further their political campaigns. A democrat is thought to be left leaning which means that they are more liberal thinking while a republican is right leaning and thought to be more conservative on controversial issues. A democrat is represented by a red donkey while the republican symbol is a blue elephant.

This may not clear up all of the political lingo that may come up on American twitter feed, however, it may sum up a few things about how our government works.