The news of the past week, coming as fast and as furious as someone with small hands can navigate a keyboard and a Twitter account, should have been a vital lesson in Civics 101, namely that government, specifically a democracy, can not be run like a business. Anyone who believes otherwise either still believes in the Tooth Fairy or longs to live in an alternative democracy like Russia where you’re told what to do or else.

President Donald Trump over the past week has become the poster child for why you can’t approach governing like running a business. Even though we’ve seen it coming for months with Trump’s reiterations that only he can save us from menaces like terrorists or Rosie O’Donnell, the president removed any doubt over the past week that he believes he alone is in charge of the country.

Sorry, Donnie, but you’re wrong. So stop blustering and go outside and play in the street.

Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey and his reported sharing of classified information on terrorists with Russian dignitaries/spies should alarm any American who truly believes in a representative democracy. You know, like the kind we’ve beat the rest of the world over the head with for the past 200 or so years as the best form of government there is.

It simply can’t be run like a business. Period. It says so in plain English in the rule book, otherwise known as the Constitution, that thing that everybody keeps accusing past presidents of violating.

Why can’t it? Simple, because in a business you subjugate yourself to the boss. When the boss says jump, you answer, “How high?” That’s not how government, at least in a democracy, is supposed to work. The Founding Fathers, probably after watching an episode of “The Apprentice,” saw the dangers of putting too much power into the hands of “the boss” and wisely divided government into three distinct but equal branches.

That meant that, even though you may have been appointed by the president and confirmed by Congress, you were not required to pledge loyalty to either, only to the Constitution and the law. Otherwise you end up with an organization made up of “yes” men (and women). That’s what you want in a business, but not in a government that is supposed to represent millions of people.

So when Trump attempted to extract an oath of loyalty to himself from Comey and then declared he had the right to decide whether to share information with our enemies without consulting anyone else, he was essentially saying, “I’m the boss” and this country is my business.

Considering the president has helmed at least six businesses that have filed for bankruptcy in the past, that should be a scary thought. I just can’t wait for the Twitter storm when Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s appointee to the Supreme Court, sides with the majority against the president in a legal matter. That should be fun.

Marty Russell writes a Wednesday column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at

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