Executive orders must be signed and numbered by the President of the United States. President Barack Obama signed 277 during his eight years as President — the fewest in decades. 

Donald J. Trump signed 32 during his first 100 days in office. This projects to be 275 over one term, half the time Obama was in office. As a candidate, DJT castigated President Obama for subverting democracy by what he called “executive over-reach.” Why the flip-flop? DJT blames a dysfunctional Congress. Plus he wants to keep his “base” happy.

DJT has presented his budget to Congress. A budget is referred to as a blueprint for the future. Where does DJT’s blueprint take us? States, counties, cities and towns will need to do more with less. Many of the cuts will affect DJT’s “base.” Deep reductions in agricultural subsidies, elimination of billions of dollars for housing, transportation, environmental cleanup, job training programs as well as health subsidies for the poor and middle class. According to the National Association of Counties, 75% of counties in the U.S. have not recovered from the Great Recession.

Budgets are frequently called a moral document. Anger is a strong feeling of hostility. Envy is resentment aroused by desire for possessions and/or qualities of others. Gluttony involves consuming immoderate amounts of food or drink. Avarice is the desire for great wealth. Lust is overwhelming craving. Pride is arrogant conduct. Sloth is habitual laziness.

These are the seven deadly sins. DJT’s budget is fueled to create a world based on the seven deadly sins. It is an attempt to collapse social democracy. We must reshape the conversation to promote civil society.

The budget as proposed by DJT leads to a dystopian world. It’s a world aimed at stunting human potential and development. It is a blueprint for divisiveness on a global scale. Instead of this dystopic future, we need creative dynamism. We need to shape an integrative future revolving around peoples’ democratic participation.

Many of us have little experience with participatory democracy. It will be a learning curve. Some unions do this. The United Electoral Workers have a long history with participatory democracy. National Nurses United as well. Anthony Clark’s A Brand New Congress, while newly formed, seems to practice participatory democracy. Reclaim Chicago is steeped in the practice of participatory democracy. Democratic Socialists of America has its fingers on the pulse of participatory democracy, warts and all. DSA has grown greatly in recent months, forming various working groups based on issues like health care, labor and socialist feminism.

After submitting this letter to Wednesday Journal, the budget was passed in the Senate by the slimmest of margins. It had previously passed in the House. The House and Senate versions differ so will need to be reconciled. The Senate’s plan includes a provision that will allow the Republicans to pass a veto-proof tax bill that increases spending by the Pentagon and strangles social services. The Pentagon is the only Cabinet department that has refused to have a verified audit conducted in the history of the United States.

Tom Broderick, an Oak Park resident, is a member of Democratic Socialists of America.

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