The constitutional crisis is here
Stop waiting for the constitutional crisis that President Trump is sure to provoke. It’s here.
A constitutional crisis is brought about in a number of ways. It can happen when the federal and local governments come to an impasse on a topic with no constitutional solution that addresses the issue can be found. Additionally, it can happen when different people or groups within the society hold unresolvable stances not covered explicitly by the constitution, or most commonly, when two branches of the government are at odds over the power one branch holds over another.
In this case, of course, the current constitutional crisis is pretty clear cut. Does Trump have the power to use the Attorney General’s office as his personal tool to circumvent history, law, and of course, the constitution? The secession of the southern states that precipitated the Civil War is a classic example.
Yesterday, American’s found out that Donald Trump made good on his demand that he would force Assistant Attorney Rob Rosenstein and Christopher Wray to turn over sensitive documents, normally held in private to protect national interests and the people who would be vulnerable if said documents saw the light of day.
When American’s think about the presidency of Donald Trump, it is hard not to note the lies, graft, greed, ineptitude and total disregard for the laws and mores that are the basis for American society. Sure, Trump is beset by a growing probe that has the potential for bringing him down along with a cast of misfits, his family and close advisors, but no one should be fooled in thinking there is any substance to his claims about a “witch hunt” or the “deep state” or “the swamp” being at fault. Donald Trump is between a rock and a hard place of his own making. This is a fact he may never be able to comprehend and certainly not accept.
Trump’s power play is a gross misuse of his presidential authority and a dangerous departure from long-standing norms. Strongmen such as Russia’s Vladimir Putin use their justice systems to punish enemies and deflect attention from their own crimes. Presidents of the United States do not — or did not, until Sunday’s tweet:
“I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes — and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!”
Trump’s demand is the equivalent of an angry child stomping their foot and demanding that their parents do their will or else. The one thing that a sane human being can take away from this is that something has the Orange One frightened and running scared. There seems to be little doubt Mueller is closing in, and a reckoning is coming regardless of what Trump and his cronies do or think. Never has there been a time in recent history for the American people to grow a backbone and stand up to Trump the bully and demand that truth and justice be served.
As of yesterday, this is no longer a partisan issue. This constitutional crisis affects everyone from the Republican Party (who have been shamefully reluctant to confront the president), the Democrats, liberals, conservatives, evangelicals, and yes, even the infamous “basket of deplorables” that have done so much to enable the president to bring America to the untenable situation we find ourselves in today. Speaking of the “basket of deplorables”, how can his base, in good conscience, support a man whose life, career and worldview is so antithetical to the American way of life and governance – to say nothing about the damage he is doing to the constitution and the office of the presidency?
Fear is a funny thing. It affects us all in different ways. Yet, here we see a third of the country so frightened of losing their privileged status that they are willing to support and defend someone who has not only lied to the other two-thirds of the country, but in the end, to them as well. The real question is how they will react if and when Trump is brought down on criminal charges and forced out of office. If that occurs, the current constitutional crisis will look tame compared to the confrontation that will come about if that comes to fruition.
Thomas Jefferson was if nothing else prescient and no fool when it comes to the folly of his fellow human beings. He saw firsthand the corrupt nature of those who would wrest control of government from the masses to concentrate their efforts to the benefit of the few. He once said,
(I)n questions of power, let no more be heard of confidence in man but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the constitution.
The American people should not kid themselves. The hounds are literally at the gate and little good can come from allowing Trump to make a mockery of the constitution and the American way of life with little regard for the consequences of his actions. It is time to face reality. Trump and his ilk are not like the vast majority of Americans. They are a self-centered, opportunistic and a threatening force that must be confronted and defeated. Without action, far worse is on the horizon. Forgive me for this, but as the popular television series, Game of Thrones, would say:
Winter is coming.