Checks and Balances Hang in the Balance
We are in a constitutional crisis.
The goal line defense by Republicans of Donald Trump is ripping apart one of our nation's most cherished means of self defense. The time tested construct of checks and balances is hanging in the balance.
Most Americans were taught this elegant constitutional safeguard at an early age. We were comforted by the fact that no one branch of government could assume absolute control. That is until now.
Never before has a majority party in both Houses of Congress and the Executive branch teamed up to turn on the FBI, the Department of Justice, and certain employees in the federal government. Never before has a Congress failed to check an executive with autocratic tendencies.
Our nation is officially in no man's land. I fear that we are moving toward anarchy.
The Founding Fathers would have never envisioned today's constitutional crisis. Checks and balances always seemed like a safe bet. They held during Watergate as well as every other political scandal.
The Trump era is vastly different. The president is an expert at marketing. Facts do not matter. Propaganda is used on a daily basis. Trump employs words to limit political dissent and threaten opponents. Fox News amplifies his lies on a nightly basis.
Trump's supporters, both in and outside of Congress, are like trained seals. If Donald says its fake news, then it must be. Even the most horrific conspiracy theories are believed.
The majority party in the House and Senate, particularly party leaders, has caved like a house of cards. Speaker Paul Ryan revealed himself to be a spineless leader. Mr. Ryan seems to think that using Trump to pass long-cherished legislation represents a symbiotic relationship.
No, Mr. Speaker, your capitulation is putting America in grave danger. I am betting that you will fail to stand up to Trump's stupid idea for a military parade like authoritarian nations hold.
The United States Senate, with a slim 51-49 Republican majority and quirky legislative rules, makes it more difficult for Senate leader Mitch McConnell to blindly follow Trump. Nonetheless, a tax bill was passed that effectively transferred $1.5 trillion to the most wealthy Americans and corporations. Regular Americans got bread crumbs.
Then we have the release of the Nunes memo on reported FISA warrant abuses within the FBI and Justice Department. The head of the FBI and intelligence officials pleaded with Congressional leaders to not release the memo. Nope, the memo was ceremoniously released by Congress and then, a few days later, by Trump.
The Democratic response, meanwhile, got to Trump's desk and promptly died. Republican members of Congress backed up their fearless leader.
Effective solutions to ending, or at least slowing, this constitutional crisis involve writing elected representatives and using the 2018 mid-term election to vote out Republicans. The judicial branch is already doing what it can to mitigate Trump's authoritarian and racist tendencies.
Writing members of Congress is often overlooked as a strategy to influence our elected officials. As a former Congressional staffer, I can assure you every letter has an impact. Now it is easier than ever. It only takes a minute to write a short email. Do not be intimidated. Pick one issue and research it. You will likely be more informed than your Representative or Senator. Our nation's future may depend on your participation.
The 2018 mid-term elections are less than nine months away. Republicans who fail to stand up to Trump must be voted out. Never before has a decision been so black and white. There should be no excuse for not voting. It takes a minute of your time to register to vote. Only slightly more time is required to urge your relatives and friends to register to vote. Take people to the polls on election day. Elections do have consequences.
Here is some food for thought regarding elections. Only about 65 percent of all registered voters cast a vote in 2016. Trump won with less than 30 percent of all who voted. Only 70,000 votes swayed the electoral college in his favor.
The United States's constitutional safeguards managed to survive a Civil War, two world wars, the Great Depression, a Cold War against the former Soviet Union, the Korean and Vietnam wars, the turbulent 60s, and Watergate. No one could ever predict that a real estate mogul from New York would get elected president let alone tear apart our nation and constitution.
Will we survive Trump? The answer to this question rests securely in our hands. Robert Mueller will also have a say, but we cannot depend on his investigation alone to save the day. Vice President Mike Pence is too much of a lap dog to use the 25th Amendment to remove Trump.
The United States must once again rebel against an authoritarian power, just as we did over 200 years ago when our nation was founded. Our checks and balances must be reaffirmed so that we can avoid the fall into anarchy.