Tuesday, June 05, 2018

"We Are A Nation Of Laws And Not Of Kings"

(Cartoon image is by Bill Day at cagle.com.)

It has been revealed that Donald Trump and his lawyers claim he has the power to pardon himself, to end any justice department investigation he wants, and to initiate any investigation into anyone he doesn't like. These are powers that only absolute monarchs and dictators have.

Here is Dan Rather's response to these unconstitutional claims:

We are a nation of laws and not of kings. Our stated creed is that we are equal before the law, all of us. Of course we fall far short of that ideal in many ways. It's usually the poor, the marginalized, and dispossessed who suffer the greatest injustices. But even the most cynical of plutocrats in our nation's history have at least largely paid lip service to this idea. 
That is what makes the release of Donald Trump's legal rationalizations so chilling. To be blunt, they are un-American. They betray a complete disconnect from our constitutional government, and thus are themselves an act of betrayal. 
I know that there is much being written about the silence from most members of the GOP to this latest outrage. Indeed, it is an outrage in some ways that encompasses all the others - for there, in black and white, is an outline of a monarchy and not a republic. But my inner compass suggests that while we have not seen a backlash from many Trump voters and Republican officials, yet, this is going too far, far too far, for most Americans. And that pressure cannot be checked forever, at the ballot box or in the streets. 
Trump is benefiting from a roaring economy (thanks in no small part to what was bestowed by his predecessor). It is summer and families are busy planning trips and taking in ballgames or a day at the beach. It is easy to be distracted or preoccupied with the necessities of everyday life. But in the end, I think that the recklessness of a man who seeks only personal power and self aggrandizement - whose personal and professional failings have already spurred the largest resistance movement I have seen in decades - will wear thin even with many who may have voted for him. 
Frankly, this is not what Trump promised on the campaign trail. Amidst the racist dog whistles and the crude rhetoric was a promise that he would be a pragmatic politician looking out for the little guy. What we have now is a man who would be king. And the institutions of our government, our courts, our system of states, our free press, and our voters, are not going to abide by it. Our Founding Fathers feared such a man. They knew the tyranny of kings, and chose to rebel. So they set out to establish a republic built to make sure it would never happen on our shores. 
These are the stakes. And I sense there is a lot of fight out there amongst a populace intent on making sure that we remain a nation of laws.

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