Some have charged that Donald John Trump, the 45th President of these United States is an Autocrat and a would be, Tyrant Dictator. Those same people ignored the usurping of Constitutional Power by Barack Hussein Obama when he used his ‘pen and phone’ repeatedly to bypass Congress, sidestep the Constitution, and ignore the Courts. Could that be because his ideological position was the same as those, crying foul? Could it be that his proposed agenda of ‘fundamentally transforming America’ was also their desire? Could it be that events, actions, and inaction by Congress long before Obama or Trump created the current political conundrum?
First, Donald Trump is not an Autocrat. He does not have absolute power. He may be domineering, impulsive, demanding, and value loyalty so greatly that he is difficult to serve under. He may be a lot of things that people accuse him of regarding his personality or character but an Autocrat he is not. He is not Hitler and no comparison can be made that would justify such an allegation. He may have developed a sense of worth that causes him to believe that whatever he does is right. The same could be said of Barack Obama and many other presidents. None of those are issues that justify the claims that he is mentally unfit and unstable. None of those claims justify the hatred directed toward him and anyone who supports him.
But that is not the purpose of what I am writing. My concern is what or how future presidents will conduct themselves regarding the Constitution, the Law, and governing. Spanish businessman Juan Carlos Marino Perez Carreno said, “If you look at Trump in America and Bolsonaro in Brazil, you see that people want politicians that do what they promise.” He was explaining to the New York Times the reason for the rise of Spain’s first far-right party since the end of the Franco dictatorship in 1975. Action, not words have become something that is very desirable for many in America after decades of inaction and ineptitude in Washington.
When Obama took action that could only be viewed a usurping of the Power of Congress including the precious ‘power of the purse’ there was not so much as a whimper from the Left. However, with Trump’s National Emergency and intent to use funds not specifically allocated to the Wall for National Defense his action became the worst event ever in American history. They are charging that he is ‘shredding the Constitution’, a document neither they or the former president seemed to care about. The Left is crying foul claiming that Trump’s actions violate the system of ‘checks and balances’ but does it? They claim that he is acting like an Autocrat, an Imperial Dictator, and a most high potentate in violation of our American Constitution.
If you do a quick check you will discover that the approval rating of Congress is below that of the president. Congress has, over time, become the least esteemed branch of government. That is not because of Trump’s actions or his charges of inaction or obstructionism on their part. No, it is their own doing and it did not suddenly occur under President Trump or President Obama or even George W. Bush. It happened long before any of them ascended to the position of President and occupied the Oval Office.
Let me borrow some thoughts from Pat Buchanan’s recent article. It is an interesting journey to view how history viewed various president’s actions. Some of them far more dramatic than anything Mr. Trump has done. Thomas Jefferson jumped on Napoleon’s surprise offer to sell vast Louisiana territory for $15 million. Even Jefferson questioned whether he had the constitutional authority to do so, but it was the right decision and history has validated that action. Andrew Jackson defiantly ignored the ruling against him by John Marshall’s Supreme Court. He said, “John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!” I see that kind of attitude more akin to Barack Obama than Donald Trump.
Abraham Lincoln arrested Maryland legislators to prevent a secessionist-minded legislature from meeting. He violated the habeas corpus rights of thousands and ordered Chief Justice Roger Taney arrested, shut down newspapers, and in January 1863, declared that all slaves in the states still in rebellion free. Did he have the Constitutional authority to do any of that? What has Trump done to compare with that?
President Theodore Roosevelt, to enable him to build the Panama Canal joined forces with rebels to take the province from Columbia. What about FDR’s corralling some 110,000 Japanese, 75,000 of them U.S. citizens into detention camps during WWII? How about Harry Truman who, without Congressional authorization, ordered U.S. troops into South Korea in 1950 to resist the invasion by North Korea, calling it a police action? Bill Clinton, against the decision of the House of Representatives, ordered troops into Serbia in 1998 and began a two and one-half month bombing barrage until the province of Kosovo was yielded.
I am not trying to defend or decry any of those actions, though I have strong opinions what I am saying is that Congress has failed repeatedly to a branch of government that exercises its power in ‘checks and balances.’ When any branch of government cedes its legitimate constitutional authority to another branch it loses that power and authority. Our Constitution affords Congress the authority to ‘regulate commerce with foreign nations’ but that authority was ceded to the Executive branch long ago. They simply vote “Yea” or “Nay” on whatever the White House, any White House negotiates as a treaty.
We dare not overlook the ceding of their authority to ‘coin money’ to the Federal Reserve. Their power to ‘declare war’ has been ignored by presidents for decades and I would contend since Truman if not before. President Trump’s declaration of a National Emergency falls within the scope of the powers given the President by Congress in the National Emergencies Act of 1976. Congress even has the ‘big stick’ of the Constitution to corral a runaway and rogue Supreme Court but they have never used it and likely will not.
America wants and needs Action! We do not need any more politicians that are “all foam but no beer”. Not to be crude but a friend of mine said, “Congress is about as useful as tits on a boar hog.” That is not a totally inaccurate depiction. America must find a way to throw off the restraints and chains of what has transpired in what is largely a two-party system of politics. When partisan wrangling and positioning takes precedence over the ‘best good’ for America those politicians are useless. No, those politicians are the problem!
I am concerned that in the future, both Republican and Democrat presidents will view our past few decades as an invitation to act as Autocrats. While I applaud positive action, I am deeply concerned when any president bypasses Congress and/or the Courts and does whatever he or she desires or believes is best. I had those concerns with Barack Obama was in office and I had them when every president of my lifetime did things arbitrarily without Congress and the Courts. However, in the previous administration, the president told us that if Congress did not do what he wanted, He would go it alone! That has opened a door that must be closed. Not closed necessarily by legislation but by the Spirit of Freedom in the American people. It is time that we send the majority of those in DC home and replace them with people who both honor and are willing to defend the Constitution.
God bless you and God bless America!