One of the most curious assertions I keep hearing over and over is that the Founding Fathers never anticipated a scenario in which the Legislative Branch, refused to use its oversight power to check and if necessary remove a president of such low moral character to save the country from further harm, and tyranny. This is nonsense.
For one, the Founders were well-aware of rule by a mad monarch. His name was King George. The British Colonists didn’t vote to impeach and remove a president. They started a revolution to depose a king. An out of touch despot who was not capable of ruling in the best interest of or with representation of the people. Sound familiar? It should.
When the war was over, and we were a free nation made up of patriots, loyalist sore losers, religious zealots and a lot of people who still didn’t care one way or the other (sound familiar?) the persons who would shape our government met to decide just what the heck that government would be. In truth, they knew very little about the task ahead. They knew from the Declaration of Independence (see last week’s article) we the people would be entitled to exercise our natural rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness without undue interference from the government. They knew we the people consent to be governed, but only by a government of legitimacy, that at a minimum put the people’s interests and by extension the interests of the country, first. In short, they knew they didn’t want a king and so, in many ways, it would be perfectly acceptable at constitutional-themed cocktail parties to present the Founders’ primary goal as a shot-in-the-dark, it might work, experiment in the defeat of tyranny.
They knew from history the best way to defeat tyranny was to break the three central areas of government power into separate branches with no one person possessing simultaneously the power of the legislative, executive and judicial. Next, they created a system of dual sovereignty. The Federal and the States would co-govern the people, each having their own separate and distinct responsibilities to the people. Can a state constitutionally “fight back” against federal acts alienating us from our natural rights? The answer is yes. Can an individual state arrest a sitting president for his criminal acts committed while in office? I think they can, or at least, there is nothing in the Constitution that says they can’t.
Next, to facilitate the purposely segregated, perhaps more like fractured, and multi-tiered construction of government, the Founder decided a Republic, meaning government by representation in the form of elected, not necessarily by popular choice, mind you, and sometimes appointed officials, who, at a minimum, put their self-interests aside, would make, enforce and when necessary, adjudicate the newly enacted laws of the land.
Still, at the very top, and bottom of the pyramid (with or without the all-seeing eye) is the power of the people. Our primary governing document, the Constitution starts with We the People, and ends the Bill of Rights 10th Amendment with all powers not ceded to the State or Federal sovereigns residing with the people. With Democracy. This is big “D” Democracy.
So, to recap, the United States of America, a grand, noble experiment of social and political science, in an effort to defeat the rise of and takeover by a tyrant, was dividend to the Federal, itself being divided into three separate branches of equal power, then, placed parallel to the power to provide for health, safety and welfare of its citizens in a system of dual sovereignty, a Republic, meaning representation of the people by their chosen officials, all in an effort to protect our big “D” Democracy, the power of the people, through one person, one vote representation (with I admit the Electoral College more on that later) to protect and ensure our natural rights to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Do you hold these truths to be self-evident and that all persons are created equal? If so, that’s what the American system of government of the people, by the people, for the people means, Charlie Brown. And so, as the Founding Fathers predicted, there will always be some insipid, boorish, bad, corrupt, maybe they didn’t anticipate orange, persons of low IQ, much like the so many despotic kings and queens of the past, who may rise to power through trickery, chicanery, fraud, and certainly as is now, the demagoguery of a pretender to a throne that does not exist.
In the final analysis, as the Founders intended it, all roads lead to the power of the people who in America always have the final say.
I close on a question modeled upon the famous quote of the great American seaman and patriot, John Paul Jones, “Have you yet begun to fight?” I don’t know about you, but when it comes to the inept, clown-circus, Jenga in the making take-down by if nothing else voting out the morally corrupt and bankrupt Trump administration, here we are at primary season and we’re just getting started. The power is yours. Don’t forget to use it. Vote. It’s the American way.
Did you get your fill of Phil?