October 20, 2016 Leave a comment
When Donald Trump refused to declare on October 19 he would not subvert the basic tenet of American democracy, many Republican leaders feigned outrage – “feigned” because his threat not to accept the results of the election mirrors precisely what the Republicans have done for eight years.
Beginning on the day President Barack Obama was inaugurated, when Republican Congressional leaders apparently met to covenant with one another that they would thwart every suggestion, every constitutionally mandated action the President took, the Congress has essentially proclaimed their belief that the election of the first African American President was not valid, that it was somehow “rigged.”
- shut down the government to prove him wrong,
- sued him several times to question the constitutionality of legislation his first Congress passed,
- mocked him to his face during the State of the Union Address,
- refused “advice and consent” for his court nominees to ensure that his electoral mandate did not extend to his constitutionally prescribed responsibility,
- invited the head of a foreign nation to speak in Congress against a treaty the President had negotiated to which the visiting politician was not a party, thus circumventing the President’s constitutional obligation to conduct foreign affairs.
- and much more.
In short, they have defamed not only the man but the office he holds, and in doing so the Republicans have destabilized the Constitutional underpinnings of our democracy.
Furthermore, they have refused to lend the power and prestige of their offices to efforts to end the insidious “birther” conspiracy, thus contributing to lack of trust in both the President and the office of the Presidency. They have not spoken against the persistent fringe belief that the President is a Muslim, thereby undermining his Presidency among Islamophobic Americans (and, by implication, fostering hatred for American Muslims). They have refused to refute any of the myriad absurd conspiracy theories about the President. Not dignifying them with responses is, of course, laudable, but refusing to make any effort to change the atmosphere in which those theories could flourish – indeed speaking of and treating the man in such a way to encourage those theories – has been despicable.
Donald Trump is the creation of the party he now represents. The Republicans, indeed the entire nation, are reaping what they have sown: hatred, disrespect for persons and for the Constitution, selfishness above concern for the body politic, and – perhaps most unsavory – for some people, an unshakeable belief that President Obama’s election was never legitimate because it resulted from the cooperation of a coalition of Americans whom they consider to be less than representative of and not worthy to be counted part of the body politic.
Donald Trump is at least honest in his desire to subvert the Constitutional workings of our democracy.