As we begin to enter the transition period of the Trump Presidency, concerns abound. Will we survive these next four years?
Our country has faced severe challenges in the past; a great Civil War, and a Great Depression. Our founding fathers built a Republic with built-in safeguards which will hopefully protect us in the days and years ahead. Domestically our checks and balances are more likely to be successful in rebuffing any serious challenges to our freedoms. We should be thankful that we have a Congress and a judicial system that is there to counter any extremist tendencies. The ACLU is an institution that seeks to protect our individual liberties as well.
If we are to look at a comparable period, the 1920’s might be a guide to how bad things can get. Warren Harding was elected to be our president after a difficult convention where President Harding was nominated only after a lengthy nomination process. In a humorous vane it was said that he was nominated because he looked like a President, and being from Ohio didn’t hurt his chances either. The country was in the throes of change from a cultural standpoint. Women were voting for the first time. With the 20’s the country was on one hand entering into the Jazz age but on the other hand parts of the country were rebelling from these changes and voted to have Prohibition. Talk about your world of differences, those were heady days for change and a retrenchment. Harding’s administration was beset with controversy and he even admitted that he was not qualified to be president. The Teapot Dome scandal only touched the surface of his difficulties.
One can conclude that we will face unprecedented challenges to our liberty and freedoms as we go forward. Will we will be up to these challenges? From all indications thus far in the transition period, for those who disagree with what is happening the opposition will be under tremendous pressure to maintain the Constitutionally protected rights that we have. But as long as we have the courage to speak out and to march if necessary to protect our rights we have a chance. Civil disobedience is a strong form of protest especially in a civil society.
We do have institutional protections built into Congress if we choose to maintain them. In the last 8 years we have seen an unprecedented effort on the part of the Republican Party to use the rules of the Institution to keep change from happening. Cloture and the filibuster have been used so extensively that the use of these two parliamentary tactics have become common instead of being rarely used.
Trump and his gang may seek to remove cloture as it is presently constituted and the filibuster as a delaying tactic by seeking what is called the nuclear option. The filibuster has been a tactic used to protect the rights of the minority since the inception of the Republic, but President Trump may seek to remove the filibuster from the arsenal of minority right protections.
If this battle does happen in the first days of his presidency we shall see if Congress will go along with the nuclear option. It will be a critical test if this crisis does occur because it does directly relate to whether we can use cloture and or the filibuster to protect the rights of the minority. We should use cloture and the filibuster as much as will be necessary to restrain President Trump from any radical and far reaching acts.
Another action that should be taken is Congress needs to stand up and use the nobility clause of the Constitution. Congress also needs to put into law, into a statute, a conflict of interest legislative act that is bi-partisan and very clear and unambiguous in its language to make it clear to this President that his job is to be the President of the United States and that he should under no circumstances put his business interests above the interest of the nation.
Trump has just announced that he will speak to the nation about his business interests on December 15. If he still intends to have his children handle his businesses that is not good enough. One can not see with any sense of objectivity that an arms length relationship would be created to safely put his interests outside of his ability to know and act on his relationships, if his children were to be the ones to manage his interests. I can just see it now, at a dinner where his children just stay mum on whatever is going on. We will wait and see what he intends to do by his speech and then by his actions. Let us not just accept what he says but rather see how he performs.
No law that we have on the books can be ignored but rather enforced or else the laws that we have will be ignored to our detriment. There are laws and then there is the will of the authoritarian leader who seeks to only abide by what is good for him.
The first law that the president in waiting seems to want to ignore is the law regarding nepotism. Trump wants to hire his son-in-law for a job. When you have a president like Donald Trump you can’t let him get away with anything.
Already we are hearing the rumblings of having a list for Muslims. Their excuse for having one is that we had Japanese internment camps during the war. That action by Roosevelt was wrong and we realize that it was wrong. It would be an act of insanity to repeat a type of action that we have concluded was inhumane to begin with.
If there are Cabinet position jobs, where we do not see any reason for supporting the appointment, we need to encourage our Congressmen and women and Senators to fight back against these appointments. A president may have a reason to believe that he can have who he wants but that person should still be acceptable.
Where you in fact live might be good as far as surviving the next four years of a Trump Presidency! California for example has shown a willingness to fight back against any action by Trump that goes against the Federal Constitution or the state Constitution. This might be one example where our system of federalism would protect us against any authoritarian act that goes against our laws.
The overall point is to fight back and not to accept any of what will happen by just accepting it like sheep. We must be resolute in our defense of liberty. This is not the time for sunshine patriots.