Thursday, January 9, 2020

Preserving the Constitution, Defending our Democracy, and Saving the Soul of Our Nation



Our founding fathers, the framers of our Constitution, conceived of Impeachment for far smaller violations than Donald J. Trumps has committed. Impeachment and removal of the president for “high crimes and misdemeanors” was conceived as a preemptive safeguard against a President who, by words and by deeds, has demonstrated an intent to ignore, even trample all over the Constitution in violation of the presidential oath of office.
Trump has boasted, “Then I have Article II, where I have the right to do whatever I want as president.” Trump’s erroneous proclamation about Article II was not unlike President Richard Nixon’s own counter-constitutional declaration following his resignation: “When the president does it,that means it is not illegal.” 
The truth is that we fought the Revolutionary War to overthrow the idea that the king can do no wrong. The framers of our Constitution feared presidential disloyalty to its separation of powers and checks and balances. Accordingly, they prescribed the exact wording of the presidential oath in Article II, section 1, clause 6: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of the president of the United States, and will to be best of my Ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
I am quoting Ralph Nader and Bruce Fein from their article, “Donald Trump’s Big Abuses of Power Demand a Big Impeachment” which appeared in the December 12th, 2019 issue of The Nation:
 “The urgency of preemptive impeachments of a president showing contempt for constitutional norms is far greater today than in 1789 when George Washington was inaugurated. Since then, the powers of the executive branch have grown greatly, and the potential damage caused by executive misconduct has spiked as well. Among other things, the president can now launch nuclear weapons vastly more powerful than the nuclear bombs that incinerated Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Entrenched dictatorships can shred health and safety protections, dispatch political opponents to dungeons—or worse.
When Washington was president, his cabinet and federal workforce were tiny. There was no standing army, in contrast to President Trump’s global multitrillion-dollar military-industrial-counterterrorism complex. Washington’s federal budget was minuscule, not the staggering $4.7 trillion projected for 2019. And in 1789, there was no ubiquitous administrative state, begotten by irresponsible delegations of legislative power and oversight which the president wields to benefit political friends and punish political adversaries. There was also no national security agency to conduct dragnet surveillance against the entire population.
If you’re skeptical of the prospect of preemptively impeaching Trump for claiming limitless presidential power, think of this analogy. Suppose a neighbor enters your living room. He proclaims he can pillage your house and murder its occupants with impunity, but that he will desist provisionally to see what happens. You would evict the neighbor immediately. By the same logic, it would be folly to risk calamity from a megalomaniac president who has made his grisly intentions known.”
Yet Trump has not only claimed limitless power he has acted on his erroneous claims:
He has expanded unconstitutional presidential wars inherited from his predecessors.
He has played the roles of prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner by sending US forces and drones to kill any person on the planet deemed a national security threat based on secret and unsubstantiated information.
He has spent money to build a wall along the border of Mexico with funds not appropriated for that purpose in violation of the Antideficiency Act.
He has stonewalled congressional oversight and defied congressional subpoenas.
He has appointed cabinet officials and revoked treaties without the consent of the Senate.
He has exploited the office of the presidency to enrich himself and his family.
He has deliberately failed to execute consumer, environmental, immigration, and other laws.
In conclusion, no President has ever taken such a destructive bulldozer to the very foundation of our Constitution and to our Democratic form of government. With that being said, I would hope that the members of the Senate will put the good of the country above their partisan politics and hold a fair Senate trial with witnesses to hold this tyrant accountable for his many abuses, crimes, and his obstruction of justice – to preserve our constitution, to protect our democracy and to save the soul of our nation. 

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