On the final day of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, delegate Benjamin Franklin was asked, “Well doctor, what have we got – a republic or a monarchy?” He responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
Over the ensuing 233 years, through a civil war, world wars, and economic crashes, Congress, regardless of party, has done a pretty good job of “keeping the republic” while rejecting a return to kings and monarchs. That all came to a screeching halt on Feb. 5, 2020, when Senate Republicans ignored their oaths of office to “Preserve, Protect and Defend the Constitution of the United States …” replacing it with, “Preserve, Protect, and Defend Donald J. Trump – and my chances of re-election.” With that single decision, they threw the rule of law out the window.
The founders set up the power of impeachment and gave it to Congress specifically for the dire situation we find ourselves in today – a dishonest, reckless, uninformed and unwilling to learn president, contemptuous of the law and military/security experts, and infatuated with dictators. It’s that “check and balance” that Republican senators just discarded in the dustbin of history, not because the president was innocent, but because they were too cowardly to find him guilty, and save the nation.
When you combine that with a Department of Justice “policy” that a sitting president can’t be indicted, you’ve just disregarded the wisdom of the founders, blown a hole in the constitutional “separation of powers,” and given President Trump a green light to rule however he likes – making him our first monarch since we threw King George out in the American Revolution. Ben Franklin and the other framers of our Constitution must be rolling over in their graves.
So, if King Donald wasn’t what you had in mind, good luck, because that’s what Senate Republicans have saddled us with for the next 11 months. We’ve all seen enough of the president’s behavior over the last three years to know that he will immediately set about testing his new “blank check” from the Senate legally, ethically, morally, and militarily. If “We the People” want our republic and our Constitution back whole and un-shredded, we’d better show up, stand up, speak up, and vote like the future of America is at stake – because it is.
Brian Peck lives in Columbia Falls.