To the Editor: Not long ago in American politics, the GOP was led by Arizona Senator John McCain, an American patriot and war hero. At that time the GOP stood for diplomacy, law and order, family virtues, morality, religious values, democracy, human rights, support of NATO, leading the free world, conservative principles and adherence to the United States Constitution.
And now, as if Donald Trump was a magician performing at one of his rallies, that has all disappeared.
Under Trump, President of the United States and Svengali of the Republican party, the GOP now stands for xenophobia, autocratic rule, racial, religious and ethnic division, disregard of the Constitution, pandering to strongmen, anti-immigrant, anti-freedom of the press, distrust of our CIA and FBI and asking foreign governments to investigate Americans. This ideology has left a permanent scar and an indelible stain on the soul of a fractured America.
Republicans who have challenged Trump have fallen victim to “political Darwinism.” In Trump world it’s not “survival of the fittest;” instead “it’s survival of the fawningest,” and “natural selection” in the GOP is based on one’s ability to flatter and submit to Trump. Republicans who defy Trump become extinct.
Since March 4, 1789, the Constitution of the United States has been the supreme law of the land. Every elected official swears an oath of office to support and defend the Constitution. Donald Trump “pledged” that same allegiance when he was sworn in as President on Jan. 20, 2017.
Cradled and nurtured in this 240-year-old document is the Bill of Rights, which includes the First Amendment’s freedom of the press. Trump is systematically attempting to destroy that freedom. In 1791, the First Amendment was proposed and ratified precisely to protect the free press from government control and constraint and ensure that Americans are informed and aware of what their government is doing.
Trump is waging guerrilla warfare against the press. The single most important thing that distinguishes the United States from tyrannical governments is a free press. Once a tyrant eradicates this freedom, the biggest and strongest safeguard to democracy has been removed. If Trump could, he would issue a mandate by Executive Order authorizing Fox News as the only source of media in America, putting us on par with North Korea’s state-controlled media. Trump continues to attack constitutional norms because the Constitution spawns democracy and is a roadblock to his tyrannical ambitions. Trump is an existential threat to America.
Unlike during the 1974 Watergate impeachment inquiry, it is apparent that emasculated House and Senate Republicans are not only “circling the wagons” around Donald Trump but also exploiting every obstacle and excuse they can to sabotage and discredit the current impeachment inquiry, as they did with the Mueller probe, solely to ingratiate themselves to Trump and stay out of range of his relentless Twitter sorties and impromptu helicopter press conferences that he uses to engage targets on the ground and unleash added personal attacks on his critics.
Contrary to the theme in “Profiles in Courage” that political leaders should do what’s in the best interest of Americans as opposed to their own self-interest, many Republicans have abandoned their sworn pledge to support and defend the Constitution and instead have conjoined themselves to Trump with partisan support and spineless devotion to the point of absurdity, ridiculousness, complete loss of credibility and a betrayal of their Oath of Office.
Trump currently heads a kleptocracy in America and makes national-security decisions and conducts American foreign policy based on his personal and financial interests, which often supersede the best interest of Americans and many times are in violation of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause.
If the current Republicans in the House and Senate were the political and military leaders in 1776 America, today we would be driving our cars on the left side of the road. They would have surrendered to King George III just like they are surrendering now to King Donald. Like monks who commit to a vow of silence, most Republicans are quiet regarding Trump’s improprieties.
The Constitution of the United States is indestructible only when its defenders are strong and their integrity is intact. But the Constitution is a paradox. It is also extremely fragile and penetrable when Senators and House Representatives with the power to protect and defend it lack the courage to exercise that power.
Pursuant to Article 1 of the United States Constitution, the Legislative branch, is an equal branch of government with oversight powers. Instead of protecting the Constitution like a mother bear protects her cubs, House and Senate Republicans have seceded from their constitutional duty, relinquishing their power to Trump. They are scared to death of him. They are intimidated by his tweets and his demeaning sobriquets. They are terrified of facing a primary challenge if they don’t capitulate to him. This is not how elected officials in America should lead.
Some of the current and former Senators who are the most sycophantic of all, like Marco Rubio and Jeff Sessions, are the same people that Trump has insulted, lied about and dragged through the mud with his scathing insolence. Trump even implied that Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s father had a nefarious connection to the John F. Kennedy assassination, yet in spite of that Ted Cruz would still stand up and shout “I’m Spartacus” to protect Trump from impeachment, as will the other fawning Rupublican Senators when it’s time to cast their vote. It is daunting to see what fear and 30 pieces of silver can do.
In addition, there is Trump’s Praetorian Guard, comprised of Jim Jordan, Trey Gowdy, Lindsey Graham, Bill Barr, Mike Pompeo, Devin Nunes and Matt Gaetz, who will swear on the Bible that the world is flat and Trump’s lies are true. And speaking of the Bible, modern day Pharisee and Trump disciple Mike Pence, the personification of abject hypocrisy, who one day will have to explain his fealty and pious devotion toward Trump, not only to the American people but also and more importantly, to his Creator.
Republican patriots, where are you? The future is waiting. America’s fate lies in your love of country. Hundreds of thousands of American soldiers have died for democracy and King Donald has thrown that democracy, and the Constitution of the United States off the roof of Trump Tower. Catch it, protect it and cherish it. John McCain would have, and one day schoolchildren will be told of your fearlessness, patriotism and selfless sacrifice in the face of tyranny and ask their teacher, not why you stood tall, but why you were the only one? But if you let it fall, our democracy will shatter to smithereens, bringing Putin’s ultimate plan to fruition, and you will forever live in infamy in the annals of history right next to Donald Trump.
Adjunct Assistant Professor,
John Jay College Of Criminal Justice
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