On Jan. 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump placed his hand on a book he had never read, didn’t understand, and had no intention of understanding. He then proceeded to take a solemn oath he took as seriously as he had his three marriage vows. He swore a solemn oath that he would defend a Constitution he had never read, never understood and had no intention of understanding. The scene was one of mere props. A Bible, a solemn oath, a wife and son by his side.
Since that time, Donald Trump has treated the federal treasury as a resource to be mined and the apparatus of the government as a mere impediment to the unbridled greed and avarice of him and his cohort of bankers, CEO’s, hedge-fund managers, etc. The Justice Department, historically a stem of the Executive Branch that by necessity has operated independent of political considerations, was suborned by the corrupt intentions of a chief executive who believed the apparatus of justice belonged to him, not to the American people.
It was John Adams who said we should be a government of laws, not men. This is a principle that had some foundations in the Athens of Pericles, was precariously forced upon a King named John England (The Magna Carta) and was instituted in full by those who would no longer bow to a third Hanoverian Monarch named George. These weighty moments in time speak to those of us alarmed by a President who would fire an FBI Director investigating him and his associates. For a foreign power to influence our elections is alarming. But for the autocrat (Putin) who conspired against us to be rewarded with an unconstitutional abrogation of duty by the candidate he helped elect, we are confronted with the decision of what to do about the U.S Constitution we so often gush about.
Article II Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution says the President “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” In August of last year, our reluctant executive signed a sanctions law that was passed virtually unanimously by both houses of Congress to penalize Russia for their interference in our elections. Now this same executive treats this law with the same devotion he has his marriage vows and refuses to perform the responsibilities articulated in Article II of our U.S. Constitution.
In 2012, I ran for public office and had the opportunity to witness much posturing about perceived assaults on our Constitution by the like of candidate (now Congressman) Chris Stewart. Six years later, it is this same individual who props up this Constitution ignoring president, apparently because party loyalty trumps devotion to country and Constitution. Today that white horse sits in the barn ill-fed and ignored. And with an assault on those who would investigate Russian interference, we can presume that this horse will be slaughtered and served as a mere appetizer at a banquet celebrating the dear leader and how he saved us from self-governance.
To make America great again, you need to understand what it is that made America great in the first place. Several principles enshrined in our founding documents, such as separation of powers, an independent and impartial application of justice, a free press (our third estate), a government constrained by the Bill or rights: these are what make America great rather than props and symbols. What makes America great is not the flag and our devotion to it. It is these underlying principles that the flag is supposed to represent. Those blinded by props will prop up leaders antithetical to these principles. Chris Stewart’s paper thin support of the U.S. Constitution exposes the document as a mere prop for him and his fellow partisans.
David Swan is a resident of Tooele.