■ Richard S. FloreS Latino Political Organizing Committee / Contributed
As we celebrated the Fourth of July holiday, which marks the signing of a document that announced the creation of a free and independent new nation, it is fitting to assess where we find ourselves in regards to the state of our nation today. A country we call America.
The Founding Fathers of the United States embarked on a governing experiment that they capsulated as “A government of the people, by the people and for the people.” In their divinely inspired wisdom, they did not give us a monarchy form of government, not an oligarchy government and surely, not a authoritarian form of government disguised as a government of the people and for the people. No! They gave us a republican form of government, based on a supportive Constitution and Bill of Rights that spell out the civil, human and political rights of every citizen.
Enshrined in the governing documents is the statement that “All men are created equal, with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The constitution guarantees every citizen, regardless of ethnicity or nationality, the protections, rights, securities and opportunities offered by our U.S. Constitution. Today, the spirit of our constitution, principles, institutions and norms is under attack. But it is not under attack by a foreign hostile entity, or a galactic enemy, nor by some sort of life-threatening disease. No, America is under siege internally by the personal and selfish interests of a U.S. President and his co-conspirators – the Congressional Republican Party.
Donald Trump’s antics have exposed weaknesses in the structure of our Constitution. Our governing laws and policies need to be rectified in order to plug the loopholes they contain, if the American Republic is to survive. For instance, the President should not be allowed to have control over the Justice Department, especially when the President is the subject of a criminal investigation. Another change would be that the Supreme Court Justices should not be chosen by the President, because such a relationship leads to an inevitable conflict of interest and possible subordination of the courts independence as the third checks and balances branch of government. The justices should be elected directly by the people, just like the other two branches, otherwise we don’t have a separation of powers nor a checks and balances principle.
Another item subject to improve is the electoral system that allows states to elect two senators to congress, no matter if that state’s population has one million or 40 million people. That political arrangement violates the one person, one vote doctrine. The election of the President by the Electoral College system is in fact a violation because it supersedes and disqualifies the virtues of the public vote. America, our country, cannot defend or protect itself, because America is an abstract ideal. It is up to the people to protect and defend the integrity of our nation. Citizens can protect our constitution by voting and actively electing people that embody integrity and a strong common sense of obligation to the virtues of our constitution. Once elected to office, citizens must hold the elected official duly responsible and accountable for safeguarding the sanctity of our democracy. As Dr. Benjamin Franklin once said when asked by a citizen outside of Independence Hall, “Well, Doctor, what have we got a republic or a monarchy?” Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
Trump became President of these United States of America due to, in a large extent, his appeals to hatred, white nationalistic values, and the fear-driven divisions amongst the political, economical and racial makeup of America. Some of his election support came from self-proclaimed white supremacists, Nazi organizations, Klu Klux Klan members and anti-globalists. He also received support from anti-environmentalist corporations and from citizens that were dissatisfied with the self-interest political elites in Congress. Trump also had help in his election to the presidency from an American adversary, Russia, which was lead by Putin. It is well documented on Facebook, Twitter and many other social media outlets what Russia did to influence the election. Trump himself, in a public rally, called on Russia to intervene in the presidential election and release the hacked emails of his opponent, Hillary Clinton. Also documented is the fact that Trump’s campaign officials had secret meetings and undisclosed communications with Russian officials. It is obvious that Trump’s inner-circle colluded with Russians. Our U.S. intelligence agencies have affirmed that Russia did interfere in our election, yet Trump persists on taking Putin’s word that they had nothing to do with it. Apparently, Trump operates in a parallel universe that is foreign to the legalistic values of our democracy.
The corruption of Donald Trump and most of his campaign and staff is so grave, that they are under federal and state investigation. Some have pleaded guilty, some have gone to jail and most of the others are awaiting the results of the Mueller investigation. Trump has tried to put a stop to the investigations from the very beginning. He fired the FBI director, the acting FBI director, and is threatening to fire Jeff Sessions in order to place someone else in position to remove the special investigator. Trump is constantly claiming his innocence. If he has nothing to hide, if he is indeed innocent, then why does he continuously try to stop the Mueller team from investigating the Russian election meddling? His repetitive statements that the investigation is a witch hunt are all a form of smoke and mirrors. It only serves to mentally condition his core supporters into believing a predisposed narrative.
It also appears that we have some people in America, between 30 to 35 percent, that want to put an end to the American vision and spirit. Historically, a similar effort was tried before by the Confederate States of the South in 1862. In the place of our Democracy, some of Trump’s supporters seem to want a Hitleristic form of society, others want an oligarchy, and some want a Theocratic government where their religious views are the law of the land. Such a conglomerate of divergent personal interests and disconnected world views cannot and will not be sustainable. Nobody stands to win with this recipe of devalued ideologies, but everybody will for sure stand to lose everything.
Trump’s economic policies are sure to lead America into a major economic depression. He is isolating America from its global economic partners, a partnership that has served America very well. He has withdrawn America from NAFTA and the Asia-Pacific Economic partnership and he has attacked our two largest trading partners, Canada and Mexico. He has gone after the members of the G-7 economic summit and he has attacked the European Union. Most of all, he has started a trade war with our former allies. Trump’s trade war is going to result in America being isolated from the rest of the world. Our country will become economically regressive that can only result in a major economic depression. This will then lead to higher prices and less employment, which will hurt the livelihood of every American and wreak havoc on the social fabric and stability of our society.
The advent of Trump’s presidency did not happen spontaneously. The Republican Party, with their southern political strategy and appeal to a confederate worldview, are mainly responsible. They have been appealing to the dark side of humanity in order to win elections. Once elected, they become water carriers for corporations, special interest groups and anybody else that will fill their campaign coffers with money. They endorse name-calling and the use of divisive racial and social politics in their political campaigns in order to obtain the votes of susceptible people. The Republican Party is not interested in the social and economic needs of their constituents, their only concern is to get elected and re-elected to their political positions. Party and personal interests above country and constitution is their model. The people fed up with that strategy have decided to abandon the Republican Party and cast their lot with Trump. And thus we have the rise of the Trump phenomena. But unfortunately for the contingent members of the Republican Party that became Trump supporters, it is comparable to jumping from the fire into the frying pan.
The leaders of the Congressional Republican Party, Paul D. Ryan and Mitch McConnell have lost all credibility and integrity due to their hypocrisy, lies and complacency with the Trump agenda, which includes supporting Trump’s obstruction of justice, tolerating his harmful divisiveness, and pitting American against American. It is also due to remaining silent, therefore lending support to the Russian election meddling, while America is under attack. It appears they care more about their corrupt political party than the national security of America.
President Trump is a clear and present danger to our democracy and constitution. He has damaged our institutions, devalued free press, attacked our political and economic allies, NATO, women, minorities, immigrants, Muslims and legitimate asylum seekers. He is destroying our natural environment by opening America’s National Parks and resources for economic exploitation and by the deregulation of anti-pollution policies. He has dismantled the Affordable Health Care Act and hasn’t replaced it with anything better. He is a pathological liar. If the American people do not actively engage, in order to keep the American Republic, through vote, voice, or protest then that American experiment we’ve enjoyed for 242 years will soon cease to exist and instead metamorph into something regressive and dangerous.