We live in a republic, not a democracy. It’s an important distinction. A republic is a rule of laws and elected representatives. A democracy is majority rules. Our Founding Fathers understood this chasm and specifically set up this new country under laws (which can be changed or modified) versus every four-to-eight years the country swinging to the left or to the right.
On Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020 the America we thought we knew died. The United States Senate voted 52-48 to acquit President Trump almost exactly along party lines, with the exception of Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, who voted to impeach Trump. The rules of law are out the window. Imagine a trial without witnesses or evidence. Like John Lennon said, “It’s easy if you try.” The good news is I now can commit whatever crime I want and tell law enforcement and the District Attorney, “I’m sorry, you can’t bring any witnesses, documents or evidence against me. There’s a new precedent that you have to follow.” Sad.
If I hear one more Republican senator saying, “Yeah, Trump did the quid pro quo. Yes, he’s guilty. But I’m not voting to impeach the president during an election year.” Read between the lines: “I’m up for re-election this November. I’m scared to death Trump will do a nasty tweet on me. Then Fox News will start hammering away on me. Then talk radio and the right-wing Internet sites will blast me. Then an even more crazy candidate further to the right than me will primary my ass and it’s back to Tucson, Arizona and the Rotary Club. No more limousines, private security, expense accounts, vacations paid by lobbyists. It’s back to being a regular schmo. Nope, I’m ignoring the law and joining the cult of Trump.”
I’m a history buff who can spend hours researching our history at the Smithsonian Museums. The Magna Carta (The Great Charter) was written in 1215. It gave rights to the noblemen and barons and was agreed to by King John of England. Unheard at that time as nobody had any rights except for the monarchy. Fast forward 400 years to a bunch of radicals tired of a despot ruler who traveled across an ocean to form the United States of America. They wrote the Declaration of Independence in 1776, which was really nothing more than a declaration of war against England. This led us to the Constitution of the United States (1787). The Constitution split our federal government into three separate branches: legislative (Congress and Senate), executive (presidential) and judiciary (Supreme Court and the federal courts). It was intentionally set up as a system of checks and balances, so no one branch could dominate the others.
It pretty much worked until this past Wednesday when the Senate gave total control to President Trump. This Senate impeachment trial got so bad that Trump’s personal attorney, Alan Dershowitz was asked, “Is it your position that President Trump should not be impeached even if all the evidence and arguments laid out by the House are accepted as fact?” Dershowitz: “That’s right.” President Trump is now above the law and can and will do whoever he pleases. If re-elected, it will only get worse. I doubt Trump will be spending any time at the White House as he can’t bill the American taxpayer to sleep there. Nope, he’ll be spending seven nights a week at some Trump resort around the globe with his extended family, entourage and Secret Service detail — all being billed to the Trump Organization. Rumor is he’s bilked you and I hundreds of millions in various Trump resort stays so far in his first three years in office. If re-elected, I believe Trump will go for a billion.
For my Republican friends, think back to Trump’s 2016 campaign promises. Yes, Trump gave you not one, but two Supreme Court Justices (thank you, Moscow Mitch!) and massive tax cuts for the corporations and billionaires … along with huge deficits. How’s that getting rid of Obamacare and giving us better health care at lower premiums coming along? How about rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure? How’s that “build that wall” and make Mexico pay for it coming? Getting out of NATO? Locking up Hillary Clinton? Going after China as a currency manipulator? Shall I go on? Remember it’s not what a politician tells you on the campaign trail. It’s did they get elected, or re-elected.
Matthew Owen resides in Eureka, and believes the First Amendment allows for free speech, even when married to a Humboldt County supervisor.