Monday, February 13, 2017

Now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of our democracy

Original revised and re- posted on 2/13/17; in print, Sky Hi News as Democracy in the Age of Autocracy 2/15/17

A jaw dropper: Said Stephen Miller on Sunday talk shows regarding the Muslim country ban and the judicial review of it:
“As we begin to take further actions,...that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.”
The part of that statement that is objectionable is not that the executive branch has strong powers to protect the country from threats from terrorism; it does.. It is the phrase we: "will not be questioned" which indicates that due process, anti discrimination clauses, freedom of the press, separation of powers, and rule of law have no constraints provided by the Constitution in matters of national security. What this does is lay ground work and precedence for application to "further actions" of other executive powers.
Who is Stephen Miller? A chief policy advisor to President. Trump and a former aide to our new US Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. If this is the view of the Trump administration of separation  of powers and the rule of law and an independent judiciary, we are looking at many, many more court challenges and Constitutional crises before the Trump administration is able to stack the federal judiciary with his appointees and controls all three branches of government.
Are we looking at the end of our beloved form of democracy that has kept us from being ruled by an autocrat  for 250 years?  The only powers standing between that happening, given the attitude being expressed by the administration,  lie in the hands of the other two branches, judicial and legislative, jealously guarding their own Constitutionally granted powers. If Miller represents the views of President Trump and the advisers to which he listens, that is an issue of greater importance than any facing us at this time. .
That burden of protecting our democracy falls the heaviest on the GOP members of the Senate  in screening judicial appointments to assure the independence of that branch.
We should revisit our school days civics classes and remember the beauty of our Constitution founded by those who had had their fill of being governed by an autocratic king.  The fear and abhorrence of autocracy was not just specific to our revolution in the 1776.. It is applicable to all wannabe autocrats who have plagued mankind since the beginning of civilization. Even in the memory of those of us living is the  natural tendency by strong men for power grabs initially using the nominal authority of constitutional democracies .It has happened  from Germany to Italy in the last century  to  Turkey and  Russia in the current era.
We have fought wars to protect our freedoms, but the danger comes now  from within our country,  Many are even willing to excuse Trump's admiration of autocrats and dictators so consumed they are by their desire for change, any change, from the past.
The fear is that Donald Trump seems to be  unschooled in public governance, depending on those he trusts  to guide his hands to make good on his campaign promises.  He is fueled by the glow of his rallies and the adoration of his followers. .  Now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of our democracy before this all gets out of hand.

Via Reuters reposted by the Washington post:

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