Letter to the editor: Trump’s ’emergency’ risks new civil war

Official portrait of President Donald J. Trump, Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, by Shealah Craighead

To the editor:

We stand at a precipice though many Americans seem to be oblivious to it. I’m speaking of possibly the most extreme threat to our security, civil rights, liberties and political expression.

This threat does not come from any foreign power. It does not originate in any terrorist group. It has little to do with any drug cartel. No immigrants, legal or undocumented, are nearly the danger to our nation as the following three factors. I’m speaking of none other than Donald Trump, his recent emergency declaration and those who have no problem with it.

To be sure, every POTUS since the Emergency Powers Act of 1976 has issued emergency declarations. No one will argue against the president’s having implied powers not necessarily outlined in the U.S. Constitution. After all, the founders could not possibly have foreseen everything. That’s not my point.

I have scrutinized every presidential emergency declaration going back to World War II and before. None of them seem to be unreasonable, at least, not according to my thinking. None of them seemed to me to be outside the realm of presidential authority. None of them challenged or contradicted the other two branches of our federal government, here again, not according to my thinking.

The POTUS must have a little leeway here. The president can also use his signature to change practices and policies with any of the agencies under his direct control. No problem. One can agree or disagree with the decisions, but those are the decisions the president alone can make.

Still, such authority does not extend so far as to directly challenge the constitutional authority of the other two branches of government or dispense with the separation of powers as outlined by the Constitution. That is where Trump’s emergency declaration goes awry.

For all intents and purposes, last November’s midterm election was a referendum against the wall he wants. The American electorate decided in no uncertain terms to reject the very idea of Trump’s wall. The administration lost the vote in the U.S. House of Representatives and with it the power to provide carte blanche funding for the wall.

When Trump shut down the government because of it all, he lost that argument as well. Before the dust had even settled, he was threatening to issue this latest national-emergency declaration.

Last week, he went ahead with it. The other day, the U.S. House rebuked him for it. Be reminded, the House controls the purse strings and approves the budget, not the president.

With his latest move, Trump directly challenges the constitutional authority of the U.S. Congress. This declaration of his is singularly unique in that regards. This puts our entire federal government in murky waters as the declaration transgresses the limits of presidential authority and makes the constitutional separation of powers meaningless.

Most of us know the POTUS has the power of veto over any legislation passed by Congress and that Congress can override the veto with a two-thirds majority. This is to say, the POTUS has the power to challenge any congressional initiatives. We know that.

This case is different. This has never happened before. The Constitution doesn’t have any provision for Congress to challenge presidential initiatives. Accordingly, we are facing a constitutional crisis. This kind of thing has never happened inasmuch as Congress has never needed to challenge any implied presidential authority.

Indeed, if Trump wins this argument, virtually any presidential initiative can go in effect whether the House likes it or not. As I say, this kind of thing has never happened.

All the above is frightening enough. What compounds the danger is that millions of Americans don’t perceive the risk in all of this. At most, their numbers come to less than half the electorate.

Some are angered by all the resistance against this administration. I weary of the terms “snowflake,” “libtard” and “crybabies.” Those who use these terms as a matter of course had best be warned: the backbone and determination of the left are far stronger than they have been led to believe.

I have noticed the proliferation of ANTIFA chapters online, liberal gun clubs and socialist rifle assosciations. The stage is being set. If the voices of moderation and compromise are not forthcoming, the nation may very well fall from a precipice and never recover from it.

As for myself, I’m trying not to be angry while digging in my heels at the same time. I am not threatening anyone. I am much too old to start a war that a younger man will need to finish. I will not advocate or support any armed struggle.

I am not a hypocrite. I was raised during the Vietnam era. I do not call for any conflict that I am too old to fight myself. I don’t want bloodshed, but I see it coming if cooler heads do not prevail. Be advised, others on the left are also losing their patience, but it’s possible those dogs will bite.

Having said all that, this old hippie has no ill will toward anyone, nor do I want anything more than peace. May God bless and keep us all.

Nick Eakins


  1. As usual, your view comes strictly from the eyes of a liberal socialist. What about the names that your party calls good old conservative Americans. In my view, the far-left socialist party are the ones that are causing the divide by not accepting the fact that they lost the election and their liberal agenda cannot move forward, nor will it in 2020. They want your guns because they think that will stop them from shooting themselves in the foot! They dont need guns to do this. They do it every day!

    • Actually, Danny, we’re talking about the voices of moderation and not extremes here. As for myself, I’m barely in the Democratic Party but I am in it. I’m a Social Democrat, which may be left of yourself but not so far left as to do away with all private property and investment. Your inability to see that as well your false assumption the left doesn’t own or know how to use guns is just as dangerous as Trump’s latest move. Also, we did win the last election and took over the House. My issue is his trashing the Constitution by effectively eliminating the separation of powers. With the stroke of a pen, he’s attempting to negate the sovereignty of the House. He’s using an implied power to override the express power of the House and the citizenry that elected its members last November. No one is seeing this. No one is addressing this. A POTUS thumbing his nose at another branch of government hasn’t been done since Jackson ignored the Supreme Court and sent the Cherokee Nation on the Trail of Tears. Does anyone else see this? We don’t want your guns. We want your ears.

  2. I hate to break it to you, but events that eventually lead to a Constitutional crisis have been brewing for probably the past century. It started with small things done by the Wilson and FDR administrations, and it’s been slowly, gradually building ever since.

    Every single time the federal government has taken on a responsibility that is not expressly given to it by the Constitution — education, for example. I could name many more — the crisis gets a little closer to the boiling point. The Constitution “gets trashed.”

    Every time progressive judges and lawyers create and utilize a “living Constitution doctrine” in order to change what the Constitution actually says — because, you know, progressives do not like that it’s so hard to amend the Constitution — the Constitution “gets trashed.”

    Every time a bureaucratic, federal government administrator “creates a rule” that all citizens must follow, essentially “creating law” outside of the House of Representatives, the Constitution “gets trashed.”

    Every time progressives, and even some Republicans, create more rules that make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to purchase arms, rules that at the same time have little to no effect on criminals’ ability to access arms, the Constitution “gets trashed.”

    Every time progressives at public universities create their own definitions of “hate speech” and use those definitions to prevent free speech and the free exchange of ideas to occur on public campuses, the Constitution “gets trashed.”

    When progressives in progressive states get together and try to circumvent the electoral college outside of the Constitutional amendment process, they are attempting to “trash the Constitution.”

    I could go on.

    President Trump has done absolutely nothing to “trash the Constitution.” All of the above people have.

    What has nearly pushed us past the boiling point, though, and put us in Constitutional crisis mode is not President Trump’s national emergency declaration, a power given to the president when Congress passed the National Emergencies Act of 1976. No, what has nearly pushed us into a Constitutional crisis is the highest leaders of the FBI and CIA, with the help of other countries’ intelligence agencies — for example, the U.K. — and the amazingly pathetic national media, creating a fake Russia collusion story to try to take out a duly elected president, basically a soft coup. Even more amazing is the fact that the wheels of this plan were put in motion by these people who worked in the Obama administration even before the 2016 election took place.

    The last time Democrats refused to accept the results of an election was 1860. We know what happened after that. Democrats are dangerously close to making the same mistake again with this election.

    This isn’t about the national emergency declaration.

    This is about the “trashing of the Constitution” by progressives for the past century and Democratic progressives trying to reverse the results of an election now as they attempted to do in 1860.

    And no, you did not “win the last election.” Last I checked, conservatives increased the majority they already had in the Senate, which is somewhat amazing considering the complete pro-Democrat bias of the media throughout the entire election cycles of 2016 and 2018. The last election was a wash.


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