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.