I was born in America.
It was a country of laws, and not of men. It was governed by a document called the Constitution, which created three co-equal branches of government, which had balanced rights and responsibilities intended to keep each from dominating the others.
The president was a citizen, elected by his fellow citizens to a position, not elevated to a transcendent superiority. He was not an Emperor, a King, or a god. He was the chief servant of all, tasked with carrying out the will of the people as expressed through Acts of Congress. He had enumerated responsibilities, as did the other two branches of government.
He was supposed to stay in his lane and faithfully execute the law. If he did not, he could be impeached and removed, because no man was above the law.
In that country, the words Congress wrote had meaning. It didn’t matter if the law was difficult to obey; only the Congress could change it.
This nation has been “fundamentally transformed” by a master of the game. The law is the law only as long as the President wants it to be the law. When it outlives its usefulness, the word “law” doesn’t apply anymore, since, in any sensible use of the word, a law is something people obey. It is something which is only violated at the risk of one’s liberty or property—or even life. It is something that is expected to be respected, especially by those entrusted with carrying it out. And when those tasked with executing the law become scofflaws, the law demands that they be brought to heel, made to answer for those crimes.
There’s a scene in the new Fox show The Last Man on Earth, in which the last man and the last woman have an argument (bear with me; I have a point). Driving to the hardware store to get supplies, Phil (Will Forte) drives through a stop sign. Carol (Kristen Schaall) admonishes him, and he is incredulous that she wants him to stop, when the point of a stop sign is to regulate traffic, and there is no more traffic. However, she insists, and he gives in. When they get to the hardware store, he parks in a handicapped space, which sets her off again. He tries to explain that everywhere is a parking space now. To make his point, he drives the truck through the doors and parks inside the store. She asks him if he’s abandoned all rules now and would he burn down a church.
“I’d never burn down a church!” he insists, aghast. Why? “Because it’s a church!”
With the triumph of one who knows she’s right, Carol says, “And THIS is a store, and THAT is a handicapped parking space!”
All laws are, to an extent, arbitrary. Even the Constitution—the rock solid foundation of our 200+ year old nation—is only as good as our willingness to obey it. If the purpose of the Constitution is to tell the government how to behave, and the people who run the government have no intention of doing it, then, effectively, there is no more Constitution. If the Founders wrote the Bill of Rights to tell the government what it cannot do to us, yet those who run the government do it anyway, what is the point?
This president behaves as though he is—if not the last man on earth—at least the only one whose opinion matters. He ignores the will of Congress and executes laws they did not write. He allows Eric Holder to stand in defiance of a contempt of Congress citation, until the Attorney General simply resigns—the political equivalent of dying peacefully in one’s sleep–untouched by the law he is sworn to enforce.
Lawless leaders will soon find themselves presiding over a lawless nation. If the president obeys no laws, we have no cause to do so, either. When the president has decided that the Constitution is malleable, inconsequential, and subject to his whimsical interpretation, you might as well metaphorically park anywhere you want to.
But that is not the nation I was born into, and it is not the nation in which I wish to live.
Whatever the President thinks, this is not the end of the world; we still have laws. The Constitution still means something. He has violated the Constitution, the highest law of the land. It provides our remedy—impeachment.
Yet impeachment is an act that can only be initiated by the House of Representatives and is only participated in by the Congress and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The people themselves—both the fools that elected him and the aggrieved parties who wish him to go away—are mere spectators in the process.
All we can do is ask. Ask our representatives to read the Constitution and take it seriously. Ask them to do their jobs and protect us from all enemies, foreign and domestic.
And ask we must.
It is time this era of the elastic Constitution come to an end. It is time that the laws be enforced and obeyed—even by the president himself.
It is time for the United States House of Representatives to impeach the President of the United States.
I want to live in America again.