It’s an Either-Or Question: Trump or Decency

Updated:

Donald Trump, who would not be president but for a Republican Party that was more interested in power than core American values, has crossed a line no American who believes in our constitutional order should tolerate. He has sided with the people whose views are taken from two sources: the United States’ enemies in World War II, Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, and the disgraceful American system of black slavery and white domination. He has defended the right-wing fringe knowing full well that it was one of them who deliberately killed Heather Heyer in Charlottesville this weekend. History will judge those around him—and the rest of us—depending on how we respond. Where do you stand?

Forget the phrase “alt-right”; this is no alternative movement. It’s the old right.

Trump: A Fatal Incapacity for Accountability

The Framers fully expected greedy, self-serving, and dangerous men would ascend to power in the United States. The Constitution itself is a testament to that belief. Every person and every institution that holds power is checked and limited in as many ways as they could conceive. Article V, which permits amendment, exists because the Framers were persuaded that the powerful would find ways to circumvent the limits that were built in. The Convention was based on distrust and informed by a dark view of human nature, which has served us quite well, as I discuss here. Until now.

The goal of the checks and balances in the Constitution is to turn the instinctively self-serving president, Congress, and courts into public servants accountable to the people and the common good. To put it another way, the presidency is supposed to be the opposite of a monarchy where one ascends to power for the very purpose of being unaccountable to anyone. Yet Trump appears to believe that he has been anointed monarch—of the Henry VIII variety, who attacked friend and foe alike, grasped power ruthlessly, repeatedly subjugated women, favored one faith over all, and had a voracious appetite. This Administration does not care about accountability or the common good.

Trump is openly mocking some of our greatest achievements—the defeat of Hitler, the end of slavery, the birth of civil rights, and the continuing will to make our system fair to all. Right before our eyes, he is contemptuous of accountability with his sinister refusal to be transparent about his actual finances (i.e., his taxes); his campaign’s apparent pursuit of powerful Russians, including Vladimir Putin, to help him beat Hillary Clinton at all costs; his saber-rattling at law and order itself by threatening those who are lawfully investigating him; and his repeated insistence that there is a moral equivalency between the neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and white nationalists with the counter protesters. These positions have one thing in common: monumental arrogance—there is no requirement to serve the people or to honor our history.

When judged in light of the Framers’ aspirations for the Constitution, this presidency is arguably the greatest failure in United States history.

To Those Who Remain Silent: The Clock Is Ticking

Many Democrats and to their credit, Republicans, have decried Trump’s twisted support for some of the worst our society has to offer, but not all, and some didn’t have the guts to name Trump. Then Trump, who is incapable of shame, tells the Republicans to unconditionally back his whitewashing of the Charlottesville events.

This is really your moment, Republicans. Can you do what the Framers imagined and hoped (against hope) United States’ leaders would do: serve the people and the higher good? Stand up for liberty and equality? Stand against Nazis and Russia? Turn on the President whose narcissism is branding your Party as bigoted, intolerant, and arrogant? Every member of Congress, every governor, and every public official should be loudly denouncing Trump for his essentially traitorous positions. Along with every business leader, university president, member of the clergy, and, well, all people of decency. It should be easy. Those who do not will likely be remembered, if remembered at all, on the wrong side of history. I’m sorry, General Kelly, but that includes you.

You want to know who Trump’s true allies are? Look to see who repeatedly praises him: Vladimir Putin, here, here, and here; and David Duke, here, here, and here. The first is the enemy to our democratic system and the second is the face of an organization—the KKK—known for its history of lynchings, rabid racism, and anti-Semitism. This is the organization whose members are thrilled an ally killed a young woman because she is not one of them. Both betray the fundamental decency at the heart of the American constitutional experience. Which of these pillars of piety are you aligning yourself with?

The correct answer is: Neither.

  • “Trump appears to believe that he has been anointed monarch—of the Henry VIII variety, who attacked friend and foe alike, grasped power ruthlessly, repeatedly subjugated women, favored one faith over all, and had a voracious appetite.” https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4e7a4fc67b88d045aabc2a41c5c59041f638cdc3ce607bd0e41b91d8b5b951e3.jpg

    • Brett

      Wasn’t it Barack Obama who used executive orders far more than any other president?

      • robertgalli

        And your point is …? Remember, not all EOs are ‘bad’ – unless they, oh, say – forbid entry to the US – even by green card holders; or just about anything else the current president may have signed. Keep in mind, an EO is the last resort after Congress fails to do anything – you know, like today’s inept wrong-wing (can’t say ‘right’ – they hardly ever are from my POV) republican’ts (yeah, i’m a 73 y.o. ‘east coast librul’ originally from Detroit by way of Chicago now in NJ)

        Of course, if you think President Obama’s EOs were ‘bad’, give some cogent examples.

        • Bobby Brandtjen

          His point is the narrow mindedness of the alt-left–otherwise known as Bolsheviks. Any abuse is okay, as long as it’s “your” abuse.

      • Susan Brummett

        Because the gop refused everything, I mean EVERYTHING he tried to do. What is that called? Oh, yeah OBSTRUCTION. Sound familiar, snowflake?

      • I recommend that the readers go beyond the invidious wording of this article and the simplified comments. It isn’t a matter of how many EO’s a president uses, it’s how they use them. Obama used one to directly violate the law and his Constitutional duty.
        The Author claims that “The goal of the checks and balances in the Constitution is to turn the instinctively self-serving president, Congress, and courts into public servants accountable to the people and the common good.” The poor Marci A. Hamilton has this totally wrong – the Congress and the Executive take an oath to the Constitution, not the people. We are not a democracy.
        Sadly, all the degrees, awards and titles have been consumed with party spirit. Although I totally support the author’s activities in defense of children, I recommend she stay out of politics, as she has not done her homework.

    • would find ways to circumvent the limits that were built in. The Convention was based on distrust and informed by a dark view of human nature, which has served us quite well, as I discuss here. Until now.

  • Brett

    What an incredibly disgusting article from a far-left liberal. Of course all decent people denounce Nazis, neo-Nazis, white nationalists and white supremacists. Ms. Hamilton apparently obtains her information from the dangerous bias and filter of the “mainstream” media. First and foremost, Mr. Trump denounced Nazis, neo-Nazis, white nationalists and white supremacists and all like them on several occasions this past week. When he did so in no uncertain terms at the press conference on Tuesday, the “mainstream” media conveniently, dangerously, ignored his strong words. He denounced them last Saturday but did so in stronger words Tuesday. Is Ms. Hamilton aware of this denouncement? Is she aware of his denouncement of these people over the past seventeen years? Apparently, and painfully, not. And her claim that Mr. Trump is not doing anything for the common good rings hollow. Is she aware of the decline in unemployment, at a sixteen-year low now, since Mr. Trump’s inauguration, or the many record highs that the stock market has hit in the same time period, or how about the lower numbers on welfare and food stamps, the approximately 10,000 fewer employees in a bloated federal workforce (all helping to save the federal government from its massive debt, which should worry every decent person (I doubt it causes Ms. Hamilton any worry)), removal of some of the over-reaching federal regulations that have held back jobs, which are up since January as well, stronger national defense, strong response to Syria’s atrocities and North Korea’s once again saber rattling (including a rebuke from the U.N. Security Council) when prior administrations were weak and enabled their ascensions to power, including by handing over billions of American dollars to them (is Ms. Hamilton aware of Bill Clinton’s address from the White House in 1994 when he stated that a deal was struck with North Korea in which they agreed to dismantle their nuclear program (in exchange for a ton of American money) only to have them continue their nuclear program shortly thereafter?). Only a liberal, as Ms. Hamilton stated, could find these accomplishments to be the greatest failed presidency in history. Wow. As for liberals’ desperate attempts to find “collusion” between Russia and the Trump campaign last year, there has been no evidence of such collusion despite many investigations and large amounts of taxpayer money devoted to it. There is, however, evidence that the Clinton campaign colluded with Ukraine to attempt to beat Mr. Trump at all costs last year (and of course there is the deal selling uranium to Russia through the Clinton State Department in exchange for contributions to the corrupt Clinton Foundation). Liberals sadly and disgustingly try to portray their political opponents as certain individuals although there is no evidence to support the characterizations, instead of attempting to prevail on policy arguments and good, old-fashioned facts. Ms. Hamilton’s low-ball, typical liberal resort to name-calling (“bigoted, intolerant, arrogant”) is very telling.

    • Susan

      Amazing comments and well stated.

      This article should NEVER have been printed. It is riddled with false statements and completely flawed.

      President Trump NEVER sided with either side. In fact, on SEVERAL occasions he disavowed all parties involved in racism and hatred.

      This hateful false rhetoric needs to stop. Americans need to work together.

    • Paul Anderson

      Hey Brett, you obviously missed the President’s press conference at Trump Tower of all places, during which he called these same neo-Nazis and white supremicists “fine people” – here, let me help you:

      And you’re crediting him with lowering unemployement? NOTHING he has done could possibly account for that, it was already in progress.

      Most everything else you talk about (North Korea, potential collusion with the Russians, etc.) appear to come from the very same talking points as the Fox News mouthpieces, a fully discredited media outlet.

      It’s clear which side you’re on – I wish you all the best.

      • The article does make one true statement: “History will judge those around him—and the rest of us—depending on how we respond.”
        The President didn’t call those he had condemned — white supremacists and the masked marauders of Antifa — fine people. The President acknowledged there were “fine people” on both sides [of the issue] as logic would dictate there were. The woman who was killed was, by accounts, a legitimate protestor, a “fine” person. Ms. Hamilton’s article is an opinion piece unworthy of publication, sophomoric and so inaccurate as to almost rise to the level of drivel.

    • ingeborg oppenheimer

      and you, brett, obtained your information from the dangerous far-right bias media, which typically attends only to comments supporting their intended message and ignores the reality of trump’s sympathies with extremist philosophy, as reflected in his wall-building determination and in his viewing as equal the behavior of those who objected to the nazi extremist assembly and the behavior of the nazis themselves.

    • Bobby Brandtjen

      except–the only people calling then nazis–other than the press, are the neo Bolsheviks who call themselves “antifa” and “black bloc” who are also the ones who start all the violence.

  • Brett

    And Ms. Hamilton’s extremely weak attempt to somehow label President Trump a racist by showing that David Dukes has expressed any support towards is low-ball at best. She conveniently (or did she not do any proper research?) fails to mention how Mr. Trump has denounced any racists beliefs held by Mr. Dukes. Also, a politician does not have control over who claims to support him or her. A politician does, however, have complete control over who he or she claims to be a mentor. Has Ms. Hamilton ever taken Bill Clinton to task for his mentor, racist Senator J. William Fulbright (he signed the Southern Manifesto in opposition to racial integration after the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision)? Or Hillary Clinton for her racist mentor (former KKK member; in 2010 Bill Clinton disgustingly defended Mr. Byrd’s Klan membership; Mr. Byrd allegedly recruited no less than 150 members of the Klan) Senator Robert Byrd? The hypocrisy from Ms. Hamilton oozes. If Ms. Hamilton is interested in criticizing those who hold racist views, certainly an admirable pursuit, she should target those who have evidence in support of harboring such views, not those who do not.

  • Eric Grieb

    Pure Propaganda. Hey all you “Believers,” I got a bridge for you!!! LOL!!!

  • Tom Spencer

    This is one of the most dishonest articles on the Web about this incident and issue that I have read.
    Since the 90’s, Trump has loudly denounced the very people who Hamilton (really?) falsely claims that he endorsed.
    He received awards from the Black Leadership for his strident support of Black civil rights issues. He has always denounced violence in all forms. His support of Law Enforcement has been based on the right of every American to speak freely and to be safe in their homes and places of worship and work. It is also defamatory to claim that Trump did not denounce the Supremacists on both sides for their violence. He called out the White Supremacists by name. He castigated those who would deny Free Speech and civil rights. He has said over and over again in every way possible how wrong this behavior is. This PileOn by a “Professor” seeking attention for herself is simply shameful academically and ethically. It is nothing but a political attack to reverse an election, the results of which Hamilton obviously hates. The fact that this was put on a supposedly honest legal forum for the discussion of “law” is shocking. The political coup supported by Hamilton would bring this country into a bloody civil conflict destroying not only the economy, but causing a national security catastrophe.

  • lynn

    Lets make everyone afraid! Antifa BLM and Libtards can attack at will so does ISIS. Civil rights monuments now scare people. Lets take them all down.

  • Florence Erlenmeyer

    News Flash: isn’t about half of Trump’s family Jewish by choice by now? You cannot be pro-nazi or KKK with Jews in your family. Marci you sound like one of the stupidest most unqualified “professors” writing for Justia. This is definitely NOT your area of “expertise”–if you have one.

  • wood

    Those of you who support Trump will take his side no matter what he says or does. It’s a shame that people in this country is so caught up in supporting a brand that they blind themselves of what that brand represents. You’re a republican, or democrat, so your desire to support your brand supersedes truth.
    The truth is Trump is no different than the man who conducted The Apprentice reality show. He endorses those who bow down to his will, and denounces (or fires) those who don’t. Tact has never been a quality he exudes, and he will always be that guy. He will turn on you as his mood (or the tide) turns, and certainly that can’t be denied.
    Message from @prophet_of_Jobe

    • The church was on a friendliness defensive now, and the only ones who should be scared were those who’d left the church.

  • BeeBee.BeeLeaves

    The altR event at Charlottesville was organized by Obama voter, Occupy Wall Street organizer, ExCNN assignment editor Jason Kessler.

    The three factions were brought together, Unite the Right, BLM, Antifa. The latter two were bussed in, paid to protest. Crowds on Demand in Los Angeles was one source, as was Craigslist, 15 to 25 an hour to reek chaos.

    Once altR was corralled in the park by BLM and Antifa, law enforcement was told to stand down, ordered to stand down. Video evidence shows officers doing nothing even as the car that murdered the girl barrelled in, and ripped out. They just stared at it.

    Heathers death means lawsuits and with lawsuits, discovery. Was Jason contracted as an operative by Onward Together, by Organizing for Action, by whom?

    The Mayor and Governor violated the civil rights of every single person there with a stand down order. That, plus possible RICO. There were Feds there to witness, gather evidence. Video shows hand signals, DNA items being collected. Same happened in Berkeley months before. That mayor also ordered stand down. Goes with the goal to sedition via local government. Doing it. Again, RICO.

    Craigslist ads are up for Phoenix protesters for POTUS trip there. I am sure a lock tight case will eventually be produced. Maybe Guantanamo will be used for criminal politicians? We the People may agree with that sort of use, for justice sake.

  • Bobby Brandtjen

    Thank God you’re not a judge. Forget much the Constitution? Forget that the “antifas’ and “black bloc” are avowed communists? Didn’t notice the police heard the so called “neo nazis” into the path of violence that began with the antifas and black bloc? Forget that the ACLU fought for them to have their freedom of speech rights protected?

    I hope to God you don’t teach law school anywhere. Apparently all one has to do to win your favor is scream “Nazis” and they can perpetrate any amount of violence they choose.

  • Michael Mcgregor

    You mean Trump or Communism – There is no place in nature for gay/homosexual behavior, and what you call gay rights is more of a forced takeover by the gay left to force their beliefs on everybody!