Our constitution is threatened as never before, from within
By Mike Weland
It could happen here in less than a year as the self proclaimed "retribution" of those in our nation whose resentments and disaffections he has fanned into a raging inferno since entering the political arena in 2015 stands poised to be his party's nominee for another term in the Oval Office.
Donald Trump talked big but did little for this nation in his first four years, but he and his "conservative" cohorts learned much, and given a second chance, they are already telling us their agenda and promising they won't make the same mistakes twice. And a great many of our nation's voters appear to favor going down the easy road to fascism rather than continue to climb the steep and arduous slope to an ever more perfect union, founded not on the promises of a man, but on the ideals of our constitution.
Like Hitler on his rise to power, Donald J. Trump has been able to convince a growing cult of avid followers that their many and disparate fears are not only legitimate, but more dire than they suspected. Our borders are being overrun, we must build a wall. It's the liberals fault, we must demonize them. We are being cancelled, we must fight. People who are not like us are taking over, infiltrating our schools and libraries and twisting the minds of our children, we must put them in their place. Their vile books are corrupting, we must ban them.
Both have convinced their millions to eschew logic and evidence. That words can mean whatever they want and that "truth" is what they say it is. Anyone saying otherwise; the mainstream media, scientists, teachers, liberals of every sort, are lying, can't be trusted. If you start feeling swayed, don't trust your lying ears or eyes ... immerse yourself more deeply in our "truth," study our word and pray a little harder that our truth will be revealed. Don't risk being kicked off the team.
While neither personally embraced religion, both recognized and harnessed the power of a specific brand of faith and the benefit to them of having faithful followers who believed their nation and their race was superior over all and therefore their religion, and only theirs, should be the light that guides the chosen. The strength of our faith will give us our rightful dominion, amen.
While Trump uses the Bible as a prop at a chintzy photo op, he supports and welcomes to his cult sycophants and followers who believe in White Christian Nationalism, that the Bible (properly interpreted) should guide us morally and legally rather than a constitution based on the premise that all men are created equal.
Hitler initially sounded high ideals and great promises for the German people; that he and he alone would lift them from the ash heap of World War 1, a war he himself fought in, and the indignities of the Treaty of Versailles. He instead led that proud nation into World War II and the ashes of another ignoble defeat. Despite some initial progress, he left the nation stained with the evil of his own hand.
Trump hasn't such a clear rallying cry. He sat out the war of his time with bone spurs, but he does have a gilded mirror in which he sees in himself the "strongmen" he so admires; Hitler, Putin, Xi, Kim Jong Un, so the "evils" and "enemies" he concocts to rally the fearful are much more chimerical; your sense of supremacy is being threatened, the brown hoards are coming to rape your wives, kill your children and cancel your culture, the government is weaponized against you -- it may look like they're coming after me, but they're really coming after you, I'm just standing in the way. Unless they go my way, your elections are being stolen.
In his rise to power in the early 1930s, Hitler first attempted to steal it, spent time in prison and then went legitimate, winning election and then climbing to the top, pushing aside the weak, vilifying and terminating his detractors, dismantling norms and tearing down the rule of law until he and his sycophants were the government. In his rise to power beginning in 2015, Trump sought and won election, made and broke promises, vilified detractors and attempted to dismantle the rules, tear down the constitution and usurp to the executive the means of balance wielded by the judicial and the legislative.
But he erred, appointing to position sycophants, but most of them sycophants who placed more credence on the constitution they swore to protect, uphold and defend rather than the man who assumed he possessed their complete and undying loyalty. Many held him back from his worst impulses and still he was impeached twice, soundly defeated after one inglorious term that culminated in attempted insurrection.
Once out of office, he was convicted of sexual assault in civil court and indicted in four criminal cases with 91 felony counts.
That anyone would even consider him for any office after all that, let alone a return to this nation's highest office, is astonishing. That he is the front runner for the Republican Party's nomination less than one year away is surreal.
Trump and his cadre have made considerable strides this time around; more sycophants elected to the halls of U.S. Congress and the nation's courts and more vetted loyal MAGA minions elected or appointed to offices in every state, from school and library boards to city councils, county commissions, governors' mansions and state senates and houses. Folks who won't be so reticent about looking away from that pesky constitution if it will mean progress on their pet "conservative" obsessions; anti-abortion legislation, elimination of gay rights, especially to marriage, an end to immigration, particularly of those who don't look, think or believe as "we" do. A return to those halcyon days when folks knew their place, stayed in it and all was as it should be.
If elected, Trump might not lead this nation to war, though it's not unthinkable. But he has already told us, often and in his own words, what he plans to do. And though he's an inveterate liar, there is no logical reason to doubt his stated intentions; he plans to do the very things he accuses the liberals of; he will weaponize the government to go after those who've offended him, which is everyone who calls him out or disagrees.
He will deport millions of undesirables from our borders, and rest assured they won't all be illegals. He will dismantle the "Deep State," ending civil service protections and putting in place loyal servants willing and eager to do his will rather than serve the good of the people. He would establish, by law, that only two genders are recognized in a nation home to many who defy that flawed logic.
The man who incited violent insurrection at the nation's capitol in an attempt to overturn a lawful election would use the military on the streets of America's cities to quell legitimate protest and stifle dissent. He would shred and trample the constitution and replace it with his own fascist fiefdom with himself as sovereign and highest of high.
He's already echoing the rhetoric of strongmen and delusional narcissistic fools.
In 1942, Hitler said, "“Nature is cruel; therefore we are also entitled to be cruel. When I send the flower of German youth into the steel hail of the next war without feeling the slightest regret over the precious German blood that is being spilled, should I not also have the right to eliminate millions of an inferior race that multiplies like vermin?”
This month, on a day of thanks and reflection, Trump told a crowd in Claremont, New Hampshire, "In honor of our great veterans on Veterans’ Day, we pledge to you that we will root out the communists, Marxists, fascists and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country, that lie and steal and cheat on elections, and will do anything possible — they’ll do anything — whether legally or illegally, to destroy America, and to destroy the American dream."
There are many who tried to defend the former president, to refute the ugliness of those words, but his campaign spokesman, Stephen Cheung, confirmed that Trump's words were intentional.
"Those who try to make that ridiculous assertion are clearly snowflakes grasping for anything because they are suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome and their entire existence will be crushed when President Trump returns to the White House," he said.
"Our veterans are the steel spine of this nation," President Joe Biden said in a speech at Arlington National Cemetery. "And their families, like so many of you, are the courageous heart ... As that young soldier wrote more than a century ago after World War One ended: 'If you only could see. Lanterns shine in every window and door.' Today, we not only see that light of liberty; we live by it. And just like our forebears, it’s on all of us — all of us together — to ask ourselves what can we do, what we must do to keep that light burning, to keep it shining in every window and door for generations to come. I know we can. I know we will. Because, as our veterans know best, we are the United States of America."
In a nation wherein all men are considered equal and all equally endowed with the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, there are many inequities to overcome, many wrongs to set right. It's easy to fall for the false promise of a charismatic leader who professes to understand your fears and concerns, who says the words you've long hoped to hear and promises that he and only he can take those burdens from your shoulders.
But such vainglorious promises have always proved false to the detriment of those who chose the downhill path to the much harder uphill climb.
Our constitution, the last best hope of man, establishes the foundation of a government of, by and for the people, a constitutional republic in which all qualified citizens are part, where we, the people, choose from among us, by our vote in elections prescribed, those we will send to office entrusted with our confidence that they will serve our interests. That they will serve us, not themselves. It gives us a true chart by which to steer this ship of state so as to form an ever more perfect union.
That so many of the latter hold office term after term isn't the fault of the elected, but of the complacent voters who squander their vote and let them stay there.
It's we, the people, not appreciating the rare and unique gift handed down to us by our nation's founding fathers, who are responsible for whatever morass exists in our governance, and we are fools if we think we can relieve ourselves of the burden of our civic responsibilities by giving them willfully to a man who by insurrection shows he cares not for the will of the people and expect our interests to be weighed or our rights, freedoms and liberties to long remain.
Mike Weland, Publisher
6619 Kaniksu St., Rm 19
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
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