Tag Archives: US Constitution

Political violence ‘has no place’

Politicians of every imaginable stripe and conviction are saying the same thing tonight in the wake of an incident at a Donald Trump campaign rally in Butler, Pa.

Political violence “has no place” in our system of government and politicking, they have said.

Trump spoke today at an outdoor rally. Then he flinched, grabbed at his right ear and sank to the ground. The Secret Service detail assigned to protect the former president were on him in an instant, shielding him from further harm.

Medical personnel rushed Trump to a center where he was treated for what looked like minor injuries to his ear and possibly the right side of his face. The Secret Service issued a statement declaring the former POTUS to be “safe” and “doing fine.”

For that we all should be relieved.

A shooter reportedly is dead. Eyewitnesses reported hearing several noises that sounded like gunshots. The district attorney then announced the authorities are treating this incident as an “assassination attempt.”

Now comes the difficult part of this commentary. How do we stop the kind of hateful rhetoric we’ve been hearing on the campaign trail? Too many speakers have spoken of doing violence to political protesters. They have lamented the presence of protests, even though the Constitution protects such activity as legitimate free speech.

I would advise Donald Trump himself to take stock of what he has said on the stump and wish for all I can that he cease the kind of rhetoric he has bellowed.

This incident, I fear, is a consequence of the deep divisions that have fractured this great nation.

Most important … ever!

My active involvement in presidential elections goes back a while, to 1972, when I cast my first vote for president.

And just as surely as the sun rises in the morning, every election cycle has contained the phrase “the most important election in our lifetime.”

I believe the 2024 election fits the bill. It’s the real thing. It appears to be the most important election in our nation’s storied history.

The candidates for president aren’t the best we can offer. The consequence of electing one of these men is what gives the result the heft it deserves.

Where do we stand? The Democratic Party nominee appears to be the incumbent, Joe Biden. Then again …

The president had that debate a few days ago and everything seems to have changed. The party of which he has been a faithful member might be turning on him. Or it might stand firm. He looked and sounded like a doddering old man in that debate and the party faithful is full of doubting members who are concerned about whether he’s up to the job.

The Republican Party nominee? Oh, brother. He is a former POTUS who got impeached twice while in office. He’s now a convicted felon. There might be more convictions on the way. Donald Trump has vowed to sic the Justice Department on his political foes. He well could end our support for Ukraine, which is fighting the Russian invaders. He vows to reverse virtually every law that Biden has signed. Trump has threatened to toss the U.S. Constitution into the shi**er on the first day of his administration.

Consequential election? The most important in US history?

It damn sure looks that way to me.

Are we really and truly ready to throw the very foundation of our government — the one other nations use as their model for freedom and liberty — away because a newly elected president wants to make friends with killers, despots and tyrants?

If we are then … God help us!

Stiffen the rules to run

The next amendment to the Constitution should involve updating requirements to run for president. There are only 3 requirements, and at the time of its writing, that seemed logical. We no longer live in a world full of logical people; and it is illogical that a convicted felon should be allowed to run for office. We need people of good virtue and character. Donny boy offers neither, nor do his adamant supporters, as they have lost their once good character and virtues to a cult leader. But the founders never expected the country would face such a ridiculous crisis.

What you have just read didn’t come from my laptop. It came from an individual who reads this blog and who, by and large, endorses whatever point of view I manage to spew out there. I appreciate his support.

What this gentleman proposes is to stiffen the requirements for seeking high public office. He’s right that there is nothing in the Constitution that requires a candidate for POTUS to be free of criminal charges … let alone convictions.

This guy might be onto something, the more I think about it.

Indeed, the only thing that could keep Donald Trump from serving — God forbid — would be if he is sent to prison.

It’s not too much to ask to reserve the presidency and other high offices only for the best among us to run for them. When you think for just a moment about it, does the “best of us” include just those who haven’t been convicted of a felony?

I believe we could cast our net even farther than a felony conviction. I get that such a change might impinge on the notion that “anybody can be elected president.” Well, eliminating convicted felons from the candidate pool still leaves us with a huge field of hopefuls.

Fourth of July = more poignant

Quite naturally, we are now getting ready to celebrate the birth of our great nation while wondering and, yes, worrying about its future.

An election is coming up. Donald Trump reportedly is leading the two-man race for the White House. His campaign theme is a muddled mess, but millions of us have determined that one thing Trump wants to do is dismantle the democratic tradition that grants this country its greatness.

We had better pay attention to what might be transpiring in real time. Donald Trump plans to sic the Justice Department on his political foes. He will demand blind loyalty among those who serve him if hell freezes over and is elected POTUS. He said he would be a dictator on the opening day of his administration.

The nation’s founders, wherever they are, must be spinning in their graves.

Trump plans to cozy up to dictators, morons he calls “very strong leaders.” He is making broad promises he cannot possibly keep and is spouting lies he knows to be false.

Let us salute the wisdom our founders demonstrated in creating this nation. Their creation wasn’t perfect, but we have sought to improve through all those amendments to our Constitution, The founders knew that perfection was impossible to achieve, given their stated aim to form a “more perfect Union.”

State enacts illegal law

A one-time colleague of mine used to argue that the U.S. Constitution doesn’t declare a “separation of church and state.”

Yeah … I know, I would tell him. The point, though, is that the Constitution’s First Amendment is as clear as it gets on this point: Government must not impose religious doctrine.

Thus, Louisiana has enacted a law that is patently, explicitly and absolutely in violation of the Constitution. It should be repealed forthwith.

The state has declared that every public school classroom must contain a display of the Ten Commandments, or else! I presume the “or else” would result in a loss of funding from the state.

To no one’s surprise — certainly not mine — Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick declared that in the 2025 legislative session, he will work to enact a similar law in Texas. Given this state’s hard-right tilt, there will be no surprise when the Legislature approved it and Gov. Greg Abbott signs it into law.

The founders created a governing document that makes zero mention of religion. Not Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhist. Nothing, man. It’s a secular document, meaning that every citizen is free to follow whatever deity he or she chooses. Or follow none at all!

Why in the world cannot our government officials allow us just to worship God in church and leave our public institutions just the hell alone? That is what the founders intended!

Perfection: impossible to find

Those out there who seek to build the “perfect nation” in the mold, for instance, of the current Republican cult leader who’s heading for his party’s presidential nomination, need a serious lesson on what our founders intended for us.

These wise men knew from the outset that perfection was too steep a hill to climb. They wrote in the preamble to our cherished Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union … “

There you have it in the second clause of our nation’s government framework. They knew that perfection was out of their reach, and out of the reach of those who would follow.

Indeed, the founders — as learned as many of them were — enacted a Constitution that over time has proved to be far from perfect. The men who wrote it didn’t grant women the right to vote; that constitutional amendment didn’t come into being until 1920, for crying out loud!

They didn’t grant the rights of citizenship to Black people, who were still enslaved in 1789. Freedom from human bondage didn’t arrive until 1863 and then it took another century to enact legislation guaranteeing Black citizens the full rights of citizenship.

The issue for me is the tone of the rhetoric I hear from those on the far right, the MAGA cultists who don’t understand what the founders intended when they sought to create a “more perfect Union.” They knew from the outset what has been lost on too many Americans who march to the cadence dictated by their leader.

It is that those of us who love this country must also understand a fundamental truth about it. It isn’t perfect and we are unlikely ever to make it so.

Courts have become political

Our nation’s founders, the men who crafted a federal judiciary they intended to remain “above politics,” surely are doing somersaults in their graves.

The nation’s federal judiciary has become a third political branch of government, not a branch intended only to determine the constitutionality of laws enacted by Congress and signed by the president.

Democratic senators have signed a petition that aims to stop “judge shopping” by conservative activists seeking judges who they believe will rule in their favor. Of particular concern is the federal court based in Amarillo and which is presided over by U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, who was nominated for that seat by the 45th POTUS. Kacszmaryk succeeded a judicial legend in the Texas Panhandle, the late Mary Lou Robinson, of whom no one ever complained was being “too political” in her rulings.

Robinson was nominated by President Jimmy Carter in 1980 and served with distinction and high honor. Now comes Kaczmaryk, whom conservatives seek to overturn policies enacted by Democratic and progressive members of Congress and presidents.

Schumer, McConnell introduce judge shopping bills | The Texas Tribune

The founders couldn’t possibly have envisioned this kind of mess developing within a judicial system they created.

Founders weren’t ‘perfect’

Our nation’s Constitution has become the subject of considerable discussion in recent years as politicians seek ways to sidle up to what they believe the nation’s founders intended when they wrote it.

I never have considered myself to be a constitutional expert. However, I long ago appreciated the brilliant rhetoric the founders used to frame the document that has become the model for much of the rest of the world.

The Constitution’s very first sentence lays down the predicate for what has followed. The founders wrote: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union … “

We’ll stop there. You do realize, I hope, what I believe to be the three most critical words in our governing document: “more perfect Union.”

Our founders knew from the get-go that forming a “perfect Union” was way beyond their reach. They knew that perfection was unattainable.

I mean, we have amended the Constitution 27 times since its ratification in 1789. One of the amendments was enacted to overturn a previous amendment that turned out to be a monumental failure.

The 18th Amendment — ratified on Jan. 16, 1919 — sought to make the production, sale and consumption of liquor illegal. It didn’t take long for politicians to realize the mistake they made. On Dec. 5, 1933, Americans ratified the 21st Amendment, which repealed the 18th Amendment.

Where am I going with this? I am trying to understand what the founders intended  when –having won our nation’s independence after the Revolution — they crafted what I believe to be a “living document” that is subject to change, reform and improvement.

Indeed, the founders likely expected the Constitution to need improvement when they inserted the word “more” just ahead of “perfect” when they signed off on the greatest governing framework in world history.

Those who insist on following “original intent” so many years later, or proclaim themselves to be “constitutional conservatives,” should take heed of what I believe the founders intended.

What does “constitutional conservative’ mean?

Under normal circumstances, I would not blink at a campaign sign that proclaims a politician is running as a “constitutional conservative.”

The current political climate, though, is nothing approaching “normal.”

Suzanne Harp is running in the Republican Party as such a conservative seeking the nomination of her party for the Third Congressional District of North Texas.

What does the term mean these days? Well, I believe most adherents to the term “constitutional conservative” are wedded to the idiocy promoted by Donald J. Trump, who in my view wants to dismantle the Constitution by creating an authoritarian regime.

This bozo has yet to accept that Joe Biden defeated him in the 2020 presidential election. The peaceful transition of power has long been a signature hallmark of the U.S. system as a constitutional republic.

Trump and his followers, therefore, are anti-Constitution. I won’t even call them “conservatives,” because the traditional definition of the term connotes a belief in limited federal power. Trump is vowing to expand the federal law enforcement reach into areas where it doesn’t belong. He says President Biden has “weaponized” the Justice Department. What a crock of sh**! Trump wants to arm the DOJ to do his dirty work in seeking revenge against his political foes.

Therefore, when “constitutional conservatives” like Suzanne Harp make such a declaration, I am alarmed that her understanding of the term merely illustrates the perversion of long-standing political theory.

Ex-POTUS faces legal steamroller

My ego is in check, meaning that I am willing to acknowledge I am wrong far more frequently than I am right.

There. I’ve laid down my predicate for being able to boast just a little on something I said a while ago … which is that Donald Trump’s legal difficulties well might overwhelm his continuing campaign to become president once again.

Trump is facing the real prospect of being declared ineligible to run for president based on a clause in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Section 3 of the 14th Amendment says that no one who engages in an insurrection or gives “aid and comfort” to those who do is ineligible to seek public office.

Legal scholars on all sides are coming to the same conclusion: The amendment is clear, that Trump did seek to overthrow the government and he damn sure gave aid and comfort to the job that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

The amendment makes no stipulation that says an insurrectionist must be convicted of a crime, only that the he or she participated in the act.

Boy howdy! Trump damn sure did participate.

The 14th Amendment was enacted just after the Civil War. Its aim was to prevent states from seceding and declaring war against the government.

To be clear, this matter is far from settled. There have been lawsuits filed and myriad court battles loom. This matter could up in the laps of the U.S. Supreme Court. I won’t pretend to predict how the SCOTUS would rule on this case. Its members include three Trump nominated justices, along with three other conservatives.

One final note. The calls for disqualification are coming from conservative lawyers and assorted legal scholars along with progressives. Maybe the right-wingers out here among the masses can beat some sense into the skulls of the six conservatives on the nation’s highest court.

Donald Trump, to be abundantly clear, is now engaged in the fight of his life.  I don’t know what y’all might think, but from my North Texas perch, he is looking more and more like a goner.