Columnist Karen Gardner: King Donald?

  • President Donald Trump talks with reporters before departing on Marine One for the Air Force Academy graduation ceremony, Thursday, May 30, in Washington. AP photo

Published: 6/11/2019 9:00:23 PM

I’m sitting outside as I write this, enjoying the intense blue sky and temps in the high 70s. There’s a gentle, lilac-infused breeze moving through the oak leaves above my head on this perfect late spring day, one I’ve been hoping for all through May.

I’m thinking, wouldn’t it be nice if I could just sit here and write about the caress of the breeze and the sound of the black throated blue warbler that has been singing for weeks in the woods around my house, but refuses to be seen?

But, no, I can’t. It’s the utter chaos, the craziness, the lawlessness of the current president and his administration that has left me in a perpetual state of horror and disbelief. I am constantly asking myself, did the president really just say/tweet that? Did he just lie so blatantly?

Did the president just tweet (the only way he knows to communicate with us, often with misspellings) that the moon is part of Mars? He shows the most incredible ignorance and misunderstanding of nearly every aspect of our lives and frighteningly, has the power to destroy it all.

Under this president the Supreme Court has become an ideological vessel for the right-wing conservative movement. And because of that, nine states have passed draconian, unconstitutional anti-abortion laws that they hope will be upheld thanks to the two new Trump-nominated justices. One of whom, Brett Kavanaugh, known for his angry, privileged white man performance at his confirmation hearings, will now likely be the deciding vote on whether a woman has the right to control her own body.

Speaking of abortion, try to wrap your brain around this: Conservatives wish to overturn Roe v Wade and make abortion illegal again. At the same time, they have been whittling away at the Affordable Care Act’s benefit that makes birth control free to all who require it. We all know that humans will have sex no matter the consequences, so in the future women will be unable to prevent a pregnancy or to safely, legally end one, even in the case of rape or incest.

And once women have those babies, there will be little government funded assistance for them or their children because the president and Republicans wish to kill the ACA and Medicaid and cut other programs like WIC and SNAP that support low-income families.

A slight aside here, but did you know that as part of the mating ritual, the female seahorse deposits her eggs into a pouch on the male seahorse’s belly and there they remain until they hatch? Let’s just contemplate that for a moment… if men were the fetus-carrying members of our species instead of women, abortion would most certainly be legal and cost-free. Men would never tolerate being told what they can or cannot do with their bodies. Just saying.

Back to the breathtaking lawlessness of this president. He has made it quite clear that no one in his administration, currently or formerly, should comply with subpoenas issued by Congress. What? Not comply? Did the president, who has sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution, just tell his people they can break the law? Yes. He did. Full stop.

Unfortunately, it’s also quite clear that the president has not read the Constitution; rather he acts like he’s been elected king and can do whatever he wishes. The framers of the Constitution designed a system of checks and balances by creating three co-equal branches of government. Co-equal, each with its own powers to check the others. The legislative branch — Congress— was given the power to create our laws, but also to check the power of the president, who leads the executive branch.

And Congress does that by holding hearings, conducting investigations, issuing subpoenas for testimony and documents, and by removing the president should impeachment be warranted. As an example, the House Ways and Means committee issued a subpoena for the IRS and Justice Department to turn over six years of the president’s tax returns under a long-standing law that says it has the legal right to do so. But the Justice Department has simply decided not to comply.

When a committee of Congress subpoenas the Justice Department to turn over information, it just can’t say, “nah, no thanks.” It is lawless to do so. Congress has the right to request this information and the law is on its side.

Let’s be clear here. Our system of governance only works because everyone agrees that it will. When a president decides otherwise, he can and is, slowly destroying that which has worked so well for 243 years!

And yes, the courts will likely be the ultimate deciders of who gets to see what, but that could take months if not years. And if any of these cases ends up at the Supreme Court, my guess is that the conservative majority will side with the president regardless of whether it’s constitutional or not.

Just recently the court heard arguments in a case on the constitutionality of a citizenship question the government wants to add to the U.S. Census questionnaire. Despite the testimony of expert witnesses citing Census Bureau research that adding the question will result in an unconscionable reduction of federal funding to minority communities, as well as an increase in gerrymandered districting, they seemed to pay more attention to the government’s far-fetched argument that it will improve enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. That would be the law that ensures that people of color have the same access to voting that whites have always had.

In this administration, up is down and down is up. Should the president be impeached for his obstruction of justice and lawlessness? I think yes, but one thing is for sure, he must be soundly beaten in the coming 2020 election in so great a landslide that there can be no doubt as to the will of the people. Our very democracy depends on it!

Karen Gardner, of Haydenville, a retired computer programmer, is a bird watcher, nature photographer and ukulele player. She can be reached at opinion@gazettenet.com.


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