With apologies to Abraham Lincoln, I am going to plagiarize, permute and adjust his Gettysburg Address to convey the depth of the breach President Donald Trump has created in the proper, legal, constitutional functioning of the government of the United States of America and the risk he poses to democracy worldwide.
“Twelve score and three years ago on the American continent a new country was created, conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all are created equal.
Now that country is engaged in a great clash based on its Constitution, testing whether such a country so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.
In the great halls of its Congress assembled, a seemingly petty, bickering, partisan battle-field has emerged where law, proper procedure and decorum should have prevailed.
We have become, perforce, witnesses to the onset of what may become known to history as the beginning of the path leading to the final resting place of the grand experiment in democratic, responsible and accountable governance which began those many years ago.
But, in a larger sense, the protagonists daily flooding the airwaves cannot dedicate, consecrate, nor hallow the domain of legal/constitutional battle they now convulse within, for that has been accomplished by their predecessors, far above the current lot’s poor power to add or detract.
The world will little note, nor long remember the details of the current clash, but it can never forget the tableaux being painted these days.
It is for us, all citizens, to be dedicated to the unfinished work thus far so nobly advanced. It is for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining – that a government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
All of this may seem maudlin and melodramatic, but consider a few factors. Someone as respected as Ralph Nader, whose whole life has been dedicated to strengthening the role of citizens in oversight of the government has stooped to jointly pen an article with someone as perfidious as Genocide-denying and legal defender of other Genocide deniers, Bruce Fein. The piece calls for numerous articles of impeachment against Trump, not just two. It also addresses what I have seen numerous times over the years – the tremendous growth in a sitting president’s power since the days of the founding of the American republic.
Many in the field of psychology questioned President Trump’s sanity from the moment he took office. Trump’s reckless tweets, inconsistent pronouncements, RAPID staff turnover and arrogant assertions of power led common citizens to believe what those mental health professionals asserted. You might remember for a while some people were even calling for his removal from office based on the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, incapacitation of a President.
Then there is the practical consideration of the degree of damage to the world a U.S. President can cause as the leader of the world’s largest economy, military and (at least for the time being) largest source of scientific and technical research, development and new product development. Here is also where the Armenian perspective comes into play. As fledgling democratic republics, Armenia and Artsakh, like the rest of the world, look to the U.S. as the foremost example of democratic development. Regardless of whether the U.S. is in a progressive or regressive point in its development, it remains the ground-breaker of democratic governance and the rule of law in modern times (it’s probably not helpful to discuss the Greeks, Code of Hammurabi or other older historical examples in this article).
Trump has held Congress in contempt, abused his power in multiple ways, disrupted international relations, caused much mayhem internally and internationally. He has acted in ways that some might find reminiscent of “Mad King George” – George III of Great Britain – from whom the American colonies broke away due to misrule. He has aroused and inflamed the worst of passions among citizens who would otherwise at least be able to talk with one another with a civil tone. At the very least, he has set a horrible example.
Thus it behooves us, whether as U.S. citizens or Armenians anywhere to support the persistence of the checks-and-balances of the American system. Even if you support or agree with Trump’s policies, as an Armenian, his rejection of the Genocide resolutions passed by Congress should drive you to reconsider that position.
President Donald Trump should be removed from office. The Senate of the United States should take its constitutional duties seriously and hold a proper trial of President Trump, rather than the sham that seems to be brewing. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has already declared that he, as the effective leader of the Senate, plans on running a biased and unfair trial. This is a dereliction of his constitutional duties, and history will no doubt judge him harshly for this.
But all of us, citizens and not, should encourage him and his 99 colleagues to act properly and help reaffirm the co-equality of the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. government
If we do not assert ourselves now, it is very easy to imagine a slow regression to the days when bloody tyrants (think Abdul Hamid II or Genghis Khan) ruled willfully and all but a very few people lived lives of misery and oppression.