Ci­ti­zens have the right to be opin­ion­ated, dis­re­spect au­thor­ity: The Con­sti­tu­tion says so

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum - Kent Smith, Wal­dorf

Ms. Hawkins (in her let­ter to the ed­i­tor in the Mary­land In­de­pen­dent, July 21) may have missed sev­eral dis­cus­sions in her Amer­i­can His­tory class. We, the ci­ti­zens of the United States and our press reg­u­larly re­vile ev­ery pres­i­dent we have ever had, start­ing with Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton. We have al­ways been opin­ion­ated and of­ten dis­re­spect­ful of au­thor­ity, if not down­right hos­tile. It’s part of the First Amend­ment free­dom of be­ing an Amer­i­can.

We don’t have to go back 100 years to find ex­am­ples. FDR and Tru­man were fre­quently bashed. Jimmy Carter, Ge­orge Bush and Bill Clin­ton were roasted.

Ms. Hawkins de­mands that it is time we re­spected Mr. Trump and his pres­i­dency and stop bash­ing him. But it was Mr. Trump and his fol­low­ers who led the charge against Mr. Obama (We’ve seen the birth cer­tifi­cate. What is hid­ing in Mr. Trumps tax re­turns?). It seems fair­ness and ci­vil­ity go only in one di­rec­tion for the fol­low­ers of Mr. Trump.

Repub­li­cans now con­trol the Pres­i­dency, Congress and the Supreme Court. They have a mas­sive me­dia pres­ence to pro­tect them and tell their stor y. They have end­less fund­ing from Amer­i­can su­per-rich and their lob­by­ists. The Democrats have no real power. None. The Repub­li­cans are in ab­so­lute con­trol, and if they don’t get any­thing done, or if they get it wrong, it is on them. All the blame shift­ing in the world will not change that ba­sic fact.

I choose not to dis­pute Ms. Hawkin’s list of Mr. Trump’s ac­com­plish­ments. Time will tell. I will note that the jobs at the Car­rier plant in In­di­ana he saved early in his Pres­i­dency have been “un­saved.” And so it goes through­out so many of his “ac­tions.” Things are not al­ways what they ap­pear to be, de­spite ag­gres­sive spin­ning.

What we do get, how­ever, is the rolling de­struc­tion of many of our in­sti­tu­tions and ways of con­duct­ing gov­ern­ment. I won’t dis­pute that we may have needed some dras­tic changes, but the con­tin­u­ing dis­re­gard for prece­dent, prin­ci­ples and long-stand­ing prac­tices that have served us well is not a con­ser­va­tive ap­proach.

Nor is the ut­ter dis­dain for moral­ity. As a Chris­tian, I have trou­ble with adul­ter­ers, for­ni­ca­tors, abusers, thieves, liars and other com­mand­ment break­ers as rulers. I re­al­ize that God is the judge, but I do not un­der­stand the idol wor­ship of Mr. Trump by some in the Chris­tian com­mu­nity. When the wicked rule, the peo­ple mourn.

A free and demo­cratic so­ci­ety must be based on re­spect for others, a will­ing­ness to see their point of view, and the abil­ity to find rea­son­able com­pro­mise. Di­vi­sive­ness, ha­tred and in­tol­er­ance will not build a great na­tion. I be­lieve that God will hum­ble the proud and un­re­pen­tant, and those who wor­ship money and power will be laid low.

Mr. Trump’s first re­spon­si­bil­ity is to pro­tect the peo­ple of the United States and its Con­sti­tu­tion, not to en­rich him­self or as­sist our en­e­mies. I am trou­bled by rea­son­able ev­i­dence — de­rived from the mouths of Mr. Trump’s fam­ily — that the Trump fi­nan­cial em­pire has been, for some time, bol­stered by Rus­sian money ul­ti­mately con­trolled by the Rus­sian gov­ern­ment. I am ab­so­lutely cer­tain that Mr. Putin and his bil­lion­aire oli­garchs do not have our best in­ter­ests in mind. I do not un­der­stand the ef­forts of Mr. Trump, his fam­ily and his as­so­ciates to please ev­ery wish of Mr. Putin, and to hin­der ev­ery ef­fort to get at the truth of Rus­sian in­volve­ment in our po­lit­i­cal pro­cesses. Amer­ica comes first.

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