A les­son from ‘The Crown’

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - Cal Thomas

There is a telling scene in Season 3 of the Net­flix drama “The Crown” about the reign of Queen El­iz­a­beth II that can in­struct con­tem­po­rary Amer­ica about Democrats’ at­tempt to im­peach Pres­i­dent Trump.

The episode is ti­tled “Coup.” Harold Wil­son is prime min­is­ter of Bri­tain. He has just de­val­ued the Bri­tish pound and a bad econ­omy has pro­voked street demon­stra­tors to call for his re­moval from of­fice.

A ca­bal en­sues, led by Ce­cil King, the ed­i­tor of the oth­er­wise pro-Labour Party news­pa­per, the Daily Mir­ror. The plot­ters select Lord Mount­bat­ten as the one they wish to re­place Wil­son.

Wil­son hears about the coup at­tempt and calls the Queen be­fore the plot­ters can get to her. She then in­vites Mount­bat­ten to Buck­ing­ham Palace where she ad­mon­ishes her se­cond cousin af­ter which the fol­low­ing ex­change takes place:

Mount­bat­ten: “Why would you pro­tect a man like Wil­son?”

The Queen: “I am pro­tect­ing the prime min­is­ter. I am pro­tect­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion. I am pro­tect­ing democ­racy.”

Mount­bat­ten: “But if the man at the heart of that democ­racy threat­ens to de­stroy it, are we sup­posed to just stand by and do noth­ing?”

The Queen: Yes. Do­ing noth­ing is ex­actly what we do and bide our time and wait for the peo­ple who voted him in to vote him out again if, in­deed that is what they de­cide to do.”

Mount­bat­ten de­cides not to pro­ceed. Whether this scene is ac­cu­rate, or not (and much of the se­ries claims fidelity to his­tory), it makes a point Amer­i­cans should take to heart. Pres­i­dent Trump won the 2016 elec­tion in spite of many ob­sta­cles, in­clud­ing united me­dia op­po­si­tion, med­dling by Rus­sia and cor­rupt el­e­ments in Ukraine, which sought to tilt the U.S. elec­tion in fa­vor of Hil­lary Clin­ton.

Un­like 1968 when the econ­omy was bad in Bri­tain, the U.S. econ­omy now is boom­ing and con­sumer con­fi­dence is high. The im­peach­ment hear­ings ex­posed dis­agree­ments over for­eign pol­icy, for­eign pol­icy the pres­i­dent has a right to make. They re­vealed a le­git­i­mate con­cern by the pres­i­dent that U.S. aid would go down a cor­rup­tion rab­bit hole, some­thing the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion had been con­cerned about be­cause it re­fused to send lethal aid to Ukraine “fear­ing that it would only es­ca­late the blood­shed and give Pres­i­dent Vladimir V. Putin of Rus­sia a pre­text for fur­ther in­cur­sions.”

It ap­pears that Trump also wanted the new lead­er­ship in Ukraine to in­ves­ti­gate the ac­tiv­i­ties of former Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den and his son, Hunter in Ukraine, and whether they had be­come tainted, some­thing the Amer­i­can me­dia and Pres­i­dent Obama’s Jus­tice Depart­ment failed to do.

If ar­ti­cles of im­peach­ment are passed by the House, it could take the Se­nate at least un­til the be­gin­ning of pri­mary elec­tion season in Fe­bru­ary to hold a trial. The process might drag on even fur­ther should Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell de­cide to do so, and Repub­li­cans call wit­nesses of their own, in­clud­ing the Bi­dens.

While im­peach­ment is a con­sti­tu­tional process, democ­racy is a greater one. The phrase “We the peo­ple” in the Pre­am­ble

was crit­i­cal to the Founders. It sep­a­rated Amer­ica from the no­tion that the state and its leader, whether kings, queens, or dic­ta­tors, and tes­ti­mony from un­elected bu­reau­crats is supreme.

It says the peo­ple pos­sess ul­ti­mate power.

That is why it should be up to vot­ers this close to the next elec­tion. Wait for the peo­ple who voted Trump in ei­ther to re-elect him or vote him out. Im­peach­ing him will likely alien­ate half the coun­try and could dam­age faith in our elec­toral process.

If Democrats are right in their an­tipa­thy to­ward the pres­i­dent and if they can sell their ver­sion of facts to vot­ers, they should try to do so. That is the best way to pro­tect both our Con­sti­tu­tion and our democ­racy.

Long live the Queen!

Cal Thomas, Amer­ica’s most­syn­di­cated colum­nist, is the au­thor of 10 books.

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