United States Of Common Sense

The Deep State Is Killing American Democracy

President Trump Delivers Remarks On Tax Reform
The New York Times Building
The New York Times Building
| Photo: James Faddis | Deep State, The Swamp, New York Times, Trump , Democracy,

The Resistance Is Undermining Power Of The People And Rule Of Law

Ever since Donald Trump began his run for the White House he has been pushing the themes of the "Deep State" and "The Swamp", euphemisms for a Washington that no longer responds to the will of the people. As Trump tells it this is an unelected 4th branch of government, found nowhere in the Founder's conception of our republic, which believes it has the power and the mandate to tell us how to live our lives, how to spend our money and how to think. It must be vanquished, and we must take back control of a government that derives its only power from us the people.

For just as long, opponents of Candidate and now President Trump have derided this rhetoric as delusional and without substance. Trump, the deranged, is conjuring boogiemen. He is rabble rousing. He is out of control, out of his mind and spinning fantasies for partisan political advantage. There is no "Swamp" except in the mind of a man unfit to be President.

The New York Times, that bastion of journalistic integrity which seemingly reserves most of the space above the fold on its front page every day for "Trump Is Bad" stories, has led the charge in this regard. There is no Deep State. It is all a lie. Nothing to see here.

Until yesterday. That's when the New York Times, abruptly and without any segue whatsoever, shifted from denying the existence of the Deep State to championing it. Suddenly, the Times, via an anonymous opinion piece attributed only to a "senior administration official", informed us of the existence of what we are to understand is a broad-based resistance movement inside the Executive Branch dedicated to the obstruction of the policies and lawful orders of a duly elected President of the United States. These individuals, all legally bound to follow the orders of the Commander and Chief, have decided nonetheless to grant unto themselves the power to ignore those orders and to steer a course that they believe is better for the nation and the people of the United States.

Let that sink in for a minute. Because regardless of your political affiliation that prospect ought to terrify you. This is how republics die.

The Constitution of the United States, the amendments thereto and the accompanying Bill of Rights represent in their entirety a remarkably fine-tuned system of checks and balances. Nowhere is this more evident than in regard to the authority of the President. The men who built this system after all had just fought a long and very bloody battle against tyranny and oppression.

It is not simply that the President must be popularly elected. His power once in office is carefully circumscribed. For most purposes he must have the support of the Legislative Branch, itself divided into two houses elected according to different criteria. All his actions are subject to judicial review by a system of federal courts including a Supreme Court over which the President has essentially no authority other than to make periodic appointments. All of these disparate, interlocking elements of the federal government are limited by the terms of a written Constitution and a Bill of Rights, which reserves unto the people absolute, unalienable rights, which may not be abridged. In the event the President's conduct becomes intolerable, he can be impeached and removed from office short of the expiration of his term

Yet, nowhere in this carefully constructed system of limited government is there any reservation of power to unelected bureaucrats to simply decide to take the law into their own hands. Nowhere is there even a hint of a reservation of power to a federal civil servant to refuse lawful orders, to unilaterally make policy or to subvert the actions of the Executive Branch. For a federal employee to presume to act thus therefore is manifestly, not simply illegal, but unconstitutional.

That is, however, perhaps not the worst aspect of this so-called resistance. In actively working contrary to the orders of the duly elected President of the United States, these individuals are not simply taking the law into their own hands, they are acting directly against the people of the United States and challenging the democratic principles on which this republic is based.

People have had governments of some kind for millennia. They have been based on all kinds of principle, divine right, class distinction, religion and ideology. Ours has been based from the outset on the principle that power derives from the people. The government has no power other than what we give it. The Bill of Rights is called that for a reason. These are not privileges granted to us by the government. These are rights, which we the people specifically reserved to ourselves when be banded together to form this nation in the first place.

In this context, what the author of the New York Times article is describing is in effect a coup against not just this President but against the will of the people of these United States. Trump is the duly elected President. He is pursuing policies that are completely in line with what he said while campaigning. He is doing what the people of the United States, in a free and fair election, elected him to do.

To obstruct those actions, therefore, is not simply unconstitutional, it is anti-democratic. It is, of necessity, based on the belief that a certain class of individuals, self-identified as somehow more enlightened, more knowledgeable and worthier than we, the great unwashed, can decide for themselves what policies should be pursued and what laws should be enforced.

In 2014 Kim Davis, the county clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky announced that she intended to defy a US District Court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Ms. Davis justified this refusal on the basis that she had personal religious objections to gay marriage. In short, she did not deny knowing what the law was, but she argued that her personal belief in the justice of her own beliefs granted to her the right to break the law, disobey a judicial order and act in accordance with her perception of the greater good. Ms. Davis was jailed for contempt and ultimately released only on the condition that she would not obstruct the issuance of same-sex marriage license, which had begun during her incarceration.

With all due respect to the personal religious beliefs of Ms. Davis, her jailing was unquestionably justified. A government in which the lawful actions of public servants can be ignored or obstructed based on personal interpretations of justice and morality is no longer a democracy. It is on its way to tyranny.

What has separated this great nation from the banana republics and dictatorships of the world since its inception has been the rule of the law, law based on the Constitution and on the bedrock principle that all power derives from the people. No man has the authority to place himself above that. No party has the power to place itself above that. And, no self-important class of government bureaucrats, no matter how convinced of its infallibility and superiority, has that power either.

I don't want to be "saved" by the "resistance". They don't represent salvation. They represent slavery and the end of the world's great experiment with democratic rule.

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Updated Sep 20, 2018 11:01 AM EDT | More details

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