by Evelyn Pyburn
What was behind the Donald Trump presidential victory? While pundits dissect, bisect and analyze every nuance of every issue and every demographic sector, wondering what they missed before, and are now hoping to get it right – there’s not a one who’s mentioned the real underlying theme of it all — the rule of law.
The election demonstrated that despite all the rhetoric and squabbles and minutia of issues and personalities, the America still stands for the rule of law. About this, the country is breathing a sigh of relief.
“Making America Great Again” was about adhering to the rule of law.
The surprise victory wasn’t about Donald Trump. It wasn’t about Hillary Clinton. It wasn’t about Barrack Obama, per se. It was Americans drawing a line in the sand and saying “we want a government of laws and not of men.”
That is in essence the meaning behind the pundits’ determination that the election was about the future appointments of Supreme Court Justices. At its root, the differences of opinion about justices, is whether the justices will be “activists” writing law at whim, or whether they will serve their traditional role of interpreting the US Constitution and the laws as duly passed by Congress.
So if the appointment of judges was what most motivated people to get to the polls, then that is to say that Donald Trump was elected by Constitutionalists- - by people who want our government to abide by the rule of law.
To the extent that the election was about the “repudiation” of President Obama’s policies – it is not about any specific policy or its philosophical premise, but about how it became law. Obama circumvented the rule of law – the Constitution – our system of government – and simply asserted his will – “with a pen and a telephone.”
Even the claim that the election was push-back by the American voters against the effort to “transform” America – is to say the voters were demanding a return to a government of laws. If Americans wanted “Hope and Change,” it was not a desire to abandon the rule of law.
Rather than go to Congress to hammer out an energy policy, Obama circumvented the Congress – the will of the people—and imposed his own energy agenda by blocking the Keystone Pipeline, despite the fact that the project had adhered to every aspect of the law.
Even Obamacare stands as a product that circumvented the rule of law. The shenanigans of Congress in passing it might well have been tolerated, but when a Supreme Court Justice decided that he could insert his will and rewrite the law in order to declare it Constitutional, all respect for that law and the Supreme Court Justice was lost.
The issue of the rule of law stands behind all of the issues that are bantered about as reasons for Trump’s election. All of the problems faced by the middle class are tied to government run-amuck, to executive orders that undermined job creation, livelihoods, economic security, health care, confidence, and joy.
Understand that Trump can blithely declare he will revoke each and every one of Obama’s executive orders, only because each of them exists in violation of the rule of law. Had any or all of those edicts been duly passed by Congress, the possibility of revoking them would not even have had occurred to Trump. And, if those were all acts of Congress, anyone’s promise to remove them would not have been heralded. Americans respect the rule of law, even when they don’t like the law. They would not have embraced somebody over-turning Congress, any more than they liked someone going around Congress.
But apparently there are those who do not like the rule of law, which is inexplicable. How can anyone who supposedly cares about the “little guy,” not know that nothing is more fundamental to the defense of every single individual in the country, as the adherence to the rule of law? How can they advocate for the upheaval, chaos, crime, and uncertainty that must ensue in the absence of the rule of law?
That Hillary Clinton escaped prosecution as a privileged elite under laws that were stringently imposed upon those of lesser status, escalated the public angst. It underscored the perception that the rule of law no longer prevails as a cornerstone of our government.
For those anxious about what Donald Trump might do as president, there is little reason for inordinate concern, so long as HE does not take up “the pen and the telephone” – so long as Congress plays the role it is supposed to play in providing a check on executive power. It was never intended that the president of the United States have so much power. The founders expected Congress to fulfill its role and defend its power. If there has been any failure in the system, it has been that of the US Congress.
For Americans to see their country reeling out of control, in directions never imagined, was disconcerting and caused many to question themselves. Are we a people who have so completely changed that we now embrace that which we stood against for hundreds of years? To believe that, was almost as unnerving as seeing the consequences of the president’s policies.
Before the election, Americans had begun to suffer a lack of confidence in their country and themselves. That is now gone. Americans needed to see Americans stand up for the rule of law. The confidence that that now brings will shape what comes next.