The Congress in its wisdom and understanding, has decided that spending nearly six billion dollars on a superfluous wall is inadvisable. President Trump disagrees. So much so that he deems such Congressional action as having triggered an emergency that forces him to declare an emergency so that he can build that superfluous wall. Perhaps the lack of such border "protection" DOES constitute an emergency of sorts, but it also poses a very interesting question. Does disagreeing with Presidential judgment constitute a sufficient emergency to obviate Congressional authority?
Now I'm sure the President and his merry band of fawning sycophants believe the issue of building a wall on our southern border is of sufficiently epic proportions as to justify the declaration of a national emergency, even if that means that the Congress of the United States becomes a vestigial part of the American government in the process. But President Trump's action in declaring a national emergency poses an even broader question, namely, can the President of the United States effectively run our government by emergency decree? In other words, has the President opened the door to the possibility that America might become a Presidential dictatorship?
There is no doubt that border security is important. Every country in the world regards its borders as sacred. But not every country feels it necessary to slap up a wall along every inch of its borders with other countries, especially not just to keep out criminals and terrorists but what some might call riff-raff as well. Because, when you get right down to it, isn't that what President Trump really wants to do, exclude people HE considers riff-raff? And if he can override the will of our elected representatives in Congress on THIS issue, how much further can his emergency powers extend?
Take, for instance, the issue of raising the debt ceiling. There is nothing more important than America's financial integrity. We need to pay what we owe. Failure to do so on our part would throw the international financial community into chaos. So let us say when the issue comes up, the Congress in its wisdom and understanding decides to vote to raise our debt ceiling. Let us further imagine that the President vehemently disagrees, citing America's out of control national debt. Would he be empowered to reverse the action of the United States Congress and freeze the debt ceiling where it is?
The real issue is that it is conceivable that some President at some point in the not too distant future can declare almost anything as a emergency and usurp the power not only of the Congress but possibly also the authority of the U.S. Supreme Court. Yes, today the President is citing the construction of a wall to secure our southern border, but where will it end tomorrow? Will the President be able to declare an electoral "emergency" and cancel the next election, in effect, making himself President for life? I know it sounds ludicrous. I know it's pushing a "what if" scenario far beyond anything we've ever imagined before. But that's just the point. This President has pushed the "norm" of Presidential conduct far beyond anything we've ever imagined before. So if a President can subvert the Constitution in order to build a superfluous wall, what makes anyone think that he would be restrained from pushing his executive emergency powers even further? And if it isn't THIS President, what will restrain future Presidents? The President's actions today will serve to set a precedent for every other President in the future, make no mistake about it!!
Perhaps I'm being an alarmist. Maybe I'm letting my imagination run away with me, dreaming up impossible scenarios just for the pure shock value. But if a President can use his emergency powers to undermine the authority of the Congress to control our government's purse strings, then a President can cite emergency after emergency to undermine the legitimacy of the Constitution itself. And if that's the case, what makes anyone think we can stop the President when he abuses such authority? If Donald Trump can get away with usurping even a tiny bit of Congressional authority today, what will there be to restrain him sometime in the not too distant future? Far-fetched? Perhaps. But at least it should give us something to contemplate!!,
Filed under: Politics