“We the people of the United States, in order to establish a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
With that concise preamble declaration, our young nation transitioned from the Articles of Confederation to the U.S. Constitution. Truly, three key phrases project the document’s heart:
- • “We the people…”
- • “…to establish a more perfect Union”
- • “… and secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”
It’s recorded that Ben Franklin was asked at the 1787 Constitutional Convention: “Doctor what have we got? A Republic or a Monarchy?” While there are several variations of his response, the generally accepted version is “A Republic, if you can keep it.”
Indeed, our Republic was born. That’s not to say that our ship of state hasn’t sailed through some menacing storms. From a historical viewpoint, we’ve weathered several. Three in particular have threatened the very existence of the Republic that Ben Franklin helped to create for us.
The first serious danger was the Civil War (1861-1865). There are ample written accounts about this tragic chapter in U.S. history. It’s included here only as a reminder that at that time, our United States of America came close to being disunited.
Undeniably, the loss of human life represents a very sad point in our nation. Indeed, President Lincoln was inspired by that fact when he wrote his Gettysburg address:
“…“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth in this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.
… that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
The second major threat that struck at our country’s core was World War II. In terms of loss of lives and treasure, it represents a period as grave as the Civil War. By the time the U.S. entered the war in 1941, it found itself involved in a two-front war: (l) combatting an aggressive monarchy in the Pacific Theater, and (2) fighting an equally brutal dictatorship in Europe.
As during the Civil War, we defended our democracy once more. Notably, historians credit the U.S. as the deciding factor in the war against tyranny.
As President Lincoln, President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) showed himself to be a superb leader during simultaneous economic and wartime crises. Most memorable are his regular radio fireside chats that calmed U.S. citizens’ fears.
Before discussing the third threat, the following brief summary covers what’s at stake:
A. To prevent a dictatorship, a fail-safe system is interwoven in our democratic system called separation-of-powers.
B. Power is shared within three branches of government (executive, legislative, and judiciary).
C. A checks-and-balances feature grants each branch the authority to limit the other two branches.
That brings us to 2016 and the third major threat. From the moment that year’s presidential election results were announced, our nation began to lose its reputation as the world’s role-model democracy.
First, a flamboyant former TV reality show host and self-described businessman with a blemished business record, drew enough Electoral College votes to win the presidency. Yet, he lost the popular vote by more than three million votes.
Second, he proved to be the direct opposite of both Presidents Lincoln and FDR. Equally problematic, our allies were shocked when the president boasted that dictators liked him and that he got along better with them than with leaders of the free world.
Incredibly, he says he doesn’t know why it’s a bad idea to admire tyrants and actively seek support from white supremacy, neo-Nazi, and similar radical groups.
He began his four-year term touting a terrible tone. As with his campaign, he ruthlessly resumed assaulting ethnic/racial minority people. It was quickly evident that under his direction, the Stars-and-Stripes no longer sparkled with liberty and justice for all.
Disregarding established government norms, he capriciously fired career federal servants for refusing his unethical demands. Then, following his totalitarian tendencies, he installed replacements who first had to swear absolute loyalty to him alone.
Pursuing a tyrannical trajectory, he was in the process of changing the separation-of-powers framework, whereby he could control the other two government branches.
Alas, concerned citizens soon learned that the winner:
- • Was attacking the very heart of the republic he swore an oath to protect;
- • Claimed to support law and order, but breaks the law at will; still encourages his followers to engage in lawless, treasonous behavior;
- • Has fooled some of the people into believing he’s a Christian, but habitually mocks Christianity, often in most immoral ways; and
- • Continues to disparage U.S. citizens’ constitutional right of a free press.
Displaying such conduct unbecoming a U.S. president, the start of the COVID-19 pandemic was the last straw for citizens. For the first time in history, the commander-in-chief was AWOL, depriving the country of a national strategy to tackle the deadly crisis.
Unlike FDR’s famous “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”, the current president uses fear to divide our national family. Most damaging, he willingly promotes pandemic disinformation. Concerned medical experts say that the president’s falsehoods have led to the astronomical rise in U.S. cases and deaths.
Hence, the question was: Would voters re-elect or replace him? Choosing the latter, over 81 million voters elected a new president. Amidst the virus crisis, citizens weren’t intimidated by several voter-suppression actions taken by intolerant state governors/legislatures.
Voters turned out in record numbers, with a seven million-plus margin. Moreover, he again lost the popular vote.
When voting was done, the Department of Homeland Security and independent election observers called the 2020 presidential election “the most secure in U.S. history”.
Were there lessons learned? Yes:
- 1. Voters relearned a basic fact — a candidate’s character counts.
- 2. Appallingly, the outgoing president leaves office without understanding the meaning of filling the highest office in the land.
- 3. Just because someone says they’re a business person doesn’t mean they’re good at it. Besides, while business practices can and are used in government operations, government is not a business run by the whims of a self-indulgent CEO.
- 4. Voters must reject future candidates who rely on fear and divisive language to get votes.
Finally, as one senior party member sadly stated: “It is madness”. With unbound disobedience to the law, the current president passed up his last chance to redeem himself. He spent his last days in office irrationally disputing election results. Ironically, he complains about losing the presidency, but refuses to be presidential.
For anyone still supporting this dangerously destructive dysfunctional administration, replay the videotapes and put his term-in-office to the test. Since most of his immoral decisions and abundant authoritarian aspirations are well-documented, it isn’t hard to do.
His catastrophic COVID-19 non-response, removing immigrant children from their mothers, imprisoning sanctuary-seeking families in cages, and similar misdeeds is overwhelming evidence. Undoubtedly, historians will be compelled to rate the 2016 presidential race winner a failed president.
In summary, the 2020 presidential election was not about Democrats versus Republicans. In fact, the Democratic candidate’s victory was won with significant support from patriotic Republican voters who put country first and voted for a new bright beginning.
The bottom line? If you asked the President-elect what his victory means to him, his response would be guided by Ben Franklin: “We have a Republic, where it is “We the People” who rule”.