Democracy or fascism: America at a crossroads
During the 2016 presidential election campaign, Donald Trump often ridiculed the idea of a woman being commander-in-chief. He asserted that Hillary Clinton’s gender made her less effective than he as the defender against the nation’s enemies, both foreign and domestic. But after seeing Trump as potentially complicit in the Jan. 6 insurrection, it is inconceivable that anyone of any gender could be more unreliable than Trump as a defender of America’s democracy.
The most recent inquiry by the Congressional Jan. 6 Select Committee has revealed substantial testimony to establish that Trump has failed the primary responsibility of the president. Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution claims that the duty of the president is that “He shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”
This is a continuous and active responsibility. The president must be certain that his own conduct is lawful and that the conduct of others complies with the legal requirements, or they must face the consequences. Unfortunately, Trump has been derelict in both aspects of his presidential duties.
On Dec. 18, 2019, the House of Representatives impeached Trump on two articles, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Trump had tried to induce the president of Ukraine to develop a fraudulent investigation to discredit Trump’s Democratic political rivals. Trump survived impeachment by prevailing in the Senate, but his reputation was irreparably sullied.
Trump was impeached a second time on the charge of inciting an insurrection in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. He thus became the first president to be impeached twice. Fortunately for him, the U.S. Senate acquitted him, as allowed by the Constitution, on both occasions. The removal from office of a sitting president has been made difficult by the U.S. Constitution, thus making the vote of citizens the most approved method.
While a sitting president who survives impeachment can be accused of crimes, indictment on felonious charges is deferred until the president’s term in office is over. It would be impossible to function effectively as president of the nation while also being involved in a major personal lawsuit. But the House of Representatives has organized a select committee to investigate Trump’s involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection and riot. Now that Trump is out of office, appropriate prosecution could proceed.
That is not the only investigation underway. The U.S. Attorney General’s office has been conducting its own investigation. Citizens have limited information about the DOJ investigation because of its compliance with the requirement not to provide extensive information on potential indictments.
The primary prosecutor of Trump and his cohorts will be the DOJ. In addition to the evidence that the DOJ investigation will uncover, their cases will be bolstered by the work of the Jan. 6 Congressional committee. And most important of all, the televised Congressional inquiry has alerted the general public that the conduct of the Trump administration was at least questionable.
It has now become clear that Trump, while still president, failed to act to prevent revolutionaries from overthrowing the government. Trump had placed his own personal interests above his presidential duty to protect the nation against an invasion from those who had taken over the Capitol.
Public opinion in America is now divided. The issue is whether to support fascism or remain as patriot of a democratic republic. America’s future will depend on which path most citizens follow.