On the eve of the inauguration of Donald Trump, there is something I think Americans need to be reminded of before they spend the next four years frustrated, confused and angry.
The United States of America is not a monarchy. The United States of America is not a constitutional monarchy. The United States of America is a constitutional republic.
One may think that this is common knowledge and does not need to be stated. I disagree.
Pres. John F. Kennedy’s tenure was described by his wife, after the assassination, as Camelot.
The country ate it up. Kennedy was the valiant knight, shining briefly, the worshiped golden boy. His family was wealthy and influential. Their kingdom was politics. Dissent was not allowed. How did that work out for us? And yet, the myth won’t die.
There are many who view our politicians as being more important human beings than us here average people. They view politicians as rulers, rather than representatives. Politicians view themselves as being more important, as well. After they are elected to office, rather than realizing that they work for the people, they feel powerful in their role and decide that they should tell us how to live. Suddenly, they know better. For God’s sake, they are, after all, a Senator! Once they are in office they are treated as though they were royalty. People want to wine and dine them, curry their favor, have their pictures taken with them. These politicians are given special privileges, special treatment, and regardless of what kind of human being they are, we are told that we must respect them because we must respect the office. Bullshit. Politicians are human beings, no different than any other human being on this planet. They are not separate from the rest of us, no more important and no more deserving of respect than every other citizen. No matter the level of office they hold, every one of them should do nothing more than uphold individual and property rights. They can be leaders, but not rulers. There is a difference.
We should listen to those with great ideas and heed the advice of intelligent, experienced humans. Unfortunately, that description doesn’t apply to many of the elected officials of our time. Just listen to them as they state that they believe in climate change junk science or that an island might tip over because too much military equipment is on one end of it. How about the ‘we have to pass the bill to see what’s in it’ nonsense or the woman who doesn’t want to be called ma’am, because she wants to be addressed as Senator? Who ARE these people who think they are better than us little people?
It hasn’t been that long ago since we made the break from Great Britain. What an incredibly brave thing the Founders did: despite the Constitution’s shortcomings, it was the first time a government had been implemented based on the idea that all men are created equal and had individual rights. Equal. Individual Rights. What a crazy idea! Ben Franklin knew it was going to be a tough ideology to maintain when he said we had a republic…if we could keep it. Even John Adams, the second President, had a hard time dispensing with the idea of royalty. He wanted to be called ‘His Majesty, the President,’ or ‘His Highness.’ We are still having trouble separating ourselves from the idea of royalty and understanding who we are as Americans.
I know that many believe having Donald Trump in the White House is going to cure our country of a host of ills. Everything from health insurance and jobs, to the wait times at the VA hospitals. Will he make my coffee for me in the morning, too? When Obama was elected, Republicans cringed when his supporters danced in the streets because they believed Obama was going to magically make their lives great. Well, my fellow Americans, please don’t believe that Trump will make things great and that all your frustrations may now be laid to rest. He is not the King. He is not God. He is not Midas. He is a man who has been elected President. His feet need to be held to the fire, as well as every member of Congress. As American citizens, that is our job. Rational dissent is necessary. Because we hold in our hands the most incredible country in the history of mankind. Because we are a constitutional republic. Because we are not a monarchy.