I taught American Government for a couple of decades and always believed in the basic principles of our Constitutional democracy. That the founders feared power and they believed too much power would result in corruption. This fear led them to create a system that divided power into three governmental branches and assigned certain powers to each. It was assumed that protecting what was their own would cause each branch to check the power of the others while protecting its own.
While this system of “checks and balances” has never worked perfectly it has, for almost two and a half centuries, kept us a democratic nation and prevented the rise of a tyrannical dictatorship. The maintenance of democracy in America has, however, been under attack since Donald Trump took occupancy of the White House. Trump has increasingly used every means at his disposal to weaken the competing two branches while strengthing the power of the executive to levels never before seen. The current attempt to impeach and remove Trump fro43%m power is motivated in great part, to an attempt to restore a balance between the three branches.
The impeach Trump effort is not without controversy with a large minority of Americans still supporting the president and this is part of what makes me ask if America is doomed. Consider these facts and decide for yourself:
- Over 80 % of Republicans think Trump is doing a good job and continue to support him.
- Over 40% of Americans in general still support Trump.
- A significant minority of Americans are opposed to impeaching Trump in spite of his almost daily abuses of Constitutional law.
- The Christian right has abandoned its traditional moral compass in order to raise Trump to a demi-god status.
- A much too high percentage of Americans are today willing to ignore the wrongs of Russia and its dictator and support Trump’s frightful affinity for powerful dictators.
- 53% of today’s GOP consider Trump to be a greater president than Abraham Lincoln.
- And most frightening than any is the recent realization that 43% of Republicans support the idea that Trump could do a more effective job it the Congress and Courts didn’t exist. Said differently, they favor a dictatorship. At a 2017 Florida MAGA rally one Trump supporter said with pride that he would support a Trump dictatorship. He said, “I don’t care what he does,” Bill Moro told Jeb Lund. “I’m behind him 100 percent. Put it this way: If he became a dictator, and they said, ‘We want him in forever,’ he’s my man. He’s in. I’ll never vote against him … I love his power … It’s the power that does something to me.”
If all this doesn’t give you cause to fear for America’s future, you have accomplished this for sure. You’ve left me in total dismay.
In the late 1800s, Britain’s Lord Acton famously said, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” He also said, “Great men are almost always bad men…” Consider the man Trump was before taking office, one with a lifelong and family history of corruption. Then place that man in the nation’s most powerful job while turning your back on his doing any and all things to increase and consolidate that power, and as the graph at the top of this page denotes, how can we be confident about our future as a democracy?