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November 22, 2018


Madison and Jefferson were post-Enlightenment thinkers who were well acquainted with classic Greek literature and the Athenian experience with democracy, a form of self-governance theretofore unknown in a world of one man kings, emperors and other types of strongman rule. Greeks (though excluding women and slaves) met together and decided how they would govern themselves, a new experience in civic freedom as well as civic responsibility.

Their democracy failed after only 169 years due to internal fighting between its city-states, making them easy prey for Roman legions, perhaps giving us a template for understanding that our democracy under King Trump’s leadership with its internal discord is weakening us and may be making us easy prey to present day Roman (Russian/Chinese) legions and the end of our 229 year-old democracy, especially a concern what with King Trump’s easy rapport with present day “Roman leaders” such as Putin, Kim and others lying in wait for us to lose our democracy and collapse from within.

Madison and Jefferson made the jump from colonial status under a dictatorial King George after the Revolution to a form of Athenian democracy, a huge leap from subservience to the Crown to becoming masters of their own fate, and set about establishing a framework within which to have citizens take charge of their own governance via a governing document – our Constitution. They set about establishing a division of powers of government and hit upon a tripartite separation of powers into three independent and coequal branches, the legislative, executive and judicial.

The idea was that each such branch by its assignment and carrying out of its constitutional powers would act as a counterbalance to possible excesses of the other two, and that each would zealously guard against erosion of its own powers from incursion or takeover by either or both of the other two. We have a serious problem in this connection today because Trump is clearly trying to expand the constitutional powers given to the executive to encompass both of the other two supposedly independent and coequal branches of government.

He has largely succeeded in cowing Republican leadership in the Senate and House, substituting executive orders for legislation, and with his threats and intimidation is trying to remake the judiciary a subset of the executive as well. Yesterday the Chief Justice of the United States called him out for threatening to end the independence of the judiciary branch, and in true authoritarian fashion, Trump told the Chief Justice that the court system did in fact have “Obama judges,” a “disgraceful” Ninth Circuit Court etc. (Admission – I am a member of the Ninth Circuit bar, have won and lost cases in that court, and its judges are not disgraces. I resigned from the Supreme Court bar after Bush v. Gore.)

All is not lost – yet. I think we have not heard the last from the Chief Justice and come January Herr Trump won’t have a cowed House, and it may be that the Mueller and SDNY investigations along with House hearings will result in impeachment of Trump and his possible indictment along with the racketeers and Russian agents in his inner circle. Our task > Keep our teetering experiment of democracy afloat until then.

King George is back, and his name is Donald James Trump.     GERALD         E






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One Comment
  1. Niel Johnson permalink

    Jerry – Your blog on “King George” was on the mark as usual.  I would call it an outburst of vision and wisdom, which we will never get from our pretend President   Well, next January we will begin to see some re-balancing of a system that is our of kilter, and would be even worse if John McCain had not turned thumbs down to a Trump-led attempt to destroy the Affordable Care Act.  Obama, by the way, said let them call it Obama Care, because I do care.  That is something we won’t hear from Trump, except for him to care about himself first and foremost.  For him, “America First” really means Trump First.  It would be better if we didn’t have to wait two years for the next election and could depose him earlier by impeachment.      Niel

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