Americans Must Seize The Initiative The Constitution Requires

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Alan Keyes Former Assistant Secretary of State
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I have, over the years, rarely been able to disagree with Thomas Sowell. That’s because I do my best to respect the discipline of reason, which reflects the orderly provisions of God for His Creation, known also as the natural law. Mr. Sowell is one of the few people I know who has invariably observed that discipline, even when he writes about politics. He gives a clear, honest assessment of people, events and possibilities, based on an unflinching analysis of facts and experience. When he makes judgments about good and bad, right and wrong he never fails to make clear the premises on which he bases those judgments. He never allows wishful thinking, fond hopes or even fervent prayers to interfere with his vocation honestly to present a rational analysis.

With this in kind you can understand why his recent article on the prospects for the Presidential election in November arrested my attention. Its title, “Grim Choices,” accurately conveys his view of those prospects: “We must frankly face the fact that the front runners in both political parties represent a new low, at a time of domestic polarization and unprecedented nuclear dangers internationally. This year’s general election will offer a choice between a thoroughly corrupt liar and an utterly irresponsible egomaniac.”

In his article, Mr. Sowell deals with the “lesser of evils” argument commonly made for Trump (except by the mesmerized, who may agree with Trump himself, that he probably never does anything that requires God’s forgiveness): “He may well be the proverbial ‘lesser of the two evils’ … and yet be the more dangerous President to have in the White House.” Put simply, Mr. Sowell thinks Trump doesn’t have “the finesse or depth to steer through troubled international waters that include a nuclear Iran and a nuclear North Korea.”

As I would have expected from him, Thomas Sowell is not willing to pretend that victory or defeat for the GOP can be a conscientious voter’s paramount concern. So he writes: “Those of us who are far more concerned about the fate of this country than about the fate of the Republican party face a far tougher question than how to get through this year’s election.” Yet he calls the possibility of a third-party candidate a “desperate choice” with “virtually no chance of electing its candidate.” The best it could do is “throw the election of the President of the United States into the House of Representatives. No one knows who would then become President. But it would be hard to find someone worse than either Hillary or Trump.”

Mr. Sowell concludes with the observation that “the very fact that we are left with such desperate options is … a painful revelation about the voting public.” He suggests that they have become a “people who cannot be bothered to look up from their electronic devices” and he bluntly asks how they can “expect to remain a free people.” 

Are the poor alternatives being offered by the so called Democratic and Republican parties evidence of the fact that the American people are no longer fit to govern themselves? I must admit that I also see evidence of this possibility every day — at least partly because the writing I do involves thinking about and interacting with people who use those electronic devices. Many who support Trump are accepting the lately fabricated persona he is projecting as a candidate, despite the fact that the evidence of his life and career reveal it to be thoroughly fictional. It’s as if the habit of “suspending disbelief” developed over years of watching TV shows and movies leads them to accept the show he’s putting on without question, even when palpable facts, expedient plot reversals and evident fictions confront them with its true character (or lack thereof).

So this son of a father worth hundreds of millions is portrayed as a truck-driving everyman. A man who he parlayed his inherited wealth into super-wealth by gaming governmental and political processes deeply corrupted by money and the ruthless ambition for power is portrayed as a battling opponent of the corrupt influences he has used and represented throughout his business career. Though this claim cannot be remotely credible unless he has repented of his contribution to the mess he now decries, he boldly asserts the he never sins and thus has no need to repent or conscientiously seek forgiveness.

Donald Trump is a con artist; a fraud who practically announces himself as such. He has condescended to clothe himself in a political version of “working class chic,” complete with sick insults and vulgarities that would have earned me a stiff beating from my working class father (a career Army NCO). Like most self-fabricated, callous-free working class stiffs, Trump makes a mockery of those who have really had to work for a living, by portraying a caricature of what the “glamor of evil” leisure class thinks “they” are supposed to be like. But in reality Trump has made his living off of the iniquitous exploitation of working and middle class marks, who can’t resist the temptation to “prove” that they are the ones who will beat the house. 

Such people helped Trump amass a fortune in their hard earned dollars, in casino ventures that made suckers of everyone but Donald Trump. Now that same mentality may actually be the dubious logic that drives his supporters. Trump’s campaign patter basically offers a “get great quick” scheme for the whole United States. Moreover, he also promises to make sure “they” get their own back (neglecting to let on that he was a chief among those who took it in the first place.) Somewhere in their subconscious the common sense of his listeners may tell them that his real background contradicts the persona being projected in his campaign. But they can’t resist the temptation to “throw the dice” and gamble that he will “come in” as the representative of right, rightful liberty and the Constitution their basically decent hearts long to elect.

Conservatives need to practice what they pretend to preach. They need to return to God and the Constitution. They need to read the Constitution’s provisions for the election of the President and Vice-President. The Founders did not think election by the House of Representatives was a “desperate option.” They were more disposed to see a Party system such as we have now in that light. So today we need to respect their warnings, and seize the political initiative, as required by the instructions in the Constitution they devised. What is to be done? Read Part II of this essay on my blog. Then figure out for yourselves what the laws in your State require you to do. Instead of meekly (or bleakly) surrendering to the latest trumped up elitist faction ploy, do the work required to seize the initiative! The Constitution demands it. It’s the American way.