Rule of Law vs. Rule of Man: What’s really at stake in this election

Senator Ted Cruz and Congressman Beto O’Rourke have become the faces of the raging war between The Rule of Law and The Rule of Man in this election for United States Senate.

During the CNN Town Hall meeting in McAllen, Texas on October 18th, Juan Ramirez, a University of Texas-RGV student asked Mr.  O’Rourke, “What would you say to Republicans and Independents who are watching tonight and are contemplating about voting for you but are worried about, should you win, your main objective as senator would be to try to impeach President Trump?”

Great question, Mr. Ramirez. Unfortunately, Mr. O’Rourke evaded it, yet basked in applause for his emotionally-charged non-answer.

The CNN moderator, Dana Bash, had the good sense to essentially tell Mr. O’Rourke, “not-so-fast”,  holding him to addressing Mr. Ramirez’s question: “Congressman, his question was about impeachment. And you said in July that you would, as a member of the House right now, vote to impeach. Have you changed your mind?”

O’Rourke replied, “I haven’t.” He then proceeds to wax eloquent about allegations.

Ms. Bash then astutely followed up: “According to the Constitution, that means the President has committed the crime of treason, bribery or a high crime and misdemeanor. Which one of those do you believe the President has committed?”

Again, O’Rourke meandered,  referencing unsubstantiated allegations that President Trump obstructed justice and colluded with the Russians during his presidential campaign. And this is before the Mueller investigation report has even been released. O’Rourke asserted there is “enough there” to draft articles of impeachment against President Trump.

During his discourse, Mr. O’Rourke also refers to the United States as a “democracy” no less than three times.

So, according to Mr. O’Rourke: 1) the President should be impeached; 2) the United States is a democracy.

If there are grounds for drafting articles of impeachment, why is O’Rourke not willing to specify those grounds with solid evidence? What are the specific high misdemeanors, felonies, or acts of treason allegedly committed by the POTUS that warrant articles of impeachment? If there is Constitutional justification for drafting articles of impeachment, no elected official, regardless of party affiliation, is above the law. But the justification must be more than just Trump’s crudity and temperament, or the fact that he was Constitutionally elected POTUS.

This irresponsible and reckless rhetoric alone should disqualify Mr. O’Rourke for public office, especially US Senator. Even many of our savvy student Teen Court attorneys know there must be strong evidence to bring an indictment with a high likelihood of establishing guilt, more so when it comes to articles of impeachment. Re-litigating a presidential election via impeachment just because your preferred candidate did not win borders on anarchy.

Mr. O’Rourke must have missed an important civics lesson in junior high and high school: the United States is not a democracy. It is a Constitutional Republic. Our founding fathers warned us about “democracy”, which in its purest form is simply, majority rules (aka “might makes right”):

“… democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they are violent in their deaths.”

James Madison, The Federalist, No. 10.

“Democracy, in its best state, is but the politics of Bedlam; while kept chained, its thoughts are frantic, but when it breaks loose, it kills the keeper, fires the building, and perishes.”

Fisher Ames, US Congressman for 8 years during the presidency of George Washington.

If the United States is truly a democracy, then we are a society in which The Rule of Man (“might makes right” ) reigns supreme. This “might” is manifested in the whims of the majority, whoever the majority happens to be. This inevitably leads to rule by whoever has the largest sword and fastest Jeep.

No, the United States is a Constitutional Republic, a civil structure based on The Rule of Law, founded on absolutes, which no person is above. By design, representatives are elected by the people to create those laws through a civil and deliberative process, a process enabling even the minority to have a voice which can check the transient agendas of the majority. The Constitutional separation of powers charges the POTUS with executing those laws, and the judiciary with interpreting them when the Constitution is implicated.

Though imperfect, our Constitutional Republic has outlasted all other civil constructs by fulfilling its design to enable the peaceful transfer or retention of power through a ballot, rather than a bullet. Recklessly calling for impeachment without specific grounds is a repudiation of that civil transfer. It sets the trajectory for anarchy and eventual tyranny. Lest any reader think this is hyperbole, a study of a few of our neighboring countries in South America is suggested.

If, as Mr. O’Rourke asserts, the POTUS has committed high crimes and misdemeanors, felonies or acts of treason, and the United States is truly a democracy, then impeachment is pointless. The POTUS has the largest sword and the most well-equipped Jeep, and would be within his right (because of his might) to unleash those resources to retain power.

Mr. O’Rourke cannot have both The Rule of Law and The Rule of Man. Either we are a nation respecting The Rule of Law and due processes, including the democracy-countering Electoral College and bona fide articles of impeachment, or we are a nation devolving into The Rule of Man, a democracy eager to usurp civil procedures and absolutes with the tyranny of mob rule and human depravity. His rhetoric is charting a course for the latter.

Mr. O’Rourke’s comments, as well as the Senate Judiciary hearing, in which factions sought to deny Justice Brett Kavanaugh due process and the presumption of innocence, have put on full display the war which The Rule of Man is waging against The Rule of Law. Perhaps there is still time for this generation to return to the roots of reason and The Rule of Law, and to reject being whipsawed by emotionally-charged eloquence masquerading as truth.

The results of this election and the reactions to the outcome will show whether that time has expired.


Copyright © 2018 Don Stroud