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Sunday, January 15, 2017

A semantic case for Trump's illegitimacy

legitimateadjective |ləˈjidəmətconforming to the law or to rules: his claims to legitimate authority.• able to be defended with logic or justification: a legitimate excuse for being late.• (of a child) born of parents lawfully married to each other.• (of a sovereign) having a title based on strict hereditary right: the last legitimate Anglo-Saxon king.• constituting or relating to serious drama as distinct from musical comedy, revue, etc.: the legitimate theater.verb |ləˈjidəmāt[with objectmake legitimate; justify or make lawful: the regime was not legitimated by popular support.
illegitimacy |ˈˌi(l)ləˈjidəməsēnounthe state of not being in accordance with accepted standards or rules; lack of authorization by the law: she talks with anger about the illegitimacy of the election.Online source:  New Oxford American Dictionary
On NBC’s “Meet the Press”  Friday, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga, said he did not regard Trump to be “a legitimate president” because of allegations that Russian agents interfered in the election to Trump's advantage.  Russia's role in the election has been stated with certainty on the part of the the U.S. intelligence agencies,  and the Senate Intelligence Committee has undertaken an investigation into the matter.  Democrats think Russia's hacking ought to be investigated by a special, nonpartisan commission.
As for meeting the Constitutional requirements to be president,  only three are specified: 

  • be 35 years old 
  • be a "natural born" citizen of the U.S., meaning that at least one parent be a U.S. citizen.
  • have lived in the U.S. for 14 years.  

    Trump's behavior is often in conflict with the Constitutional standards, as specified in the preamble to "form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty."   Those objectives stated as standards of conduct, according to Constitution scholars, form the basis for other charges that could result in impeachment:
    • Behaving in a Manner Grossly Incompatible with the Proper Function and Purpose of the Office
    • Employing the Power of the Office for an Improper Purpose or Personal Gain
    Some scholars have said that Trump will be in violation of the Constitution as soon as he takes the oath of office.  While Trump and his "team" claim that Trump's behavior and business interests in no way violate the Constitution,  many experts who have researched and studied what it means to uphold the Constitution make the case that that presidential standards and practices are clearly stated throughout the document and explained in Constitutional case law.  

    However, in addition to the allegations of Russian hacking, matters of GOP voter suppression have been raised and have entered the federal courts.

    Beyond the legal technicalities are what it means to be a legitimate presidency according to the definitions of the word.  The first definition is "conforming to the law or to rules." In his business practices,  in his campaign and debate performances, and in his daily outbursts of derangement on Twitter,  Trump has broken laws and takes pride in flouting the rules that generally govern presidential conduct.  While politicians are exempted in their campaigns from obeying the laws of defamation and slander,  Trump consistently employs defamation and slander against people and breaks the laws against defamation as stated in all 50 states.  His flouting of the basic standards of decency are why so many people in both parties consider him unfit and disqualified from office.  Rep. Lewis merely restates the case that Trump has raised against himself.

    The second definition of "legitimate" is "able to be defended with logic or justification."  Trump's candidacy and election defy the standards of logic and justification.  No logical reasoning or moral justification can support his presidency.  The absence of any semblance of logic and justice in a large segment of people who have been brainwashed into thinking that their lot will be improved by serf-like submission to corporate tyranny is what is so remarkable about the election.  They have given up on the idea of democracy and self-determination and self-government as something they wish to exercise.  While during the confirmation process,  there is much prattle about representing freedom and democracy to the world,  the blunt fact is that 46.1 percent of the voters,  whether knowingly or unknowingly,  renounced the democratic values in the voting booth last November.  In their assertion to change the political climate,  they chose to refute those standards stated in the Preamble and affirmed in the U.S. history of striving to reach those standards.  

    And then there is the definition of "illegitimacy": the state of not being in accordance with accepted standards or rules; lack of authorization by the law.  Again,  Trump takes pride and pleasure in flouting the accepted standards and rules of conduct.  And while the law does not prescribe courteous and reasonable conduct,  it does not authorize the kind of juvenile disobedience to decency and propriety constantly displayed by Trump.  

    Rep. Lewis' statement that Trump is not a "legitimate president" is born out by both state Constitutional standards and the established definitions of what it means to be legitimate.  The question is whether the 51.8 percent of those who voted for someone else wants to do  anything about a man who is not a legitimate president.  

    1 comment:

    Porter Lansing said...

    "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what your country can do for me." - TRUMP

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    Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States