In contravention of the concept in Thomas Jefferson’s assertion, written into our Constitution was a very complicated political structure and process that’s meant to keep us from killing one another in civil wars. I was compelled to look into it, as I thought of the potential for an actual second Civil War to occur in our country due to the “Big Cheat” of the 2020 presidential election.
Most of us who pay attention to history and its repeating cycles are aware of the subtext of Jefferson’s quote, but may not be as familiar with the context in which he said it.
Jefferson’s main impetus was his concern about lifetime appointments within the “Chief magistrate” (the Supreme Court). The famous quote appears to be his fear of what may come from the tyranny of any lifetime office or authority. Perhaps he could not have conceived of the ugliness of the real “lifetime” appointments in our career bureaucracy, what some call today the deep state. These institutions would be created by Congress as part of the abdication of its sacred responsibility to make law, handing off the legislative role to unelected “experts.” Although the bureaucracy is supposed to be entirely under the president’s executive authority, they’ve achieved a kind of administrative independence both from Congress and the president.
More important to today’s crisis than Jefferson’s quote or his motivation for it, is the reasoning leading up to it. He described how the British king, through the crown’s control of the press, convinced most everyone in the world, in England, America, and even many of the revolutionaries themselves, that the American Revolution was anarchy. He pointed out that the risk then and going into the future was that similar corruption of the press in collusion with the government would lead to cycles of tyranny and rebellion, much like the corruption we are seeing today.
The American Founding was rooted in the Declaration of Independence, in a miraculous revolution and in a brilliant constitution; all guided by the laws of nature and nature’s God. We are bound together as a nation by these things, which are superior to the whims and desires of those in power. Jefferson and our other Founders understood that government was a necessary evil in society and one that needed to be tamed by the governed. In that sense, the American Revolution lives on and must live on into the future.
One of the more brilliant aspects of our Constitution is the way it seeks to circumvent the future bloodshed of the sort Jefferson described, through a complex political structure and process. The process is designed to resolve major disputes and corruption peaceably through elections, legislation, and the judiciary. And yet we are living through such corruption at this moment. Interestingly, it is also occurring within Jefferson’s predicted timeframe; 155 years since the first Civil War.
Pray that the process which President Trump is now pursuing will lead to a fair outcome, one way or the other. The best thing that could happen would be if there could be a verified discovery of the corruption within our presidential election—the “Big Cheat.” If that happens, we should hope for a reasonable resolution through the three branches of our government, the judicial (Supreme Court), legislative means (state legislatures, the Electoral College, and Congress), and of course the cooperation of the executive branch. We should hope and expect that the president would stand by and administer and enforce these decisions in his role as president as prescribed by the Constitution, independent of his own political interest or perception of public opinion.
Subsequent to any such outcome, however, the president should order the Justice Department to investigate all involved in the series of coups, which led up to the “Big Cheat,” and prosecute them to the full extent of the law. These steps would fulfill the Founders’ goal of resolving conflict through a constitutional process without bloody rebellion and, we can hope, help us avoid a second Civil War.
In this manner we will have the continuation of the American Revolution, which began with the shot heard round the world and the battles of Lexington and Concord, which led to the defeat of the world’s greatest superpower and gave birth to our nation and her Constitution, which has guided us through the resolution of many tragic cultural flaws and many monumental human achievements, protected us through many foreign wars and our worst war against domestic enemies, our Civil War, which lasted four years, killed 630,000 Americans and has taken over 100 years to resolve its purpose of all people being welcomed into the American family as equals.
In the past 60 years the progressive movement has endeavored to do gradually what foreign and prior domestic enemies have tried and failed to do: defeat the American Revolution and tear down the beautiful structure of the United States of America as our country and her people as our family.
In their oaths of office, all of our public servants, civil and military, swear they “ will to the best of [their abilities] preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, against all enemies foreign and domestic” (although the president does not say the “all enemies, foreign and domestic” part). As we face severe domestic enemies today, it is incumbent upon all of those oath takers and indeed all patriotic citizens to defeat these domestic enemies who seek to tear down America, her Constitution, and the freedom of her people.
The Progressive Left, in collusion with the dishonest press, are already doing to us what the British did to the colonies, and worse. Jefferson said it this way in his letter:
The people can not be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty.
I dare say that many of the grievances we have against our government today are more severe than some of the grievances listed in the Declaration of Independence against King George III. Our current “elite” ruling class is orchestrating a similar tyranny over us. As Jefferson said, “They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness.” Nonetheless, he added, “The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them.” This was first achieved in the Revolutionary War. Today it must be achieved through an actual faithful constitutional process.
The first Civil War was not a fight over slavery per se, even though slavery alone was just cause enough. The Civil War was also fought over the concept that the people of a state do not “own” that state, but that the American People as a whole “own” all 50 states and all territories under the rule of “We the People,” governed by the supremacy of our Constitution.
What Donald Trump is doing in the crisis of this “Big Cheat” election is his duty, not as a candidate for reelection, but as president of the United States. He and the other branches of our government cannot look away and stand by as domestic enemies seek to undermine our electoral process as part of their long march to tear down our republic. He must lead us through the complex process of our constitutional system in this unclear election, so as to achieve a just result, preserve the peace, and avoid a second Civil War.