Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Will President Trump declare martial law to hold on to power?

by Rod Williams - I am apprehensive about the immediate future and will not rest easy until after Joe Biden is inaugurated and Donald Trump is out of the White House. I fear Trump may use military force to stay in office.  I never thought I would need to be concerned about something like this.  What has been unimaginable is now a real possibility. 

Let me make it clear that I voted for Donald Trump in the last election.  While I have disapproved of some things he has done as president; not many.  My problem with Trump is more his personality than his policies.  He is not sensitive or compassionate and he is a bully and a jerk and he has trouble with the truth.  Our president is not only the chief executive but also the head of state.  I think Trumps fails in the head of state role.  He is not good at the I-feel-your-pain stuff.  He is not good at the ceremonial stuff. However, he can be good at it when he stays on script. When I vote, however, I am not voting for a spouse or a daddy or a Sunday School teacher.  His personality does not bother me all that much.  

Trump has brought us prosperity, reduced inequality, decreased Black unemployment to the lowest rate ever, turned back the tide of illegal immigrants, made Europe pay a greater share of their own defense, took seriously the threat of China's expanding military might, called China to task for unfair trade practices, destroyed Al-Qaida,  cut back drastically on stifling and overreaching regulations, appointed hundreds of justices who respect the Constitution, advanced peace in the Middle East for the first time since 1979, quieted North Korea, made America energy independent, and more. Not a bad record. 

I wish he would have been reelected.  Not only do I like his record, the Democrat threat of packing the Supreme Court, the Green New Deal, nationalizing health care, statehood for D. C and Puerto Rico. the threat to the Second Amendment, reimposing massive stifling regulations, raising taxes, opening our border to a flood of illegal immigration, reversing energy independence, and other policies may destroy America. So, yes, I voted for Trump and wish he would have won. 

Do I believe there was widespread fraud in the last election? Yes.  Enough to change the outcome of the election?  Maybe. Does that justify declaring martial law and suspending the constitution? Hell NO! That some are even entertaining doing so is appalling. 

My view is we should follow the Constitution.  There is no constitutional provision for a military take over and then soon having an election do over. In some countries, the military steps in every few years and rules for a while.  It is not uncommon in Turkey, Thailand, various central and South American countries and has happened in Greece and eastern European nations and is commonplace in Africa. We have prided ourselves as being governed by a constitution.  Our peaceful transfer of power and stability has made us the envy of the world and an example other countries aspire to.  We have been that shining city on the hill.  If we allow a military take over, then even if there is an election to clarify who actually would win in a fair election, we have opened the door to military take overs always being an acceptable part of our system of governance. 

Some will ask of me, so, if the Democrats stole the election we should just let them?  Unless our constitutional remedies can correct what is perceived by many as a stolen election then, yes, we follow the constitution. We do not break the mold of being a constitutional  republic.  I still believe that in the Nixon-Kennedy election, that the Democrats stole the election. There was enough fraud in Mayor Daley's Chicago and Lyndon Johnson's Texas to change the outcome.  I am glad Nixon chose to allow Kennedy to take office rather than have a military coup.

Sometimes there is a miscarriage of justice but preserving the framework of rule of law is more  important the particular outcome of one case.  The Trump team has been unable to legally win this election.  They have not prevailed in the courts.  It is time to accept the results.  I compare this to the criminal justice system.  There are times when the guilty go free and worst than that, there are times when the innocent are found guilty.  No system created by man is perfect.  Because there is the occasional miscarriage of justice do I want to replace it with mob rule?  No! Assume a despicable person has been charged with a horrendous crime, say rape of a child, but because of police misconduct in the investigation, he is likely to be found not guilty.  Would I support a mob breaking into the jail, dragging him out and stringing him up?  No.  The legal system, imperfect as it may be, is more important than the possible miscarriage of justice in one particular case. 

Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely, retired, has joined retired United States Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn and some others in calling on Trump to declare martial law and to void the election. There have also been other voices urging this course of action. I do not believe this will happen, but am concerned that it might. It is a real possibility and that is frightening.  Also, I am not sure Trump is thinking rationally. He seems to be acting on emotion rather than principle or logic. Of course, I think he often does so.  If reports are to be believed he has narrowed the number of people who have access to him.  I am not sure he has any advisors who do not tell him what he wants to hear.

Vallely is somewhat of a nut who has endorsed the Q-annon nonsense, but then Trump would not denounce Q when offered an opportunity to do so, so Trump may be listening to people like Vallely.  Sometimes I get the feeling Trump is delusional.  He may believe the Q-annon theory himself but even if  he doesn't believe it, he may not discount Vallely's opinion simply because Vallely believes it.  

Between now and when Biden takes office, is a scary period. Foreign advisories may see us vulnerable during this period.  The threat that Trump may actually declare martial law is frightening.  If that happens we may never return to being a nation of laws.  

On January 6th the Congress will confirm the electoral college vote. If there is a military action to keep Trump in office it will most likely be after January 6th. At this point Trump is banking on January 6th to hold onto power. When that fails, then we need to watch carefully for military mobilization. Republicans need to speak out and tell Trump to accept the election results. The military needs to consider any call for martial law an illegal order. Republican leadership needs to be privately telling military brass to refuse such an order. The Congress needs to be ready to invoke Article 25 if there is military mobilization. 

I have been dismayed that so many of my Facebook friends are advocating Trump declare martial law. I hope they are a miniscule minority.  However, I am getting the distinct impression they are not.  I posted something similar to this post on Facebook and got over 160 responses, most of them supporting a call for martial law.  I know a lot of these people and others I know though Facebook over several years.  Frankly, I am shocked.   I have been unfriended and called a traitor. So many are so adamant that they will not accept a Trump loss, that I think if Trump told them to use force to stop the inauguration of Biden, many of them would take up arms.  I am afraid many Trump supporters are willing to start assassinating "traitors" to keep Trump in office. 

It is sad that they are putting loyalty to Trump above loyalty to their country. 

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