We Must Resist Monarchism–Even When the President is a Republican
By Benny Huang November 14, 2016
Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com
f I have one thing to be thankful for this Thanksgiving it’s that the reign of Barack Obama is nearly over. And I do mean reign—he exercised power like a monarch and a lousy one at that. Barack Obama is a dishonorable man and a power-hungry megalomaniac.
I spent the last eight years hoping that we would replace him with someone who is honorable and who respects the limits of presidential power. Instead, we got Donald Trump. He’s better than Hillary, of course, but that’s a pitifully low standard. I would love to be proven wrong but I suspect that our next president will be another dishonorable, power-hunger megalomaniac who behaves like a monarch. From time to time he may exercise his power to enact policies that I like but that doesn’t excuse conduct that is eerily similar to his predecessor’s.
Yes, I’m one of those #NeverTrumpers. I didn’t vote for him in the primary or the general election though I enjoyed the luxury of not being a resident of a swing state. If I had lived in Ohio I would have thought long and hard about voting for Trump. I know many people who didn’t like him but who held their noses and voted for him anyway. I can understand that. We all have to make up our own minds and live with our own consciences. In any case, Donald Trump won without me just as he said he would.
Ever since Donald Trump defeated his final primary opponent in May I’ve been asking myself what ails our electoral system so profoundly that it churns out two candidates as unlikable and unworthy as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. At least the Democrats can blame the superdelegates. We can’t. We voted for this guy.
How did the country end up in this cage match between the lesser-evils, always voting against someone we despise and never for someone we like? It wasn’t supposed to be this way. There must have been a time when voters liked at least one name on the ballot. In some instances they may have liked more than one name and were forced to decide which of the two good candidates was better. I envy those people.
I’ve come to realize since May that I’ve found fault in all the wrong places. By blaming “the system” I was avoiding the real issue. We nominate morally bankrupt candidates because we are a morally bankrupt nation. We created this monster.
The Democrats nominated a perjurer, an obstructer of justice, and a woman whose campaign apparatus engaged in voter fraud and “bird-dogging”—the practice of provoking violence at her opponent’s events just to paint his supporters as violent. If you want to know just how crooked the Clinton machine was just remember the immortal words of Democrat operative Scott Foval: “It doesn’t matter what the friggin’ legal and ethics people say, we need to win this motherf***er.” Hillary Clinton put national security at risk by storing classified material on a private server that was almost certainly hacked by five foreign intelligence services. She’s a liar, a cheater, and a demonstrable criminal.
The Republicans, on the other hand, nominated a superhypocrite who employed illegal aliens. He bragged of bedding married women and grabbing females by their you-know-whats. “When you’re a star they let you do it,” said Trump. “They let you do anything.” At a Republican debate he defended Planned Parenthood, a mass-murdering organization which he may have given money to in the past. (He’s not sure. He can’t remember.) He put the Constitution in danger with threats to the media—as corrupt and biased as they are—to alter libel laws to silence them. He championed eminent domain abuse. He spoke of exercising executive power just the same way that Barack Obama did if only toward slightly different ends.
I understand that a lot of Trump supporters see his looming executive actions as Democrats getting their comeuppance. Barack Obama stuck it to us with his pen and phone for eight years. Now it’s our turn! But that’s not the way it’s supposed to work.
Our constitutional form of government has deformed itself in the past two hundred years. The federal government has entirely too much power and the executive branch wields an outsized portion of that power. We need to get to work fixing it, not install someone we like better in the hyperpowerful Oval Office.
This entire election season has reminded me that there’s nothing new under the sun. A valuable lesson about current events can be found in an old book you’ve probably heard of—it’s called the Bible. Flip to 1 Samuel Chapter 8, you’ll see what I mean. In these ancient times the rebellious Israelites had no king, only judges and the prophet Samuel. But something was rotten in the state of Israel.
“When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges of Israel. His eldest son was called Joel and his second one, Abijah; they were judges at Beersheba. His sons did not follow his example but, seduced by the love of money, took bribes and gave biased verdicts. The elders of Israel all assembled, went back to Samuel at Ramah, and said, ‘Look, you are old, and your sons are not following your example. So give us a king to judge us, like the other nations.’ Samuel thought that it was wrong of them to say, ‘Let us have a king to judge us,’ so he prayed to Yahweh. But Yahweh said to Samuel, ‘Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you: it is not you they have rejected but me, not wishing me to reign over them any more. They are now doing to you exactly what they have done to me since the day I brought them out of Egypt until now, deserting me and serving other gods. So, do what they ask; only, you must give them a solemn warning, and must tell them what the king who is to reign over them will do.’”
God then proceeded to lay out all of the terrible consequences of installing a king. He warned that if they made a man into a king would the Israelites into his subjects. Is that where we are today? In our desperation are we crying out for a king? Perhaps we already have one in Barack Obama, but that’s no reason to enthrone another.
Monarchies are anathema to the American ideal. We fought a war to ensure that no king would ever rule over us. Free men can rule themselves, we said. I still believe that—but are we still free men? I don’t know. We are only human, after all. The temptation toward a strong leader is compelling. Perhaps it’s in our nature to want someone to rule over us. It’s just easier. We don’t have to make tough decisions. We don’t have to take any personal responsibility when our rulers make bad decisions for us because—hey!—they charted the course, not us. There’s also the faint hope that the ruler, as caustic as he may be to the ideals of self-government, will exercise his power in our favor. A good monarch is a good thing, or so the thinking goes.
Am I being too hard on Donald Trump? After all, he hasn’t even been inaugurated and I’m already warning of his impending tyranny. Perhaps I am. The only point I’m trying to make is that we need to keep him on a short leash. He deserves a chance to prove that he can lead but nothing more. Real conservatives will approach the new administration with vigilance. We don’t drink anyone’s Kool-Aid even if he is the guy who stopped the abominable Hillary Clinton. We are free men and women, willing and able to rule ourselves.