A highly disturbing story in the news this morning … the headline read:
Trump transition asks Energy Department to name staff who support Obama climate policies
A memo sent to the department asks for names of those involved in Obama climate policies and U.N. climate meetings.
Trump has long said that he intends to completely abandon the Obama administration’s approach to U.S. climate and energy policies, and instead adopt a policy that is much friendlier to fossil fuels and much more hostile to regulations that seek to curb greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. This would be a thoughtless and destructive move, but the above headlines strike a chord of fear. Why would he want that information? Is it his intent to terminate the employment of any who have supported President Obama’s policies? If so, my best guess is that he would need to completely decimate the Department of Energy, fire everyone and start over! And on what grounds? That they care about the environment? Or will he simply do as he did yesterday with union leader Chuck Jones and post a tweet about each of the aforementioned employees and let the deplorables harass them with death threats and perhaps even follow through with said threats? Are there limits? If so, what and where?
The intent of the framers of the Constitution was to limit the power of the presidency such that no man could ever become a despotic ruler, an autocrat, that there would always be a system of checks and balances, limitations on the president. With many of his latest moves, it becomes quite obvious that Trump has spent his time thinking of ways to circumvent or plow through the obstacles to full, unrestrained power.
What is next? Will Trump call for a list of all in the Department of Homeland Security who support immigration reform? Or will he call for a list of those in the Internal Revenue Service who have spoken for fairer tax equity? I can envision a list of all those in the Social Security Administration who are in favour of seniors and disabled people being able to receive social security benefits and Medicaid/Medicare. The possibilities for abuse of power are mind-boggling once you let yourself think about them! Will he ultimately request a list of every citizen who did not vote for him, or that have spoken against him in public venues? Some of this … most of it, in fact, may seem Orwellian, but so did those things which he has already done, six weeks before even taking office!
I have heard many people on both sides of the aisle say that Trump’s power will be restricted by process of law, by the Constitution, and by Congress. I might agree, but that hope diminishes daily, as I look around and realize that few in Congress will be willing to challenge him. In just six weeks, Trump will take an oath whereby he promises to “uphold the Constitution”. But how can he uphold and defend a document which he has never read and does not understand? His interpretation, no doubt, will be a distorted one, one that can be forced to fit with his desires at the moment, altered again later as his wants change. True, it is not up to the president, but rather the Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution, but he plans to put only those who think as he does on the Court, so … ???
According to a Bloomberg report, “Senator Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, sent a letter to Trump warning that any punishment of agency workers carrying out policies his administration doesn’t agree with “would be tantamount to an illegal modern-day political witch hunt, and would have a profoundly chilling impact on our dedicated federal workforce.”” Let us hope that there are many more in Congress and within the various agencies of our federal government who are willing to stand up for truth, justice, and doing the right thing. Donald Trump must not be allowed to rise to the level of power that Adolph Hitler did in the 1930s, nor even the level that Vladimir Putin and Recep Erdoğan have done in their respective countries. Thus far, his advisors have failed miserably, being more ‘yes-men’ than true advisors. It will be up to Congress to remind him that he is not an autocrat, that he is the employee of the citizenry, and that the rules do, in fact, apply to him. Otherwise, it will be up to Congress to do their job and begin impeachment proceedings. One way or another, the madness must be stopped and quickly, else 75 years from now, students of history will be scratching their heads, saying “How could the Americans not have seen this coming?”