A liberal take on Trump’s national emergency declaration
In 1776, the U.S. took its first big steps toward becoming a world power. Patriots of the time established a status quo unlike anything seen before; they determined the government should work by the people for the people.
In essence, early Americans hated King George III not only because they disagreed with his policies, but also because his policies abolished their lawful rights. They made him the sole commander of legal affairs, which went against the values America was trying to sustain.
As such, the Founding Fathers sought to build a nation of checks and balances where citizens could govern themselves through voting, protesting and lawmaking.
It was due to the king’s unjust laws and tyrannical leadership that Gouverneur Morris wrote the final touches to the preamble of the Constitution. The words read:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Oftentimes, people in the U.S. become jaded when discussing these matters. They think they know the words and what those words mean, but when it comes to putting these words into action, they fall short on the standards our forefathers set before us.
We live in an age where our president feels that he has the right to initiate a government shutdown, declare a national emergency, lie to the American public and foster tensions between the three branches of government as a means to get what he wants, his wall.
President Donald Trump first expressed his desire to build a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico in 2015. This became a standard topic of debate throughout his presidential campaign and beyond, as people are still debating whether it is necessary.
A Pew Research study, released in January 2019, found 58 percent of Americans oppose substantially expanding the border wall as Trump has suggested, while only 40 percent of Americans support it.
This also connects to another recent Pew Research study, which found 64 percent of Republicans either don’t believe U.S. immigration is an issue or is not a large issue.
These findings stand in stark contrast to Trump’s claims that illegal immigrants pose a major threat to Americans. The aforementioned studies prove most immigrants live in the U.S. legally, are nonviolent and are indistinguishable by the public unless they tell someone their background.
Despite this, Trump declared a government shutdown to try to force Congress’ hand in his favor. This record-breaking shutdown led to an estimated 800,000 federal employees working without pay, a temporary halt of EBT and food stamps availability and a temporary halt of WIX program aid. Some government employees were forced to beg their landlords for more time to pay rent and feared how they would feed their children.
The shutdown was officially lifted last month, but since Trump was unhappy with the funding results for his border wall, he chose to declare a national emergency on Feb. 13, only three weeks after the shutdown ended.
In a press conference at the White House, Trump said America is not in a state of emergency, but that he declared one for the sake of getting what he wants regardless of what Congress will allow.
“I could do the wall over a longer period of time,” Trump said. “I didn’t need to do this, but I’d rather do it much faster.”
Trump has the right to declare a national emergency due to The National Emergencies Act of 1976. However, he does not have the right to deceive the American public. He does not have the right to intentionally undermine a branch of government to achieve his personal goals. He does not have the right to abuse the system of checks and balances in his favor.
By doing all of this, Trump is intentionally violating traditional American values, showing a blatant disregard for the legal process and conveying to all American citizens that he is above us all.
Congress works to represent the American people in all legal matters and to be a voice for us whenever they are needed. For Trump to go against Congress’ decision on the border wall and declare a national emergency indicates his lack of respect not only for them, but for every American citizen who voted for them.