Since the election, you’ve probably been inundated with reporters and opinionists telling you that the world is coming to an end. America as we know it is over. America was never great, will never be great, and can never be great. Come January 20th an orange faced monster will sit behind a desk inside an ovally shaped office dispensing irate tweets to be consumed by the masses of racists who elected him. You, I, and every American must take up our hashtags, strap on our pussy caps, and charge to battle against a man who is not the legitimate President of the United States of America. Otherwise our liberties will be trampled on by the jack booted red hat wearing thugs chanting “Make America Great Again” led by Der Fuhrer.
Godwin’s law is in full effect
Fear and love are the two most irrational human emotions. What we are willing to do against those we fear and for those we love is not bounded by logic. We do what we do, because we feel that we need to do it. Often times the end results of illogical and irrational actions lead us to precarious and compromising positions. Fearing or loving the new President will not lead us to a better position than the one in which we found ourselves a year ago.
So what can we do?
We can at the same time state that Russian hacking is concerning while stating that we held a free and fair election in which we can certify that neither fraud nor hacks changed the votes by Americans which were tallied. We can at the same time state that we do not want foreign entities trying to sway our elections while admitting that the United States has a long history of doing just that. We can at the same time state that we are not in agreement with the policies of the President-Elect, while stating that democracy IE one person equals one vote, the foundational underpinnings of our republic, legitimately elected him to be our President.
The danger we face now, is not from Russia or ISIS, but rather from ourselves. When terrorists attacked on 9/11 we all believed that if we allowed terrorists to demonstrably change our country they would have won. Besides TSA, some heightened security, and the proliferation of Homeland Security degrees on college campuses, America has not demonstrably changed from September 10th. We are still recognizable as America and Americans. Yet, this recent push by those in the media and within the Democratic party to claim that President Donald Trump is illegitimate disrupts the very underpinnings of what allows our country to be the country that it is today. It is not our laws, our buildings, or the fact that we are the only country to have gone to the moon that has made America what it is today. It is that as the oldest continuous republic in the world, we have always had a peaceful transition of power from one President to another. Every President was a legitimate President, even if we disagreed with him.
Prior to Trump, there have only been a few Presidents that have won the Electoral College without winning the popular vote: John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, Grover Cleveland, and George W. Bush. While some on this list are more memorable than others, and while some were not great for the nation, none of these former Presidents were deemed as being illegitimate. None of these Presidents demonstrably destroyed America. Even if we believe that we live in the age of the Imperial Presidency or that as was contended by Freakenomics, the Office of the President is one with dictatorial like powers, in order for us to believe that one man has the ability to destroy this country, we have to believe that the structure of our government and more importantly our republic has changed so drastically in less than a year that the checks and balances that our founders put in place are unrecognizable.
The question of legitimacy is a pernicious cycle that destroys democracy. You do not need to look any further than the Gambia today to see its effects. Core countries around the world turn into gap countries. Strongmen rise up whether through the political system or the military and take power away from democratically elected leaders when they lose the belief in a peaceful transition of power. There are many examples of this, but you only need to go back to 2011 to the Egyptian coup d’etat.
At the end of the day this is not a question about whether or not we should support the actions and policy of President Trump, rather whether or not we should continue to support the legitimacy of the person who if duly elected in a free and fair election, is sworn in as President. In the military there is a saying, “You don’t have to respect the man, you just have to respect the rank.” America will be better off in the long term if we remember that not liking the outcome of an election, does not make that election illegitimate.