The constitutional crisis we face at the hands of The Don, our demagogue wannabe-in-chief, makes Heidi Schreck’s play “What the Constitution Means to Me,” more poignant and powerful in its relevancy than even the author could have ever imagined.
While waiting for the show to begin, audience members are handed a pocket size copy of The Constitution. While I held it in my hand I realized that I had never really read the entire document. Suddenly, I flashed to Khizr Khan at the Democratic National Convention, standing proudly at the podium, speaking about the loss of his son in the Iraqi War and his ardent belief in American democracy. At some point in his moving speech, he turned his focus to The Don and took out the same pocket sized edition of The Constitution I now held in my hand and said:
“Donald Trump, you’re asking Americans to trust you with their future. Let me ask you, have you even read the United States Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy. In this document, look for the words ‘liberty’ and ‘equal protection of law’.” “Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery? Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America. You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing – and no one.”
Not only has the president failed to read it, but he has no interest in it. To The Don, it is just another document he won’t read because, well, he doesn’t read; and most worrisome, because it is of no interest or relevance to him. Rumor has it that when The Don was presented with his own special presidential copy of The Constitution his response was: “This is what the hype is all about? This? I have golf score cards that are more impressive! Let’s look into replacing it with ‘The Art of the Deal’.”
In the final part of this riveting one-play, Heidi brings a high school student on stage to debate the following question: Should we keep it despite its flaws or should we get rid of it?
For a moment I imagined The Don on stage, standing across from Schreck saying: “I say we get rid of it. And I was told I was going to have a debate. Ridiculous.”
So we have entered the next phase of the reality TV show 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. These episodes focus on The Don’s attempt to dare Congress to impeach him: Executive privilege and autocratic power vs the oversight of Congress and the voice of the people- a battle for the soul of the constitution.
For those of you who can’t believe we are living through this, you just don’t get The Don. This is the man who has been involved in thousands of lawsuits in his life and believes he is above the law. If he believes you want to hurt him-by finding the truth, exposing his crimes-you are now something or someone he needs to destroy and he will do whatever it takes to defend himself. If defying, and ultimately neutering, Congress’s constitutional right of oversight of the executive branch- which is laid out clearly in Article 1 of the Constitution- is what he needs to do to protect himself, then that is what he will do. Remember: his is a scorched-earth policy! All that matters is that at the end of the day he is the last one standing.
And once again the nation turns its desperate eyes to Republican lawmakers who have abdicated all their power to a man who defiles the very institutions they represent. The Republicans are saying: “We don’t want to use our power of checks and balances because you might Tweet something bad about us, and then our voters won’t want to vote for us anymore.” All the Republicans can clearly see what is happening- that The Don has obstructed justice and is continuing to so on daily basis by denying Congress access to documents and blocking witnesses from testifying.
Yes, they want to be re-elected. But there must be more at play here. To watch Lindsey Graham, a lawyer, tell Don Jr. to defy a subpoena to testify in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee is astounding. That’s actually witness tampering! It’s as if he has been taken over by a demon-seed.
But what if The Don gets people to do his bidding because he has the “goods” on them?
Lindsey Graham: Photos of Lindsey having a secret tryst with a young man.
William Barr: Likes bestiality.
Mitch McConnell: Actually has DNA that makes him part reptile.
Steve Mnuchin: Gets turned on by Munchkins.
Sarah Hucksterbe Sanders: Part of a devil-cult.
The Don’s contempt for the checks-and-balances of the constitution are distressing but not surprising. All we have to do is look at the autocratic world leaders he admires and praises to know he aspires to be like them.
The Don’s contempt runs deep. Below is a list of other things the Don has shown contempt for.
- Puerto Rico
- Voting Rights
- Transgender individuals
- Poor white people (But they don’t know it)
- Climate change
- The rule of law
- Judges who don’t rule in his favor
- People of Color
- The Truth
- All states that didn’t vote for him
- The press
So what can we do to protect The Constitution from those who want to flout it and block Congresas’s authority to function as an equal branch of government?
I like Congressman Jamie Raskin’s reference to “inherent contempt.” This is what he said:
“I know that the Capitol Police are perfectly capable of holding people who violate the laws and rules of Congress, because lots of my constituents, specifically high school students, got arrested in our last Congress protesting at Speaker Paul Ryan’s office… Short of arresting Barr, he said, Congress could use inherent contempt to directly levy fines. “We are going to dust off some old powers of Congress, and we are going to exercise all of the powers we have to vindicate the powers of the people.”
And I say let’s not stop at fines if they continue their defiance, but let’s “lock them up” instead. Let’s put Barr behind Bars!