Letter to the editor: Crisis is upon us
Lost amid the daily torrent of affronts to our founding principles hurled at us by Trump and Trumpism is the reality that we are in the midst of a full-blown crisis that goes to the very nature of our identity as a nation, which, as Lincoln stated, was conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal.
The Founders feared the accumulation of power. “Unlimited power cannot be safely trusted to any man or set of men on earth,” wrote Thomas Burke in 1777. He noted that power “gives the passion of ambition a velocity which increases in its progress, and this is a passion which grows in proportion as it is gratified … .”
In his “Notes on Virginia,” Jefferson elaborated on this theme. “An elective despotism was not the government we fought for,” nor should we be “deluded” into believing that those who claim unlimited powers will never abuse those powers.
Trump and Trumpism, unmoored from our history and reality, claim unlimited power. Power over speech, debate and civil protests. Power to corrupt. Power over political opposition. Power to determine that some people are not created equal, contrary to the Declaration of Independence, our founding document. Power to divide us. Power to set us upon each other.
L’etat c’est Trump is proclaimed by Trumpism. Either Trump’s claims to unlimited power or our founding principles will survive, but not both.