By Jacob Darling
This current administration has made many unprecedented things part of our day-to-day as Americans. Everything from banning entire groups of people from entering the country, to threatening North Korea with nuclear war via Twitter, to separating children from their parents at the Mexican border: All these things have become part of the norm. Unceremoniously added to the background noise of our 24-hour news cycles. Never to be thought of seriously again.
Both on the campaign trail and in office, Trump has violated countless political norms that are a fundamental part of our democratic process. By continually refusing to release his tax returns (as every president since Nixon has done) or put his assets in a blind trust, Trump is fundamentally altering how the executive branch functions. We as a nation have become so accustomed to this endless stream of craziness that at some point we just tune it out. But that is a dangerous attitude for Americans to have.
The current administration under President Trump has become so dysfunctional that one of his senior staff had to anonymously address the nation via an op-ed in the New York Times to tell us that there are “adults in the room.” For those who have not read this piece, I highly recommend doing so. The mere fact that a high-ranking member of an administration wrote an anonymous article openly criticising a sitting president is honestly shocking. Or at least, it should be. This is completely unprecedented, and yet, among the litany of unprecedented occurances during this presidency, it hardly seems surprising. But it ought to be. It ought to make people worried. An unnamed group of people within the White House have essentially taken it upon themselves to “frustrate part of [the President’s] agenda and his worst inclinations.”
That is not the way our government was designed to function. This secret group even went as far as to consider using Article 25 of the Constitution to remove the president from office. They eventually decided not to because “no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis.” Instead they have chosen to guide the country behind the scenes while keeping Trump from taking us completely off the rails. But I make the argument that they aren’t preventing a constitutional crisis with their actions — their actions ARE a constitutional crisis. A group of unknown people, whom nobody voted for, is running the country behind the back of an erratic president who himself was voted in by less than half of the American people. If that is not a crisis of constitutional proportions, I have no idea what is.
My point in saying all this is that regardless of political affiliation, we all need to remember something very important when we walk into the voting booth on Nov. 6: that this is not normal. None of this is normal. And our votes are the only means we have of changing things.