“So true is it that men close their eyes on encroachments committed by that party to which they are attached, in the delusive hope that power, in such hands, will always be wielded against their adversaries, never against themselves.” — “The Life of George Washington,” Volume 1.
This was written in 1804 by Chief Justice John Marshall, the first George Washington biographer, about the constant coups and warring that defined the early days of our burgeoning republic. He was writing about the 1640s. I’ve been reading Marshall’s seven-volume biography for two years now (it’s a lot of old-timey language to wade through for this reality-show addict), but this passage has always stayed with me and defines my political philosophy.
Too often over the last eight years I have heard my counterparts on the other side of the aisle lament that President Obama doesn’t have enough power to make the changes they deem necessary in this country. They rejoiced when an unelected body of nine judges overturned the express will of the voters in state by state. They celebrated when Congress passed thousands of pages of “health care” legislation that no one read beforehand and that mandated Americans spend their money in a certain way or face burdensome fines.
They still express frustration that Obama has not used his executive powers to bypass Congress on gun control. They vote for politicians who insist on expanding the reach of government into our personal lives for “the greater good.” At a Hollywood fundraiser in her home, actress and professional fancy lady Gwyneth Paltrow said, “It would be wonderful if we are able to give this man all the power he needs to accomplish the things he needs to.” She was cheered for that remark, and it encapsulates what most on the American Left believe.
Woody Allen parroted the same sentiment: “It would be good…if he could be a dictator for a few years because he could do a lot of good things quickly.” Thomas Friedman of The New York Times also lamented that Obama has a pesky Constitution to deal with, but if we could be more like the Chinese we could just force everyone to do the “right thing.”
You Will Not Always Be in Power
Instead, like Marshall’s my theory has always been that my preferred administration will not always be in power. Politics is cyclical, and always has been. It is better to give the government as little power as possible so when someone I don’t like comes in he can’t use his bully pulpit to executive-order away my rights and freedoms.
Some of you Obama voters are downright terrified today. You’re scared that when Donald Trump wins the White House he’s going to start forcing his (so far) vague agenda down our throats. Mass deportations, border fences—some of you are even saying you fully expect him to rescind voting rights and equality measures.
Please excuse me while I scream for just a moment: THAT’S THE WHOLE FRIGGING POINT!
I have received so many threats and insults over the years simply because I am black and don’t support the first black president, because I don’t support his abuse of executive powers. I’ve tried to explain—sometimes calmly and others quite passionately—that constitutional freedoms work the same for everyone regardless of who is in office, and that is a good thing. We shouldn’t want to erode that.
But you wouldn’t listen. You called me a sellout, a porch-monkey, and a house ni**er. You called me traitor. So to everyone who has ever rejoiced as Obama and Congress skirted the legislative process to deliver what you thought you wanted: break out your forks and knives. It’s time to eat your words (and your peas).
Whatcha Gonna Do When Trump Comes for You
Hillary is probably going to be indicted during this campaign, and that will most likely prompt a Trump victory. All those executive powers you were so hot and heavy to hand over to Obama? You’ve just given Trump a license to do the same thing. You naively and tragically believed just as early settlers believed—that the laws and politics restricting the freedoms of one group would never be turned on you.
So here you are, wailing about what hell a Trump presidency will reign down on liberty, when you yourselves are the very arbiters such bondage. You voted for it. You continue to vote for it. You elect people who openly intend to limit the decision-making of the average citizen in favor of more government power. Don’t start whining about it now that a guy you hate is at the threshold of the White House.
The Bible tells us there is nothing new under the sun. Ain’t that the truth? In 1804, Marshall perfectly described who we’ve become in modern America. I tried to warn you. I have half a mind to vote for Trump just to make sure you get what you asked for.
Liberty works the same for you as it does for me. When you limit your neighbor’s freedom in the name of “justice” or “fairness,” you’re signing the death warrant on your own. Congratulations on becoming the living embodiment of the phrase “What goes around comes around.”