Trump protestors: Ignorance on parade


If I lived in a liberal bastion, instead of conservative Fayette County, I might be risking friendships and other types of backlash by openly admitting I voted for Donald Trump. Lack of tolerance on the left has a long history.

In 1967, Jay Standish, who lives in Mission Viejo, Calif., had just graduated from U.S. Marine Corps Officer Candidate School. While on leave pending his deployment to Vietnam, he took a delightful young lady to see a play, “The Fantastics,” at a small theater in New York, where his last-minute ticket purchase got the remaining seats on the front row.

Wearing his dress blues and looking sharp, he and his date were led by the usher to their seats, quite aware the wave of boos following their progress down the aisle were for the uniform he wore. The girl was mortified and after that night Jay never saw her again.

That disrespect was not much different than the short speech aimed at Vice President-elect Pence last week by the Broadway cast of “Hamilton.” Imagine the cacophony of media outrage had the cast of a play similarly lectured Obama after he was elected.

Leftists seem to be presumptive owners of public policy, thinking of an election loss as theft, and quite intolerant of anyone out of ideological lockstep, now just like 50 years ago during the Vietnam War. There were a thousand ways then to inflict their disapproval, just like today’s disapproval of Trump voters.

A Youtube video shows blacks beating the snot out of a young white lady, purportedly because she voted for Trump, which might be prosecuted as a hate crime if only the races were reversed. A company CEO is backing down from his message to employees their continued employment was not welcome if they voted for Trump, but he has the force of employment law cramming remorse down his throat.

Anti-Trumpers are circulating a list of retailers doing business with Trump, calling for boycotts. Green Day sang at the American Music Awards, “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA,” but what do you expect from a punk rock band? Public sentiment seeps into a million crevices like a rising tide, even when it is wrong.

Meanwhile, anti-Trump protests continue. I don’t mind the notion of people making themselves heard. That is the mess and the noise of freedom.

However, especially at universities, protests contain an alarming message under the surface, even though I don’t expect the media will dig it out since it does not support their pro-Hillary narrative.

I’m not referring to the delicate snowflakes nurtured on campus nowadays by protecting the darlings from speech that might offend their sensibilities. I’m not referring to the entitlement attitude we have sown in our youth, feeding their expectations and inability to graciously cede their loss to fellow citizens with unlike minds.

I’m not even referring to the distasteful lack of civility on the part of angry Hillary voters refusing to acknowledge the process of peaceful transfer of power that was America’s innovation beginning with George Washington.

No, the alarming part is the abject stupidity on the part of college students who should know how and why our Constitution works. The popular vote, whichever way it goes, was not intended to govern. There is a reason for the Electoral College. And dislike of a President-elect is no civilized reason to inflict one’s opinions by force on fellow citizens.

Any college student should already know this. In 1787, after too many years of the dysfunctional Articles of Confederation, representatives of the 13 states gathered in Philadelphia expecting to modify said articles. Instead they embroiled themselves in bitter argument and sweltering summer heat between May 25 to Sept. 17, with windows shut for privacy in their debates.

In the Constitution’s design, democracy was not seriously considered, regarded as shorthand for mob rule. That is the reason we have a republic, wherein representatives we elect make decisions on our behalf, as a buffer between public passions of the moment and government policy. The Electoral College is part of that representative buffer, and serves also to make small states relevant in the process.

There are various versions of a quote by Benjamin Franklin, then 81 years old, the oldest representative at the convention. At the end of the convention, the story goes, as he walked out of the building, a woman asked him, “What kind of government have you given us, Dr. Franklin? A republic or a monarchy?” Franklin’s answer was, “A republic, madam, if you can keep it.” He might consider his own “if you can keep it” words to be prescient if he could return for a look today.

Public ignorance of the Constitution, even among the educated, is America’s self-inflicted wound since we have two going on three generations who have not been required in public school to study the Constitution in a class we from older generations knew as Civics.

I suppose these days it might be considered xenophobic to teach our children the details and tarnished magic of how the Constitution came from a group of flawed men, all the warts and wrinkles and bumps along the way, and how the remarkable part was people debating and deciding how to govern themselves, how to put power in the people, how to limit the power of government, how to protect liberty of the individual and the sanctity of private property.

As part of this we should be teaching why capitalism has been the beacon of freedom and economic boom for the world by harnessing the self-interest of people free to chase wealth, and that socialism and communism have failed because they constrain instead of unleashing human nature.

Instead of focusing on slavery to dismiss this history of America lighting the lamp of freedom to inspire the world, we should be teaching it all, including how states were split in their own self-interest on slavery, how that issue was deferred in order to make a nation, festering until finally it brought the inevitable fight. We should leave out the romantic version with a background of angelic music; we should instead teach it as real as we can, with the central cast full of faults while achieving something monumentally important.

But since the American public has outgrown such pedestrian attitudes such as glorifying the Constitution, know little about it and have no Constitutional frame of reference to judge events like an election that did not go their way, we see them without the discipline of a self-governed people, indulging in anarchy like a spoiled brat stomping his feet for candy. Without a public Constitutional viewpoint, candidates for office get legs based on what feels good to the electorate, not policy that complies with the Constitution.

Without a public Constitutional viewpoint, future elections will stray further away from Constitutional principles, until old farts like me die off and voters follow whatever feels good, letting the American framework be quietly buried with little notice. That’s what worries me and one of the reasons I voted for Trump.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying Donald Trump has ever been Mr. Constitution. I don’t even think he is conservative. In fact, I believe the mainstream media, dedicated to predicting the news and influencing its outcome with little remaining memory of journalism, completely missed the motivation and determination of voters like me.

You see, I harshly criticized Trump during the campaign. To simplify, he doesn’t have the temperament I would choose for a president, or the policies I prefer, but – and here is where the self-appointed intelligentsia missed it by projecting their own elitist thought process on the rest of us – I would have walked through a thousand miles of briar patches to vote against the thoroughly corrupt Clinton machine.

Now that he was successful, I have my fingers crossed that Trump will accomplish some good things, like appointing conservatives to the Supreme Court, putting tough-minded people in key cabinet positions, and rebuilding our military now that it has been turned into a social experiment.

I do believe he will make headway in reversing Obama’s executive order violations of Constitutional balance of power, since Obama’s actions arrogantly supplanted Congress’ exclusive authority to make laws. Congress itself could have done something about that if only they could have pulled their collective finger out of, well, a dark place.

I am hopeful Trump will succeed in killing the decades-long practice of executive departments, like EPA, from promulgating significant regulations with far-reaching impact, as they have done without Congressional oversight and approval. Executive departments churn out thousands of pages of regulation to control our lives, which is a bit like “taxation without representation” since our elected representatives in Congress are left out of the loop.

These and other things are corrections Trump can make as President, and I hope he succeeds. I am most gratified so far that Marine legend “Mad-Dog” Mattis, a warrior’s general, is the apparent nominee for Secretary of Defense. The Pentagon might have its very own earthquake on the horizon.

Personally, I have my doubts the Trump honeymoon with conservatives will last long, and I expect the media will endeavor to tear him apart daily. I do expect he will do some good, but as to the recovery of our country, my belief is Trump is too little, too late. I’ll save those detailed thoughts for another column.

[Terry Garlock of Peachtree City occasionally contributes a column to The Citizen.]