Sunday, January 29, 2017

Why Trump has the potential to be the greatest president in living memory

I've stated many times that I don't care for Trump.  This past week he's done some things that have me scratching my head, like proposing a 20% tariff on Mexican goods to pay for a border wall and claiming that will make Mexicans pay for the wall when the tax will be paid by Americans, not Mexicans. 

You may be wondering with that intro what impressed me this week.  It's a concept that Trump expressed in a position paper that many Americans don't know or have forgotten.  It's all but dead in American law schools.  It was expressed in September, but people seem to have discovered it more recently.

We'll get to his statements in just a bit, but let me introduce the concept, one we've discussed before in prior posts.  There are rights that were part of the colonist's heritage.  They were tradition, considered natural or inalienable rights.  They weren't granted by anyone, but governments were expected to respect them, as they weren't granted by governments, but rather by the very nature of being human.  These rights pre-existed the Constitution.  They weren't granted by it, but rather guaranteed by it.  That means they also can't be taken away by amending the Constitution.  I've heard historians say that the Bill of Rights was objected to by several of the founders not because the guarantees were bad, but because they felt all Americans understood these rights, and infringement upon them would result in another revolution.  I'm so happy they ratified the Bill of Rights anyway.  They had no idea how a hundred years of reeducation would affect the average American's understanding of her rights.

Benjamin Franklin commented on the freedom to express one's thoughts as a fundamental principle for any free country a half century before the 1st Amendment was introduced:

"This sacred privilege is so essential to free Governments, that the Security of Property, and the Freedom of Speech always go together; and in those wretched Countries where a Man cannot call his Tongue his own, he can scarce call any Thing else his own." The full letter is available here.

Once again, the right pre-existed the Constitution and was guaranteed by it.  You can repeal the words in the Constitution, but you can't change the natural law.  The right exists whether it's guaranteed on paper or not.

What Trump Said in his Position Paper
“The Second Amendment to our Constitution is clear. The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed upon. Period,” the position paper began.

Trump went on to explain that the right to keep and bear arms is a right that pre-existed both the government and the Constitution, noting that government didn’t create the right and therefore cannot take it away.

He also rightly denoted the Second Amendment as “America’s first freedom,” pointing out that it helps protect all of the other rights we hold dear.

From Conservative Tribune
I confirmed with a second source, though many don't trust this one anymore:
On September 18 Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump released a position paper on gun policy in which he stated, “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed…period.”

Trump explained that our Founding Fathers protected Second Amendment rights in this way because the sanctity of all other fundamental rights rests on the existence of a people who are free and therefore armed. To put it plainly, Trump said, “The Right to Keep and Bear Arms protects all our other rights.”

He used the position paper to remind Americans that the United States is “the only country in the world that has a Second Amendment”–the only country in the whole world in which the right to keep and bear arms is recognized as a natural, individual right upon which the government cannot infringe. Trump echoes the sentiment of Founding Father James Madison here. It was Madison who used Federalist 46 to describe the “advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation.”

It should also be noted that Trump understands that the Second Amendment does not create a right. Rather, that amendment recognizes pre-existing rights and protects them from government intrusion. In light of this view of the Second Amendment, it should come as no surprise that Trump’s entire gun policy rests on expanding the exercise of gun rights rather than expanding the presence of gun control.

From Breitbart
If Donald Trump truly understands and believes this, it is as he would put it, "Yuge."  This would mean he understands the Constitution's origin and intent, not just the words on the page.  I have a hard time believing this given how he's used the Kelo decision in private business, yet no president in my memory has expressed so clear an understanding of the sanctity of our rights.  I don't even recall President Reagan articulating this, though readers are welcome to correct me.

Looking at the bullet points of President Trump's expressed opinion is also encouraging:
* Nominate United States Supreme Court justices that will abide by the rule of law and the Constitution of the United States that includes upholding the Second Amendment.

* Defend the rights of law-abiding gun owners:
  • Military bases and recruiting centers - to have a strong military, we need to allow them to defend themselves
  • National right to carry – should be legal in all 50 states
  • Background checks - we need to fix the system we have and make it work as intended. What we don’t need to do is expand a broken system.
  • Gun and magazine bans - the government has no business dictating what types of firearms good, honest people are allowed to own
Once again, if he truly means this and understands it, it's very encouraging, and President Trump has the potential to be the best President in living memory.  I'm jaded enough politically not to get too excited, but I sure would love factory capacity magazines for my firearms and to see some of California's ridiculous restrictions stricken down.

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