In the midst of this weekend’s attack in London, Donald Trump made what equates to a rational person’s impassioned plea for “the courts to give us back our rights.” Though the president’s tweet was book-ended by his normal gauche ranting, it was the first thought of substance coming from the White House since Barack Obama’s departure in January.
We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 3, 2017 (emphasis added)
The press and public have grown accustomed to Trump’s gelatinous ramblings that waver like dessert on a tray. Therefore, it is both surprising and difficult to ascertain when anything of legitimate or coherent consequence oozes from the tiny lump of grey matter in the president’s thick orange skull.
It is painfully difficult to admit, but Trump’s Saturday night tweet was the first thing he has ever expressed that America should agree with and support. We do need the courts to give us back our rights, fairly, equally, and constitutionally across the board.
Trumps tweet went viral Saturday night for other reasons. Primarily because he referenced the travel ban (full disclosure: the Dogs fell for it like everyone else) and of the callous timing of the tweet (ditto). If not for the outrage over the president’s ill timed and poorly conceived tweet, his private — and perhaps Freudian (worried much Donald?) — perception of the courts and rights may have fallen by the wayside.
While the tweet was likely an expression of Trump’s hyper-egotistical need for added power, it makes a very important and subtle admission. Americans have lost too many rights in the past several decades. The government machine has been eroding fundamental rights at a pace that is generational, and thus nearly imperceptible. Trump may someday lament his tweet because it exposes the stark reality of the condition of the country. It essentially validates 90% of what is wrong with America and Trump’s presidency.
If asked to enumerate the rights in need of restoration, Trump would likely not do so eloquently. However, the following suggestions present as essential benchmarks in the current political atmosphere — in case the president cannot recall what the Constitution guarantees and what every American expects, deserves, and is entitled to:
- We need an absolute guarantee that our First Amendment rights will never be infringed upon; and that regardless of what we express about the president, it will be allowed and respected as hallowed speech; and that a free press shall forever be an inherent part of political transparency as America’s greatest protection against fraud, injustice, and the destruction of democracy.
- We need to know that when we vote, it will count for the candidate who wins an election, and not the one who loses. We need to restore corporate money and super-PAC limits to resurrect the inviolability of free and fair elections.
- We need to know that, no matter what color our skin, or what religious emblem we display, or what clothing we don, we will be treated equally and without prejudice — and that we will not be banned from our own country because of these.
- We need to accept that there are two — or three or four — sexes, but that each will be recognized and encouraged to make choices about their bodies; and that they will share in equal opportunities for their entire lives, from making a decision about an abortion to seeing the same wages on a paycheck to choosing a restroom.
- We need protection from unlawful police conduct, searches, and seizures; from black-ops FISA courts; and from secret or sealed indictments. We need to know that our homes will not be seized for profit in the name of public domain.
- We need renewed assurances and direction that the Fifth Amendment invocations against self-incrimination will be protected in all criminal prosecutions; and that the accused shall be afforded reasonable bails, balanced juries, and the competent assistance of counsel; and that race, sex, or status will not decide a criminal prosecution.
- We need to know that civil rights will be enforced equally by all government agencies; and that police brutality, corruption, lying, and prosecutorial misconduct to gain convictions will not be tolerated at any level.
The challenge for Trump will be to stand by his statement when presented with an issue he does not like or agree with. He does not easily accept the premise of equality over entitlement. For the rest of us, it is to forget for a moment that it is Trump, the president, a billionaire who is asking for rights. As abhorrent as he is, for his request to be fulfilled, the same rights must apply equally to him as all others. That is the fundamental basis of America. We do need the courts to give us back our rights, but only equally for all, regardless of money, power, influence, or title.
Hint to the White House Press Corps: The Dogs would love for Sean Spicer to list the president’s specific thoughts on which rights to restore and to whom.