Saving the American Republic

God Bless America

By Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster

Benjamin Franklin, one of our nation’s greatest founding fathers, was asked by a resident of Philadelphia after the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Franklin replied famously, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

In the wee hours of this morning, we learned that God the Holy Trinity had bestowed an extraordinary gift of grace upon our American Republic through the much maligned American electorate—a second chance to reverse the cultural, moral, and political slide that we, the people of the United States, have allowed—and even fostered—during the last few decades, a second chance to keep our Republic alive and to revive the unique American spirit that celebrates faith, family, community, patriotism, and liberty and justice for all as participants in the American experiment in ordered liberty.

As faithful Christians, as well as good Americans, we must always remember the wisdom of King David in ancient Israel: “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs, he returns to his earth; on that very day his plans perish” (Pslams 146:3-4, LXX). No king or queen, prince or princess, elected man or woman merits the faith and love that is due to God the Holy Trinity alone. But we may still hope that our political leaders will open their hearts to the Holy Spirit and let Him work wonders through them. Sometimes hope is a worthwhile plan.

The fictional character Captain John H. Miller’s last words to PFC James Francis Ryan in what I have described as “the greatest anti-war pro-soldier film” ever made, Saving Private Ryan, are these: “Earn this”

My prayer to Almighty God today, after the most grueling, exhausting, mean-spirited, and divisive presidential election in my memory dating back to 1960, is that we, all of us, will accept the gift the same way that a grateful PFC Ryan does in that uniquely moving film.

Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster, Ph.D., is a retired U.S. Army chaplain (Colonel) and parish priest of St. Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church, Stafford, Virginia.

Comments

  1. Alexander Patico :

    Fr Alex speaks of a chance “to revive the unique American spirit that celebrates faith, family, community, patriotism, and liberty and justice for all.” Is he saying that the ascension of Mr. Trump, one of the least religious candidates of recent memory, with his third wife at his side, who has demonstrated often that self comes before nation (whether in avoiding military service or avoiding paying taxes), and who denigrates many of those who are seeking liberty and justice (immigrants, gays, minorities, those with disabilities), or who have fought for it (such as Sen. McCain)….THIS is our big opportunity? That seems a stretch to me. I am willing to do what I can to ensure that the next four years hold some good things for the American people — even if Trump gets the credit — but seeing this election as a “gift” is like seeing a bad report from your doctor as a chance to learn from adversity; it’s true, sort of….but…

    • Fr. Johannes Jacobse :

      Political correctness has enthralled the minds of otherwise good people in a vice-like cultic grip. It’s a kind of secular pietism where the individual is subsumed to the group. It requires the victimization of one group by others in order to devalue liberty and crush the independence of thought and spirit necessary for liberty to flourish. The puppet masters understand this but those who dance to the pull of their strings become slaves who believe they are free and conclude that the approval of the group and its masters creates virtue.

    • Alexander, nice recitation of Clinton talking points. Trump ran as a populist, he will govern, if given a chance and he does not self-destruct, as a pragmatist and (horrors) as a nationalist. Don’t faint.

      His major policy points enunciated in his Gettysburg speech deserve careful and thoughtful consideration. His first priority to repeal and replace that odious piece of social engineering called Obamacare or as I like to call it the unaffordable careless act is a great idea.

      The government of a nation has the responsibility to control borders, protect culture and enact policies that enhance the life of its citizens. Which includes the citizens still in the womb.

      Hillary is a traitor and an advocate for unlimited abortion which makes her a racist BTW.

      Trump will not suceed 100%. No President ever does because God is merciful. He will do things which I will not agree with. Duh.

      It is doubtful he will be the ideological, whimpy nihilist that Hillary represents. Do not forget that she was supported by an actual Nazi sympathizer George Soros whose campaign to undermine nations and the rule of law is aggressive, well planned and extremely well funded by money he made in illegal currency manipulation that severely impacted several third world countries.

      Alexander, there is actual evil in the world. Clinton is an agent of that evil: calling for the suppression of Christians and unlimited abortion are the most obvious examples of that evil.

      Trump voters are being vilified as uneducated, ignorant, stupid and white. I am white as the world judges those things.

      But, if that is not a racist statement, I do not know what is.

      Ever see the movie “Network”. I (and many like me) got mad as hell and decided for once not to take the condescending, bigoted, murderous snobs who deign to rule us, the herd.

      Trump may turn out to be one of them or be seduced into joining them but for now he is not acting like one.

  2. I find this type of rethoric from an Orthodox blog very disturbing. My Orthodox faith has taught me that we lead by example. If you are telling me DJT is a example the Orthodox find acceptable it saddens me greatlt. You ask why the young are leaving the church. I thought it was just the evangelicals. Lord have mercy.

  3. Michael Bauman :

    Panyiota of course Donald Trump is not a virtuous example of a Christian man. We have had very few of those as President: John Adams, Rutherford B Hayes and James Garfield. We have had some rather worse than Trump. LBJ for one, Woodrow Wilson for another and of course Kennedy and Slick Willy.

    Your hand wringing is simply ideological presentism.

    God uses even non-believers to protect the Church. At least Mike Pence is a Christian. Trump plans to propose repeal of the Johnson amendment that threatens churches with loss of their tax exemption for speaking out on matters of public interest.

    Hillary said on a number of occasions that the dogmatic beliefs of Christianity are ignorant, archaic and hateful and she would use the power of government to force change in us.

    She favors abortion up to the last possible moment even those babies who, if not killed, would be considered delivered by Ceaserian section.

    Her beliefs should be anathema to any Christian.

    Originally I was planning a protest vote against both candidates, but it was the sloppy, self-righteous “reasoning” of folks like you that compelled me to vote for Trump.

    He is not a shinning star. At best he gives us some time to fast, repent and grow stronger in order to face the coming oppression.

    We had the candidates we had because we long ago gave up on virtue as a prerequisite for public office. Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover were the last Presidents even remotely in that category.

    I for one am weary of the pusillanimous mealy- mouth rhetoric of too many of our Orthodox Bishops and priests some who even speak in favor of accepting homoerotic behavior and unions as equivalent to Christian marriage.

    Read any of St. John Chrysostom’s sermons lately.

    Being Orthodox does not comport well with any political ideology, but it sure does not fit with the nihilist vision of the Orwellian named “progressives”.

    Let us not forget that Hillary’s husband is a serial sexual abuser, perhaps even a rapist. Hillary enables that behavior and excuses it.

    The Orthodox Church is not a universalist organization. We have always been nationalist. Our failure to realize that continues to handicap us in the US.

    May God have mercy.

  4. The Republic of the United States was never ‘christian’, at least since the immediate adoption of the Bill of Rights which sanctions ‘individuality’ as the highest good.
    True Christianity is ALWAYS in community, in which the individual subordinately serves, and is served. It has never been about the celebration of ignorance.
    It seems, Father, that your prior paycheck has blinded you, as it has to many, many which have been part of the war machine, to this reality.

    Lord, have mercy.

    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster :

      Mr. / Ms. / Mx “kLutz” (a self-deprecating moniker that I hope is not your true name), you insinuate that my more than 24 years of military service as an Army chaplain–including my last five years regularly in and out of harm’s way in Afghanistan and Iraq–were merely the work of an American mercenary. That’s strong stuff even from a genuine pacifist who objects on religious and moral, not political, grounds to the killing of human beings under all circumstances. I must wonder, however, whether you are, indeed, such a principled pacifist and whether you have ever volunteered to put on a military uniform to defend the people of the United States, the vast majority of whom are Christian of one kind or another, from enemies such as Imperial Japan, the Third Reich, the USSR and international communism, or, most recently, the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and ISIS.

  5. I couldn’t bring myself to vote for either Trump or Clinton and voted 3rd party, but truthfully I am encouraged by at least the possible opportunity to have one more conservative on the supreme court. What I find especially telling is how the tolerant left reacted when they lost. I find the hateful, violent riots and assassination talk by the left hypocritical after all the fear mongering that the right were so hateful and violent! The left increasingly continues to push government control into destroying the traditional family values into the classroom and health care system…That is totalitarianism and anti-Christian.

    Secondly, since I am neither right nor left… I found that many of the main stream news would take his speeches out of context and the newspapers would portray him as Hitler…this was just simply propaganda. Likewise, folks on the right would exaggerate liberal politicians and that too is propaganda. However, too many have bought into this propaganda that Trump is against gays and people with disabilities. Again, the hypocrisy from those who support Clinton who takes money from countries that actually kill gays and people with disabilities is beyond me. Wikileaks emails shows them in writing that they are hateful, perverting their own charity for personal gain, in corruption with media correspondents, bigoted in their own emails against minorities, and accepting of countries that actually kill minorities…WORSE than the claims they themselves have against Trump.

    So while the emotional hemophiliac snowflakes have a meltdown…I am starting to think… this shoe stinks much less than the other one we could have had with Clinton.

  6. Wow, celebration of ignorance? What a kind, Christian thought.

    We have never been Christian nation. You got that right but not for the reasons you cite which simply parrots a Marxist approach, not Christian.

    The principals of Federalism were designed to foster strong, diverse political communities acting in concert with each other, not unlike the Hebrew nation prior to the Kingdom period, the Greek city-states and the Iroquois Confederacy. Voluntary communal ascent was theoretically required for the national government to do anything. Under the Articles of Confedertation, it operated that way. The Constitution replaced it precisely to compell individuals and lessor governing entities to acceed to the national will, that is to say the federal government. It was the greatest peaceful consolidation of centralized government power in history. That consolidation was completed during the Civil War. It has been perfected since.

    However, there was a concerted rejection of Jesus Christ as incarnate Lord, God and Savior in favor of a moralistic approach which was grounded in the individual but had not yet reached the level of today’s individualism. The moral rectitude of the populace was thought to counter-balance the temptations to overreach by those in power. Christian morals including the quest for virtue, self-control and self-sacrifice were championed even by notable non-Christians..

    Today’s individualism creates many misreadings of the Constitution such as Roe vs Wade and all of the other “rights” nonsense up to and including the “right” to homoerotic behaviour and unions.

    Do not forget the first words of the Preamble to the Constitution: “We the people, in order to form a more perfect Union…” As understood then, an individual’s freedom came from God, was given to us so we could grow in virtue (happiness) and was expressed politically through the states acting in concert to form a nation.

    As to war, Donald Trump is less likely to send us to war than Hillary. If he stays true to his nationalism there will be a clear defensive reason for going to war and he might even ask Congress to declare war. The request for the communal approval of the American citizenry expressed through our representatives.

    Hillary and those who espouse a neo-Wilsonian ideal of progress are the warmongers. Hillary because she is a globalist sponsored by people like George Soros (an actual Nazi sympathizer and collaborater). The neo-cons, the Republicans who did not support Trump, because of their own delusions of grandeur and lust of power.

    So, we have a Constitutionally elected President whom many people don’t like and don’t trust, yet he is our President.

    What is the individualistic response and what is the Christian response?

    • Peter A. Papoutsis :

      Michael Bauman! YOU VOTED AND YOU VOTED FOR TRUMP! I knew it. I knew you were too good and faithful of a Christian to sit this one out. And your voice! I have missed your voice!

      We have been given a reprive. Let’s not squander it, but loudly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to our nation.

      Peter A. Papoutsis

      • Well Peter, thank you. Not sure what you mean by my voice either. But don’t be too gleeful. On the state and local level races I voted NONE. I wrote myself in for one race.

        The rest was all nonsense. Clowns to the man.

        Still, given Trump would have gotten Kansas 6 electoral votes without me, I could have carried through but I could not acquiesce to the evil Hillary serves.

        I do grieve for her though for she is now totally alone looking into the abyss of nothingness. Even if she won’t admit it yet. Slick Willy will be secretly or not so secretly gloating over her failure. It is deeply sad.

        May God’s mercy restore her and comfort her.

        • Peter A. Papoutsis :

          “Your voice” comment was I haven’t heard you this passionate for a while. I agree with you o the rest.

          • Michael Bauman :

            The more I thought about it, the more I read the statements of folks who were abstaining the more uncomfortable I became. The turning point came for me on a Sunday in a discussion with a monastic friend of mine. He made the comment that one does not vote for the lesser of two evils but for the one who will do the least damage.

            From the perspective of the Church and the secular- nihilist attacks on us, Trump will clearly do the least damage.

            When one considers abortion, the choice is even more starkly clear.

            I can understand folks not voting for Trump, what I cannot understand is Christians who excuse or even support Hillary and the nihilist vision she and her supporters have. That vision and the ideology that animates it is totally antithetical to Christ and His Church and what it means to be human.

            I don’t believe that Trump will actually be able to enact much of his policy nor even intends to. But if he stays true to his judicial appointments AND they actually vote as expected. That will help.

            But, the ravening beast is still after us and Trump is more friendly with him than most want to admit.

            Trump will be a one term President in all likelyhood. Four years is a short reprieve.

            Lord have mercy.

            • Peter A. Papoutsis :

              Short or long we must make the best of the time we have been given.

              As for the rest I wish I had an answer for you. I’m just as stumped as you are.

              Peter

              • Michael Bauman :

                Peter I ask your prayers my brother for me to be more constant in prayer and repentance.

                We must look to the darkness in our own hearts and lift up our nation and her leaders in prayer that wisdom and strength be granted, that they have the humility to hear and for the salvation of their souls.

                Trump will be a very different man at the end of his Presidency– either broken or transformed to one degree or another.

                There is, I believe an opportunity for Hillary to save her soul. Loosing the Presidency leaves you alone in a unique way. Suddenly, you have no friends, no power, no influence. It is standing on the edge of the abyss. I pray for her that she not fall in. That she he restored to her humanity and led to true repentance.

                God is merciful. May His mercy save and transform us and our country. Forgive us for we know not what we do.

  7. Gregory Manning :

    This line from Father’s article should not be overlooked for a better understanding of where he is coming from.
    ” But we may still hope that our political leaders will open their hearts to the Holy Spirit and let Him work wonders through them. Sometimes hope is a worthwhile plan.”
    As I recall, throughout Biblical and Church history, God has worked with some pretty repellent individuals to work His will.

  8. Greetings all,

    Haven’t popped in here for quite awhile but I have some new projects in the works and I thought I’d take a look at what was happening on Fr. Hans’ blog.

    To Fr. Alexander, Michael B and to those who are concerned about Trump’s Christian morality:

    I know what Trump is. I did not vote for him because I am not a small “d” democrat and thus I’m not into elections. Trump has named Reince Priebus, of Orthodox/German/Greek heritage as Senior Strategist and Counselor (sort of like “consigliere”). He has named Steve Bannon as Chief of Staff. Google Bannon. He has alt right connections.

    This will upset some, console others and confuse many. I’m convinced that Trump is a Rightist, and a serious, committed one. Everything in his platform (what we know about it) and public pronouncements points to this.

    The Left will and are painting him as a Fascist. According to their definitions, they are accurate. However, according to the accepted norms of political science, they are off the mark. The closest analogy who comes to mind, besides Putin, is Franco. Neither are/were fascists.

    Let us examine what has transpired because I don’t really think that either the Left or the Right and certainly not the Center has much of any idea what just happened. It is seismic.

    America has never had a Right Wing. Lately, on the “right”, America has had Rockafeller Republicans, Reagan Republicans and neo-cons. None of these are really Rightists.

    American Conservatism has always been the lapdog of American Progressive Liberalism. In fact, it is more accurate to call American Conservatism, “American Conservative Liberalism”. Classical conservatism was monarchial. It was based on the unitary concept and fostered unitary thinking. Much of post-Enlightenment thinking in the West has been dualistic and almost all of American political history has been so.

    True Fascism is also Dualistic. It’s Dualism is a product of its Totalitarianism. In substituting the state for God, the totalitarian declares war on human nature and nature itself as well as God. That is also true of Hitler’s Fascism and the Fascism that Mussolini’s thought developed into. In the end, Mussolini measured all things not by God but by the state, even insisting on referring to the Leader of the state with capitalized pronouns, as if he were a god.

    Rightists are a different breed entirely but are often confused with Fascists. We (since I am a convinced monarchist, I consider myself a Rightist as well) are certainly authoritarians and prefer autocracy. However, the core principle of Rightism, among a few other things, is a dominant executive. That is absolutely essential. Putin’s “sovereign democracy” and the Regency under Franco are both examples of this form of government. It is constitutional monarchy flipped on its head. Instead of a figure head executive (the Crown) from whom power technically emanates and who has the formalities of control, sovereign democracy has a compliant legislature (and judiciary) from whom power technically emanates (the “representative” factor) and who have a formal say in what happens. But make no mistake, power in a constutional monarchy is de facto centered in the parliament and power in the sovereign (i.e., monarchial) democracy is de facto centered in the executive.

    Right and Left refer to the seating arrangements in the French Parliament. The monarchists took the rightmost seats, the republicans, et al., the leftward ones.

    Again, Fascism is not Rightist, strictly speaking. It is dualistic, makes no room for God and is really a modernist project of the Enlightenment which measures all things by man. Having lost faith in God, the Fascist posits the ideology and Leader as divine. Rightism is really just a modern manifestation of the divine right of kings, modified minimally, mostly in nomenclature and formal structures, for the current age which sees kings and emperors as passe.

    On November 8, 2016, a critical mass of the American electorate spread across the vast majority of the territory of the United States voted a Rightist into power.

    Trump is not particularly religious (most kings aren’t), but has joined forces with the cultural right in terms of legislating morality. At least that was the platform he ran on. He, as all kings/Rightists understand, must control/harness capital as an engine of the state to benefit the people. This is the basis of his popular appeal and the source of the fears of the Left that he is a Fascist. This policy is also characteristic of Fascists. Thus he will do some type of tax reform, but he really doesn’t have anything against big government. Rightists, as well as Fascists, believe in a controlled welfare state. He will replace Obamacare with another universal healthcare system which is more fiscally sound, but he is not a rabid privatizer by any means.

    In terms of trade, he has been open in his insistence (and that is the right word) on reciprocal trade policy. Multi-national corporations cannot be a separate source of sovereignty in a healthy state. That has become the situation in America and the West as it was under the oligarchs in Russia in the 1990’s under Yeltsin. That era will soon come to an end if Trump is successful.

    Political correctness will also come to an end as a norm in American society. Rightists are by no means tolerant of intolerance of traditional values. That, and the inherent conflict with MNC’s and the Progressive Left, will likely cause tremendous social strife in America in the next few years. I will be very surprised if it is not much more violent than the late 1960’s.

    But Trump has the wind at his back. Look at what conservatives like Bill Krystol are saying about him now. They are behaving much more deferentially than before. This is because Trump astonished them in what he did. This is not appreciated by most outside of those who have a very sensitive ear to political dynamics.

    Trump spent only the amount of money he needed to in order to get the minimal number of electoral votes (states) he needed to assure him of a comfortable electoral college victory. He had more resources (obviously). He was absolutely cock-sure going into the final weeks. He threatened his political opponent with immanent incarceration if he were elected. That’s certainty.

    His machine had it figured practically down to the household as to what he needed to do in order to win. Again, he wasn’t particularly concerned with the popular vote. That would be an extravagant expense. He just wanted to close the deal.

    He could have gotten more votes if he had wanted them.

    The Master Persuader thesis that is going around is not far from the mark. That also feeds into the fears of Fascism. He is very intelligent.

    So, that’s my assessment. I’m working on ways to facilitate his little project. I’m starting a National Unity Movement website and blog in order to educate people about what is going on because there will be a lot of anxiety along the way. I’m not sure if he can accomplish what he really intents to do (assuming I am right). But his personality indicates to me that he will do everything possible, no matter how improbably, to expand executive power during his probable two terms.

    I think he will act with general respect for old fashioned American values. However the transition from binary thinking (factionalism, the thing that makes America look schizophrenic to the world) to unitary thinking will be very difficult for Americans. If he is successful, the Democratic Party will recede from national power and party system in the United States will look much more like the Russian Federation with one dominant party and several other satellite parties of loyal opposition.

    I could be wrong about all of this, but I doubt it.

    • Trump remains me of Justinian’s governor of the East, John of Cappdoician not that moralistc of a person but effective. John was worst than Trump in morality.

      • The Cappadocian was indeed lascivious, but he was always dependent on someone else for security. Trump is no ones employee. In fact, I dare say, he will not consider himself, in his heart, an employee of the people of the United States, but rather a benevolent Cincinnatus coming in to save the day. Given the fact that he engineered his own election almost right down to the last necessary household, that’s probably accurate.

  9. The thing that will confuse people is that Trumpism will look like Centrism sometimes. In fact, he may want to sell it as that. His economics are not those of the American Conservative movement. It is not that he is a socialist. Far from it. He believes in a private as well as a public sector and he believes in economic hierarchies or “classes” in the sense that some will earn more than others, whether inherited, labor earned or earned through investment. People exert industrious effort, their talents and intellects to varying degrees and with varying degrees of success. I don’t believe Trump is outcome determinative as is socialism.

    But he will support a healthy welfare state as do all Rightists. He will just limit it to sustainable levels and priorities. Fair taxes (not at a rate that discourages investment or effort) and fair trade (reciprocal trade, giving American companies protections against the effect of lower standards of wages and benefits in other countries).

    The battle lines will be more cultural: Race, feminism, sexual orientation.

    I don’t believe Trump is a racist who hates women and those burdened with deviant sexual attractions. However, I also do not believe he will tolerate a social/legal apparatus of affirmative action, race hustling, gender blurring and feminist social and economic policy, nor will he tolerate rights based on the proclivity to sexual deviance.

    Class crits will be the least offended by his policies since he has no bias against redistribution of wealth within certain limited parameters. True socialists, those committed to the abolition of private property and the disappearance of de facto economic classes, will hate him as well. But this is a smaller group of people than you might think.

    He will co-opt all those who are not impacted adversely by these policies as well as those who have no ideologically opposed convictions. That is a lot of people. It will include the vast majority of those who are not black or latino, committed feminists or politically active LGBT-ists. Furthermore, he will co-opt many latinos, the vast majority of married women and gays.

    That’s a big base.

    What else will differentiate Trumpism?

    I do not see any way around the necessity he will have to consolidate the power of the executive vis a vis the other branches of government and vis a vis adversarial interest groups. Groups that support the above minorities and/or wish for MNC’s to dominate national government policy. This is the bitter edge to him that will be hard for some to swallow:

    To accomplish what he intends to do, he must not be hamstrung by what some consider “civil liberties”. He will be the ACLU’s worst nightmare. But in order for him to push his agenda through, he will have to push “by any means necessary”. I expect he will use the Constitution to his benefit, but I doubt he will respect it if it gets in the way of his priorities. He will push it as far as he thinks he needs to to win. Therein lies the danger and the reason I predict serious social conflict. Trump can’t succeed, obtain a second term or leave a legacy if he respects the current American edifice of constitutional protections as they are understood by the mainstream.

    This does not concern me but it will many. But a Rightist does not believe that just power or authority emanates from the will and consent of the people but rather from Providence.

    • Hi, Misha,

      I agree with you right up to the point where you assume Mr. Trump will do violence to the Constitution.

      a. He has prevented himself from doing this by committing to appoint Supreme Court justices who will not permit it.

      b. The Trump agenda is inherently Constitutional. He doesn’t need to “bend” it, because it’s on his side. When you say “the mainstream” in terms of understanding of Constitutional protections, I would hasten to assert that the entrenched elites who have usurped control of the culture do not, as we discovered in this election (most dramatically at the local level), speak for the mainstream. Reflect that even Mr. Soros’ rioters have to be paid to riot.

      c. The “new base” you predict is what America is all about. I agree with your conclusion that this is what Mr. Trump intends. He will not, however, be able to establish that base unless he brings our tripartite system of government–the Legislative, Executive and Judicial–back into proper balance. He would be regarded by the very people he hopes to bring together as “just another Obama.” So his approach must be not to continue an Obamesque usurpation of power, but to restore the legitimate exercise of Presidential power to the Executive. He will almost certainly use executive orders and actions to overturn Mr. Obama’s many transgressions of the line, but I believe he will not use them to ignore and circumvent Congressional legislation. And, again, this is something his own Supreme Court appointees would not permit him to get away with.

      d. The American Right is cognizant of the fact that our nation was actually born in the Mayflower Compact. In this, the inherent dignity of man as made in God’s Image and Likeness was affirmed. A Christian nation was assumed, and the will and consent of a people who sought God on a daily basis as a matter of course was thought the best way to prevent tyranny. These assumptions are reflected in the Constitution and in the Declaration of Independence. Our fallenness produced entropy, and accordingly this assumption has in our time been demoted to an aspiration. What survives is the consciousness that our public officials are rightly our employees, not our masters, and that government by consent of the governed is how we were founded and how it should be. That this cannot be done without, at the very least, freedom to practice and promote one’s religion or philosophy in the marketplace of actions and ideas (free exercise), is simply part of the package.

      Great reflection, Misha. I enjoyed reading it.

      • Fr. James,

        You are a bit more idealistic than I. I am convinced that the American Constitutional project was a well-intentioned failure and that, if Trump is successful, it will not be a change in administration but a change in the form of government. I’m all for that, since I do not believe that his policies can be implemented in any other fashion.

        The degree of executive power which Trump’s trade and foreign policy would require, not to mention his probable domestic efforts to end affirmative action, LGBT initiatives and various forms of legislated feminism, is likely incompatible with our Constitutional framework as it is presently understood. Co-opting those liberals he can on welfare state policies and fair trade, he still will come up short regarding international relations and domestic social issues. Abiding by our current understanding of the Constitution would leave his entire enterprise a house of cards with no staying power, no legacy, just dust in the wind.

        That is why I am encouraged by some of his early appointments. Bannon in particular surely realizes the limitation of executive power inherent in a “good faith” reading of our Constitution. I do not expect them to be restrained by that any more than the left has been.

        They drew first blood.

        When (not if) Trump finds himself stymied by seemingly insurmountable Constitutional obstacles, he will overcome them. I have a certain faith in the fact that he wants to make a big impact as “The Donald”, “the Artful Dealmaker”. Legalistic niceties will not deter him so long as the political will is there to move it forward without a constitutional crisis.

        Now, if push comes to shove and there is a constitutional crisis (as there very nearly was over Hillary’s crimes and this election), I’m not sure what he would do.

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