The end of the Mueller investigation into the existence of collusion between Russia and the presidential campaign of Donald Trump — which found no such collusion — is an opportunity for a new beginning of the Trump presidency.
As such, it’s worthwhile to contemplate what the federal government is supposed to be doing, and to contemplate what courses of action will best bring us closer to our national goals.
In the early years of our republic it was more generally understood that it was useful periodically to return to first principles, so that when confronted with a myriad of issues and problems, the American people did not lose their way.
Accordingly, it’s helpful to revisit the preamble to our federal Constitution, which nicely limns what we are about. In its entirety, and with its original punctuation, it provides that "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
It's the job, then, of the national government both to provide for the "general Welfare" and promote individual "Liberty" of the "People of the United States."
It's no wonder that our politics is often divisive, given that the very aims of the Constitution contain within themselves contrary imperatives. Our government is charged with both establishing "Justice," which could, of course, involve substantial redistribution of resources, but also it is tasked with insuring domestic "Tranquility," which argues for the maintenance of the status quo.
Finally, the federal government’s obligations to "maintain a more perfect Union" and "provide for the common defence" remind us that our framers understood that they were creating a new nation, and that the purpose of their undertaking was to serve the interests of the people of that nation.
The federal Constitution is a blueprint for a nation, not a charter for world government.
It places the national interest first, and it's that patriotic appeal which actually accounts for the election of Donald Trump and the continued strong support of his base, motivated by his brilliant, if admittedly somewhat saccharine, promise to "Make America Great Again."
The fabricated charge of collusion, a heinous plot concocted by Democratic partisans and their allies in the intelligence and law enforcement communities, was a betrayal of our belief in popular sovereignty itself. The perpetrators deserve to be punished, but that effort should not distract us from our overriding national goals.
We cannot secure domestic tranquility until we solve the crisis on our southern border, and until we reform our chain migration and immigration lottery system. We cannot establish justice until we return to a jurisprudential understanding that ours is a government of laws and not one of whim perpetrated by judges making policy instead of following the rules provided for in the Constitution itself — and in our statutes.
We cannot provide for the general welfare if we continue to be riven by domestic discord and if one of our parties continues to refuse to accept the legitimacy of the other and its president.
It's difficult to imagine that we will long enjoy the blessings of liberty if the advocates for socialism in our country succeed, given the horrors that form of government has universally perpetrated.
There are a few wise leaders among the Democrats who have understood that they do not further the long term interests of their party if they persist simply in harassing the president.
Still, some of their party seem unmoved, as they engage in absurd exercises such as demanding the President’s tax returns and those of his businesses, or engaging in a continuing snipe hunt for further evidence of engagement with foreign foes or for further evidence of purported obstruction of the investigation of a crime that never existed.
A nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all individuals are created equal ought to be able to remember the altruistic aims of our founding and ought to be capable of rising above the politics of personal destruction, calumny, and distraction.
Fortunately, even with the absurd Mueller investigation hampering the administration for the last two years, it was able to push through regulatory and tax reform that have brought us low unemployment and continuing economic expansion.
There is ongoing obstruction of justice in our country, but it is not being perpetrated by the president. Rather it is the misconduct of those in Congress who continue to pursue their narrow partisan ends and who refuse to join in what should be a collaborative effort to implement our longstanding national goals.
Stephen B. Presser is the Raoul Berger Professor of Legal History Emeritus at Northwestern’s Pritzker School of Law, the Legal Affairs Editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, and a contributor to The University Bookman. He graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and has taught at Rutgers University, the University of Virginia, and University College, London. He has often testified on constitutional issues before committees of the United States Congress, and is the author of "Recapturing the Constitution: Race, Religion, and Abortion Reconsidered" (Regnery, 1994) and "Law Professsors: Three Centuries of Shaping American Law" (West Academic, 2017). Presser was recently appointed as a Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy at the University of Colorado's Boulder Campus for 2018-2019. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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