A Rough Week for Mr. Trump
The month of February proved difficult for President Trump and his ever-fledgling administration, with the final week entailing an entertaining political dance with his otherwise fervently supportive base.
In a knee-jerk reaction to the tragic massacre in Parkland, Florida, the President announced a dramatic shift in his attitude regarding the Second Amendment, no longer standing in defense of the right to keep arms, but instead siding with Democrats in intending to wholly ignore due process and seize weapons unlawfully. In the opinion of the author, this is Mr. Trump’s most signifiant (and worrying) folly yet: a small tragedy has obfuscated his already lacking understanding of the Constitution, producing a wildly reactive policy that, in many interpretations of the Basic Law, goes against every word of the Second and Fifth Amendments.
It is the natural reaction of the reasonable right-leaner to posit that Mr. Trump would never actually enact a law compelling federal officers to seize lawfully obtained arms without first requesting a court-ordered mandate. This, however, is exactly the permissive complacency that enables a benevolent tyranny to rise. It is no secret that the President’s policies are best informed by the loudest voice in his ear (this has proved true for trade, guns, immigration, et cetera); thus his reactions this week should worry even the most passionate supporter. What happens if the Democrats retake Congress this year and pass comprehensive gun reform? Will President Trump veto a bill he believes has the support of the majority? Unlikely.
For the politically active engager, the pitfall most difficult to evade is the hypocritical stance. Had President Obama announced a plan to seize weapons without due process, not only would Congress prepare for impeachment proceedings, but certain states would perhaps threaten secession—and rightfully so. The Second Amendment is the glue that holds the several states united in faithful distrust, serving as an omnipresent repellant to both federal encroachment and interstate bellicosity. The right to keep and bear arms and participate in a lawful militia is intrinsic to the American culture.
It is sometimes hard to disagree with a man as entertaining and persuasive as Mr. Trump. In this case, however, respectful disagreement is mandatory. The President’s supporters, if veracious in their adherence to the rule of law, must stand their ground and push back against such ignorant policies so casually formed and inattentively professed. The next President might actually mean it when he says he wants to take our guns.