ARTICLE BY ETHAN WOOLLEY
America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.
America reveres its Founding Fathers. As revolutionaries, they freed the United States from the colonial grasp of the British Empire. As lawyers, they pioneered a constitution of, by, and for the People. As visionaries, they laid the foundation for a country which would one day come to dominate the planet. A country that would eventually bury over 600,000 of its sons to end the abhorrent institution of slavery, sacrifice more than 400,000 to liberate Europe from the tight grasp of fascism, and stand as the principle defender of liberty, freedom, and democracy against the Soviet Union for nearly half a century. A country that would go on to develop the world’s most dynamic economy and establish an international economic order that would raise millions out of poverty. A country that would one day put a man on the moon, a rover on Mars, and cure diseases by cultivating some of the world’s greatest scientific minds.
Our Founding Fathers intended for our country to be governed by a system of checks and balances. Their vision was to prevent one branch of government from wielding a dangerous amount of power over the rest, and this concept has been the bedrock of the stability that has allowed America to achieve so much in such a relatively short amount of time. This system now faces one of its biggest tests.
On January 20th, 2017, Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States after pulling off a shocking upset on November 8th to beat Secretary Hillary Clinton. I, along with millions of other Americans, cast my vote for Hillary Clinton. She certainly wasn’t a perfect candidate; she wasn’t even a good candidate. But I saw two choices and I chose the one that I felt would be less destructive. Clearly, enough of the country disagreed. Regardless of the denial, shock, or fear that many Americans feel, Donald Trump was democratically elected to be our next president.
President-elect Trump will inherit a burning Middle East, an ambitious and assertive Russia, a fractured European Union, a steadily rising China, a nuclear-armed North Korea, and an economic crisis in Venezuela which could lead to one of the greatest migration crises in the Western hemisphere. He will be tested by foreign leaders so that they can develop some level of understanding as to how he will react to provocation and crisis. At such a precarious time in international relations and with such a politically divided population, the American system could not be more important.
The Republican Party will control the House of Representatives and the Senate when Donald Trump is sworn in. They have a unique challenge ahead of them. The man that will become our Commander-in-Chief has disparaged minority groups, mocked the disabled, bragged about sexual assault, and advocated war crimes. This is not a partisan attack on Donald Trump—this is documented fact. Despite his personal flaws, enough of the country decided to vote for him, and that decision will stand. It is now up to our elected representatives in the Senate and House to fulfill their constitutional role to check President-elect Trump’s power, regardless of their party affiliation.
As an 18-year-old, this was the first election in which I cast a vote. 55% of millennials like myself voted for Hillary Clinton. For the next four years, the majority of young people will have a president which does not represent their interests or values. I make this plea to my generation: do not give up on the American system. I feel angry, unrepresented and powerless, too, and I don’t know what to expect, either. But that doesn’t change the American system. The American political system has weathered slavery and secession, two world wars, financial collapse, a disputed 2000 election, the deadliest terrorist attack in human history, and a half-century standoff with the Soviet Union. The world has marveled at (and in some cases replicated) the revolutionary system created by our Founding Fathers that allowed the United States to endure these challenges. So, millennials, please don’t lose faith in this system: its the only thing standing in Donald Trump’s way.
If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.
Finally, I say this to the Republican Senators and Congressmen who have been elected to represent us: fulfill your constitutional role and check President-elect Trump’s power. This is a plea to Paul Ryan, John McCain, Marco Rubio, Pat Toomey, and every other Republican Senator and Congressman who will serve during Donald Trump’s first term. The eyes of the world are on you now. You are the last and only obstacle that can stand in Donald Trump’s way. These next four years will be the most important years that you will ever serve; they will define your legacy and history will be the final judge of your success. There will likely be a time when all of you will have to stand against President-elect Trump in some way or another. Should that happen, your sworn duty will call upon you to put your country ahead of your party. Some of you may lose reelection, but if that sacrifice must be made, know that it will not have been made in vain. If you stand against Donald Trump on a policy which will be destructive to our nation, be secure in the knowledge that history will remember you as honorable men of principle; you will be the “experienced patriots” that Samuel Adams spoke of. The success of the American system is on you now: never forget that.