Lawful Vs Legitimate

Ever since the election there has been a great deal of talk about whether President Trump is the legitimate or illegitimate.  I’d like to put my two cents in for what it is worth.  To place my bonifide’s on the table let me just state the following for those of you who do not know me.  Just about 50 years ago I was granted a B.A. In Political Science by CSUN.  One of the things I studied was the many arcane definitions, like all sciences, that are used in Political Science.  The definition of Legitimate and Lawful were two among many.

Like all sciences, political science has many words that have definitions that are ‘discussed’ (read that argued hotly) by holders of deferent theory’s.  Legitimatcy is one of the favorite words to discuss. (If you don’t believe me just google “Political Science definition Legitimatcy” and see what pops up.). Like all other students of Political Science I, too, have my own preferred definition which I will now try to write down here.  To me a office holder is “Legitimate” when

A person(s) is elected or appointed to an office by following the excepted laws, norms and customs of the polity the to which the office is a part of.”

Not very clear is it?  ;) To try and make it clearer what I’m trying to say is this.  The legitimacy of an elected official is not just following the letter of the law(s) governing the election.  There are customs and’ norms’ of the process and these ‘norms’ and customs are often not stated, or not stated clearly and far worse they are only held/ expressed at an individual level.  This means that each and every person of the polity in question has the right and privilege of deciding if the office holder is legitimate or not.

This is where President Trump gets into trouble.  He is the lawfully elected President of the United States of America.  All the “T’s” were crossed and all the “I’s” doted in the election procedure.  The Electoral College members were lawfully elected in the several states. Thier ballets were lawfully cast and properly counted and Donald Trump got over 270 of there aforesaid votes.  He won and has duly and lawfully sworn in.  He is The President.  By Law.  But now the problems start.

Unlike the President, or CEO, of a Company, POTUS does not get his job done by telling everyone else what to do.  He has to work with both Houses of Congress.  He has to work with the governments of the  several states, often as not.  In fact, if a President try’s to tell the Congress, ‘do this because I say so!’ He can get in trouble, even when they agree with him, Congressmen/women and Senators will get their back up and say “Wait just a God Damn Minute, Mr. President”.  An sometimes they will just not do what needs to be done because they are mad a him or don’t think he has the legitimate ‘right’ to do what he want’s to do.  To get things done the President need to have what is called now “Political Capital” and a primary source of Political  Capital is how many people view the legitimacy of the President at any given time.  An here is where President Trump has his problem.  His entire election has been about defying norms and customs.

President Trump has not released his tax returns before, or after, the election as has become the norm.  He has show he does not care if there is any conflict of interest, either apparent or real, between his own personal wealth and the Office of the Presidency, as has been the norm for over a hundred years.  He has attacked the White-house press publicly and personally and has stated he wishes to ‘ban’ some of the press corps from the White-house.  I could go on but these few items do illustrate my point effectively.  President Trump not only does not follow the Norms and Customs of our government he seems to be seeking out ways to violate them.  Sometime in the future, sometime very soon if he keeps on going the way he is going, he will finally over steps the bounds and then all hell is going to break out.

When he does step over the bounds it is vitally important that those of us who work to bring him to justice stay with in the bounds of American protests.  We must stay peaceful, no mater how hard it is and don’t mistake me, it will be hard.  For some of us it will be the hardest thing we will ever do.  But do it we MUST!  We must follow in the footsteps of the great peaceful protesters of the twentieth century, people like Gandi and Dr. King.  We must be willing to let the forces of oppression knock us down and then stand back up and not strike back.

The time is Now, the place is Here.