By Raoul Lowery Contreras
I was in an elevator in the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco with former California Gov. Pat Brown during the 1964 Republican Convention. Also in the elevator among about ten others was a reporter who asked Brown what he thought of the Barry Goldwater-dominated GOP Presidential Convention being held in the city’s cavernous “Cow Palace.”
Brown’s reply became famous: “The stench of fascism is in the air.”
He is long gone, as is the object of his political scorn — Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona. But Goldwater did what no one predicted he could following his electoral burial by President Lyndon Johnson. Over time, Goldwater regained much respectability.
How? As a Libertarian Republican and not as a fascist of the type suspected by Brown and others.
Looking back, I rejected Goldwater because he led six other Republican Senators in voting against the 1964 Civil Rights Act and because many of his supporters seemed so extremist. Moreover, as a Marine I had sworn to “defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.” Underscore “domestic.”
Fifty-six years later I stand by that sworn statement I made when I enlisted five years before Goldwater’s presidential campaign.
That is why I was struck speechless when retired Army Lt. General Michael Flynn stated on cable television that President Trump should declare martial law and order the military to seize voting machines in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin and then rerun the Presidential election so Donald Trump can stay in office.
To say it on the fringe Newsmax network is one thing, but we now know through people in attendance that Flynn suggested that idea directly to Trump at a White House meeting attended by conspiracy theorist lawyer Sidney Powell. This meeting was and is astounding. Trump, according to those present, didn’t reject Flynn’s idea.
A President Goldwater would have thrown Flynn out of the White House and ordered him back to active duty to be court-martialed for sedition. While you and I have the freedom of speech to say stupid things, retired flag officers (full colonels and starred officers) do not.
What Flynn suggested is not just stupid, it is sedition and possibly treason. The fact Trump didn’t immediately and publicly reject the idea makes him as guilty as Flynn.
This episode is the most outrageous of Trump’s bizarre actions and statements since the night of Nov. 3 when he told the world he actually won the election but it was rigged so Biden could officially win.
Where he crosses the line is in violating his oath of office, which demands that he “faithfully execute the office of President of the United States.” Considering the use of martial law isn’t faithful execution, nor is withholding cooperation in the transition of power to Biden.
All these are impeachable offenses. If the inauguration was in March as it was from 1790 until 1933, Trump would be impeached and thrown out of office in a week.
But the Constitution, in the wisdom of its later amendments, has a better solution for getting a law-breaking President thrown out of office with no fuss or muss. Trump’s presidency ends at noon on Jan. 20th when Joe Biden becomes the 46th President of the United States.
Raoul Lowery Contreras is a Marine Corps veteran, political consultant and author of the new book White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPS) & Mexicans. His work has appeared in the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate.