It is With the Deepest Sorrow . . .
M.E. Boyd, Esq., “Miss Constitution”
As we celebrate 243 years of independence, with flags flying, with the National Symphony Orchestra playing Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, with parades in small and large towns all over America, we should also be aware that our country is in a dangerous vise, and that vise is trying to squeeze the life out of our nation.
It is with the deepest sorrow that Miss Constitution is required to call out a former President of the United States, but call him out she must. There is no such thing as a former President calling a sitting President “illegitimate” by treason. Former President Jimmy Carter stated that President Trump actually lost the election in 2016 and is only President because a foreign power put him in office. This accusation is unprecedented; it is dangerous; it should be repudiated; and some immediate action should be taken by an investigatory arm of the federal government to see if President Carter has undiscovered information. Miss Constitution would make the following points:
*The accusation of treason is not always protected speech for a private citizen under the 1st Amendment. It is a call for the overthrow of the Executive Branch of our federal government. For a former President, UNWRITTEN LAW requires respect, deference, and decency to prevail in communications between former Presidents and certainly between former Presidents and current Presidents. If no such respect can be mustered then silence prevails. Congress has special speech rights on the House and Senate floors.
*The Federal Bureau of Investigation should quickly interview the former President and collect the evidence he has to make such a statement. We would not want this evidence altered or destroyed.
If the FBI obtains evidence of treason from former President Carter it should go to the Department of Justice, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Majority leader of the United States Senate, and the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court in a closed and confidential briefing. This would be evidence undiscovered by the Mueller investigation. Immediate steps would then be taken by all responsible parties.
If the former President has no unique evidence, and is only stating an opinion, he must be called out by every responsible person in government and in the press. If there is silence regarding such an accusation we will have participated, through inaction, in eroding confidence in the tradition of peaceful transfers of power in America. Former President Carter’s age is irrelevant unless his accusation is the result of an age-related condition. If true, this would need to be made public so that this sorry episode can be laid to rest.
Abraham Lincoln’s election in 1860, with not one vote in the south and without a majority of the popular vote, was also called “illegitimate” and all the states in the south quickly seceded. Former President Carter’s accusation is equivalent in seriousness to this event, in the opinion of Miss Constitution, because this loss of civility, by someone who should know better, encourages violence and lawlessness. The matching clamp, that is also very dangerous, is the lack of understanding of free speech protocols so unique and so precious to our way of life. Let’s review what they are:
*speech, whether express or symbolic, about public policy or social issues, often as part of a march or assembly, if conducted in the right forum, and meeting time, place, and manner restrictions, is protected from government (police) interference regardless of the content of the speech
*state actors (police) are to protect the speaker but may disarm, temporarily, or separate groups that may cause a public safety concerns (this is also true at public universities)
So, if both groups had permits, the White Nationalists in Charlottesville and the Antifas of Portland have a right to march and to speak within the restrictions placed on them by the state actors of those communities. State actors are allowed to separate groups, with force, that might erupt into violence. This was not done in Charlottesville and resulted in injury and death. The emphasis should not be on the content of the speech but on the failure of state actors to control a situation they allowed to go on and did not provide adequate personnel for or did not use the personnel they had ready.
In Portland, recently, Antifa marchers violently attacked a reporter with garbage and sprays to his face, eventually taking the content of his reporting and destroying it. This act of violence is not protected speech. The police are required to protect the unmasked speaker or marcher, if peaceful, but if any become violent they are to be arrested, not protected. The police had a duty to protect the reporter but failed to do so. In both instances it is either a lack of knowledge of our 1st Amendment by the authorities or deliberate failure of duty.
It is the 4th of July, 2019. We count on former Presidents, the current President, and other public servants to know and understand how significant their words are and to show class and restraint in their conduct. We also count on public servants in every community to know and understand the Constitution that governs the POSITIVE LAW of our land and if they fail to do so they must be held accountable. If WE THE PEOPLE fail to respond to serious attacks on our system we will lose that system – the greatest ever known. The vise of defamation and ignorance will take its toll.
Copyright©2019 M.E. Boyd, Esq., “Miss Constitution”