Let First Principles prevail

To the Editor:

A Google search reveals this simple concept: First principles thinking (or reasoning from first principles) is a problem-solving technique that requires you to break down a complex problem into its most basic, foundational elements. The idea: to ground yourself in the foundational truths and build up from there.

The Supreme Court will soon be making a ruling on the Fourteenth Amendment, the events of Jan. 6, 2021, and whether Donald Trump is qualified to be President of the United States.

The Fourteenth Amendment, Section 3, states: ”No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the Unites States, or under any State, who having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two thirds of each House, remove such disability.”

The Presidential oath states: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Donald Trump addressed his supporters at the Ellipse (after having asked them to be there) on Jan. 6. He pleaded with them until around 1:10 p.m. to march on the Capitol and “fight like hell”. From then until 4:17 p.m. he watched on television as his supporters invaded the Capitol, destroyed public property and endangered the lives of those in charge of defending the Capitol. Their illegal activity resulted in deaths inside the Capitol. While Donald Trump watched this chaos/protest/riot/insurrection/rebellion he had several people plead with him to call the mob off. He refused. Until 4:17 p.m., three hours and seven minutes after his speech at the Ellipse ended.

If the Supreme Court can, using first principles thinking, decide that Donald Trump is still qualified to run for and possibly be elected president after he failed/refused to protect the Capitol on Jan. 6 we might as well shred the Constitution.

This writer is fully aware that Trump has not been convicted of any violation of his oath yet. But television news documented his failure/refusal to protect the Capitol for all to see. The Supreme Court must use the obvious truth at their disposal to render Donald Trump unfit to hold any public office again.

Trump has appealed to various emotions within millions of people. Party loyalty is one of the strongest, including appealing to the Supreme Court which has been stacked with no less than three of his appointees. The entire Fourteenth Amendment is based on emotion in the sense that it provides for “equal protection under the law”. Yet, it tempers those same emotions with reason. The Supreme Court must follow the law. First principles will work.

Dave Waldrop, Webster

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