Our Country Needs Us
“I don’t think so, I won when I became president.”
The words of our incoming president to the members of the press and the public when asked about his hidden and undisclosed tax returns. Donald Trump is right and while he has won the presidency and will be the next president of the United States, he is very wrong in his assertion that winning entitles him to do as he pleases. Trump may have been under the illusion that winning the presidency means that he gets to tell us what to do and order us around but he is again wrong. When he takes the oath of office in a few days, it means that he will begin working for us and he will lose the privilege of being a private citizen. And so it falls to us to keep him in check when he over steps bounds and tries to use the office in his own private interest or acts against the best interest of the United States. No longer is he the CEO of a powerful company stretching globally. Now he is the elected leader of the sum of the American people and he needs to realize this fast. And as a point, the American people also need to realize this as I feel it has been forgotten.
Many doubts and scandals float around Donald Trump as he awaits to step into office but none more symbolic or important as the issue of his tax returns. While glossed over and sidestepped by the man himself as either under audit or unimportant the fact of the matter is that his tax returns can help him and us move along and put to bed some of the fears that many have about the man moving forward.
First, there is a long standing tradition of elected presidents submitting their tax returns as a form of transparency to show that they have no conflicts of interests that could interfere with the American peoples best interests. Tax returns can show important information such as but not limited to lending insight on the persons investments, to whom the person owes money, who they are in business with and indications of whether they have money off shore, among other things. Given the recent climate surrounding Trump and his dealings with Russia along with shouts against China and general conflicts of interests, this information would be very useful if publicized and shown in day light.
In addition to this, it would be a symbolic gesture for the man to prove that he has the ability to put the nations needs above his own. The man may argue that he has family to think about and that revealing this information would be damaging to his brand and his company but he lost the right to claim this once he won the election and further loses this claim one he takes his oath of office. At this point he becomes a prisoner of the people and must act in their interest regardless of his retirement plans. Beyond this, if Trump empire can be cracked and broken by the release of a tax statement, shouldn’t we know? If the great business man is just a man behind a golden curtain, shouldn’t we be clued in to this before he starts running our country like one of his possibly corrupt or bankrupt businesses?
At any rate, Donald Trump stated himself that he would release his tax returns as he ran for office over the last year. He has not and as he dodged doing so citing that he was under audit, the IRS confirmed to the public that there is no reason for an individual to not be able to release their own tax returns even in an audit. Using Trumps own words about his opponent in previous interviews I think that he, “was hurt really very badly by this whole thing with the income tax returns.” And I agree with his assertion of then opponent Mitt Romney that he “has to get those tax returns out, i’m a little bit surprised you know they weren’t a little better prepared for that.”
Finally, the reason that Trump needs to release his tax returns is because he does not want to. This is not a Republican issue, this is not a Democratic issue, this is an American issue and as it is such we need to make him show his return. We as the public need to bare our teeth and show that all we have given to him can be taken away. Under Article II Section IV of the constitution a president may be impeached for conviction of treason, bribery, or other misdemeanors and high crimes. There is enough to doubt with his conflicts of interests that he may fall under several of these and it is at least worth a conversation. It is not acceptable for us to allow him to continue to spit in the face of our democracy. What we have soon to be sitting in the oval office is a man without fear and a blatant disregard for accountability. We need to act as a citizens. We need to scare him. We need to let Donald Trump know that he works for us now and that we are watching and waiting to hold him accountable.
To this end I say write to your Representatives and Senators. Sign petitions and show them that it is important to make the President elect of the United States prove that he has no conflicts of interest that compete with our nation. Stand up to this man now and as for any of the Congressmen who fear retaliation from the soon to be President of the United States, I leave you with the parting words often attributed to one our nations greatest rabble-rouser and patriots. When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.