Email #61, Subject: “uphold our Constitution”?

A lot has happened since January 6th. That’s when you first responded to my concerns that President-elect Trump might violate the Constitution while you and the GOP-controlled Congress would do nothing to stop him. You assured me that there was no danger because of our three-branch government and your commitment to “uphold our Constitution and put the interests of the citizens of the 6th District of Virginia and the country as a whole above the interests of any individual or political party.”

I have since written to you several more times with even greater and more specific concerns about President Trump, including allegations of Russian blackmail, his refusal to release his tax records, and most recently his ban on seven Muslim-majority countries—a ban which federal judges have already declared illegal.

And yet, despite these developments, I received a nearly identical email from you yesterday. You changed one sentence. Your first letter read: “Donald Trump has been elected …” Your new letter reads: “As you know, on January 20, Donald Trump was sworn in …” Otherwise they are identical, even your use of future tense to describe the power President Trump “will” have.

But that power is no longer in the future. We are witnessing it daily. And we are also witnessing your daily failures to uphold your promise. Instead of checking the executive branch, you are putting the interests of your political party far ahead of our country as a whole. The President’s ban appears to be both illegal and unconstitutional, and yet you continue to praise it. His repeated refusals to divulge his conflicts of interests violate the norms of government, and yet you say nothing. Russian blackmail would be treasonous, but you have opened no investigation.

And when constituents ask for an explanation of your behavior, you update a form letter copied from a high school textbook.

Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an associate professor at W&L University, comics editor of Shenandoah, and series editor of Bloomsbury Critical Guides in Comics Studies. He has published two novels: School for Tricksters (SMU 2011) and Pretend I’m Not Here (HarperCollins 2002); and six books of scholarship: On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa 2015), Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury 2017), Superhero Thought Experiments (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Iowa 2019), Revising Fiction, Fact, and Faith (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Routledge 2020), Creating Comics (with Leigh Ann Beavers, Bloomsbury 2021), and The Comics Form (Bloomsbury forthcoming). His visual work appears in Ilanot Review, North American Review, Aquifer, and other journals.

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