There are two things that most Americans have either forgotten from civics class or never actually learned (which is possible with our dysfunctional education system). The first thing is that the “leaders” we elect to public office work for us. They represent us and our interests in the halls of government. That is the nature of being a public servant. The second thing people misunderstand is that those we elect to represent us have as their primary responsibility the protection of the Constitution of the United States. They are charged first and foremost with upholding the tenets of this document.
That means defense of the Constitution supersedes loyalties to party. It means defense of the Constitution supersedes loyalties to any other individual, including the President of the United States.
Libertarian-leaning Representative Justin Amash (R-MI) has always been one of the most astute on Capitol Hill when it comes to recognizing where his responsibilities lie and acting accordingly. It has helped him make many enemies in Washington DC; both Democrats and Republicans have lashed out at his strict adherence to the Constitution and what it means to be a member of the House of Representatives.
Lately, he’s been taking heat for arguing against President Trump’s use of a national emergency declaration to build the wall on the southern border. He is absolutely correct; the very nature of the declaration, the events leading up to it, and the time it will take to achieve its results all betray the notion that it should be considered an emergency. As many on this site have argued, he should have been fighting for funding when the GOP held a majority in the House rather than waiting until he could pin it on the Democrats.
The wall could have been over halfway done by now had he forced the GOP to take up the issue in 2017 when they had the power to do so.
Here’s a recent Tweet by Amash that breaks down his perspective perfectly. It’s the perspective that every member of the House of Representatives would have if they were doing their jobs correctly.
If you think my job is to support the president one hundred percent, then you don’t understand what it means to be a representative in Congress. My job is to support the Constitution one hundred percent and to represent all the people of my district by protecting their rights.
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) February 28, 2019