Treason or Sedition?

I’ve had to do a bit of homework on the distinction between treason and sedition. There does not seem to be a distinction clear enough to be sure whether the letter by 47 Senators to Iran is treason or sedition, though it looks as if they are guilty of the latter more than the former. But the distinction between the two is not as important is the fact that the letter is an unconstitutional betrayal of the United States.

The Constitution clearly gives to the President the power to make treaties with foreign nations, with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Senate is not authorized to to deal with foreign nations directly. For US Senators to speak directly to foreign negotiators, calling upon them to treat the President as without authority, is clearly a violation of the Constitution as well as of good sense.

The Senators defense is that the President seems intent on making a treaty without the advice and consent of the Senate. That is a serious concern which hangs on the definition of the word “treaty.” If there is some sort of agreement between Iran and the six western nations involved in the negotiations, would it necessarily be considered a treaty? That seems a question that could only be decided by the courts. Either way, the President’s probable intention to ignore the Senate does not constitute a valid reason for the Senate to bypass the President and intervene directly in the matter.

Why would the President consider not referring any agreement to the Senate? The answer is simple enough: The Senate Republicans, now in a dominant position in the Senate, for the past seven years have lived by Mitch McConnell’s remark shortly after Barack Obama was first elected. He said the first priority of the Republicans would be to make Obama fail. they have been foolish and shameless in their opposition ever since, totally disregarding the will of the people who have twice voted Obama into office.

Since it is clear they are willing to carry their hatred of Obama even into foreign affairs, it is clear that the Senate would never consent to any treaty signed by him. They have abandoned their responsibility to the nation and cannot be entrusted with any responsibility in giving “advice and consent” in foreign matters. Having rejected the limits on their Constitutional authority, I believe they have forfeited the right to hold a national office in this country.


About mthayes42

I am a retired pastor, interested in the Bible, cross-cultural ministries, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and the current and past history of western civilization.
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2 Responses to Treason or Sedition?

  1. Ryan says:

    “they have been foolish and shameless in their opposition ever since, totally disregarding the will of the people who have twice voted Obama into office.”
    I find your comment in credibly illustrative, considering your line of reasoning does the exact same thing you accuse the Republicans of doing. The will of the American people was also expressed by electing a majority of Republicans in both the House and the Senate. Is not Pres. Obama therefore, ignoring the will of the American people as well? Political bias aside, your rationale does not even passed the basic sniff test.

  2. mthayes42 says:

    Thanks for your note, Ryan, and for the reminder to keep both sides of the coin in mind. The difference I would see between Obama and the Congress is that only one has vowed from the beginning to make the other fail. Is there anything Obama could do in cooperation with the Republicans, other than simply obey them? The record suggests to me that they will always oppose him, no matter the merit of the case, as if it were a matter of principle. It is especially irritating when they oppose him even when he agrees with them. (I wonder whether they have noticed that Obama’s approval ratings are far greater than their own?)
    Think, for example, of their absolutely inexcusable refusal to vote on Loretta Lynch as Attorney General. They, like little pre-schoolers, won’t vote on Obama’s nomination of a superb candidate until he obeys them on a totally unrelated issue, immigration reform. What is truly odd is that Obama’s position on immigration reform is unavoidable — no one in Washington will ever allow the expenditure of the ge amounts of money it would take to deport large masses of people.
    And I am completely disgusted by the incredible number of lies, baldfaced lies, they tell in their opposition. Did Obama lie when he said we’d get to keep our insurers? No, he simply failed to take into account factors beyond his control — the independent decisions of the insurance companies. That was a serious error on his part, not a lie. But when the Republicans talked about Obamacare, they warned us of death panels, neglect of the elderly, skyrocketing costs, and on and on, knowing full well they were speaking without any basis in reality. They simply made up their “warnings.” And still people ignored them and signed up by the millions.
    They gripe often about how “unconstitutional” Obama is when he takes executive action. Are they really unaware that Obama has used that action far less than any other recent president, including Ronald Reagan?
    In other areas as well, the Republicans have shown a willful disregard for truth. Remember when they were all abuzz about Obama’s $200 million trip to India? And, to add another dimension, how many times have we heard them complain about Democrats being just “tax and spend” leaders? Have they not looked at the records of Reagan and the Bushes? That’s where they will see reckless spending. Look at the deficits piled up by Reagan and the tax increases under his watch. Who was the worst spender, Reagan or W.? Both were very seriously amiss in their unfunded spending.
    And was there anyone in the country, besides maybe a small number of people on the fringe Right, who thought closing down the government was good for the country? Or any who blamed the president?
    So, while I agree that there are problems on both sides, it seems to me the Republicans are not interested in the good of America at all. They are like children who only know how to say “no”. and that makes them the emotional age of two or three.

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