It was a great run … 240 years to be exact. The unique and improbable “American experiment,” begun in 1776, has come to a disappointing end. Somewhere, the Founding Fathers are weeping.
The notion that a diverse group of people could live together in harmony, ruled by law and governed by a majority of its citizens freely electing their representatives, had its appeal. But as the nation’s founders feared, without an informed electorate, majority rule could turn into mob rule and undermine the very rule of law (Constitution) upon which the nation was based.
Once a government can pick and chose which laws to obey, the game is over. Once rules can be changed midstream to favor a certain governing faction, say sayonara. Once citizens, either through apathy, complacency or ignorance, no longer care about fair play or how its government behaves, turn out the lights, the party’s over.
Yesterday, Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) pushed forward two of President Donald Trump’s questionable cabinet picks, advancing their nominations despite a Democratic boycott. Even though rules require at least one member of the minority party to be present for the committee to vote on the nominee, Hatch suspended the rules.
Last year, after the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill the Supreme Court vacancy. Even though Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution clearly spells out the roles the president and the Senate must play in the appointment process, Senate Republicans, led by Senators Mitch McConnell and Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley, vowed to do nothing … not to meet with any nominee, not to hold any confirmation hearings, and not to vote on any nominee.
After an anti-corruption ballot measure passed in South Dakota this past November, Republican lawmakers refused to enact the measure which instituted campaign finance, lobbying reforms, public financing for campaigns and creating the first independent ethics commission in the state’s history. The Republican governor took it upon himself to declare voters were, “hoodwinked by scam artists who grossly misrepresented these proposed measures.”
And so it goes. See a common theme here from a certain political party?
The saddest part of American democracy’s death is that it was self-inflicted. No outside power toppled our democracy. Reagan’s “Shining City on a Hill” is no more. Through their choices, the American people simply decided to pull the plug.
Photo | intellectualtakeout.org