A Republic worth keeping

July 15, 2018

When the notes of  Dr. James McHenry, a Maryland delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 were published in 1906 in The American Historical Review the general public was blessed with another snippet of Ben Franklin’s wisdom.

Bartleby.com has the anecdote as: “A lady asked Dr. Franklin Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy. A republic replied the Doctor if you can keep it.”

I am now on record, publicly pondering if the answer to Dr. Franklin’s reply is a very nervous  “no”.

The pre-assembled hysteria that formed on the steps of the Supreme Court last Monday night to protest President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, the most recent case in point.

Back-dropped by pre-printed signs with Kavanaugh’s name filled in by hand, the usual suspects of 2020 Democrat presidential hopefuls paraded in front of the cameras; Each screeching their predictions of the nuclear winters to come to any mic turned on and mindless minion willing to listen.

The infamous Women’s March movement, those delightful denizens who think that wearing pink hats knitted in the shape of a woman’s body cavity and screaming hate at your political opponents suffices for policy discussion and civil debate, sent out a press release just minutes after the blanks on those protest signs were scribbled in.

Said press release began:

Washington , DC – In response to Donald Trump’s nomination of XX to the Supreme Court of the United States, The Women’s March released the following statement:

I don’t know who “XX” is or what kind of justice he/she would make, but I’m sure said nominee is far more qualified than “XXX”, or that really weird one that goes by the name of “XIV”.

And they call us out here in the heartland, dolts and rubes.

A USA Today article on the circus quoted an attendee by the name of David Gaines’ stating his decision to protest was motivated by an “anger and disappointment that the Supreme Court is going to be packed by a child who has no understanding of much less respect for the institution of constitutional law.”

Sadly, there was no follow up question to Mr. Gaines. A follow up like: “I understand what you feel, Mr. Gaines, but just what actions specifically has President Trump taken in office that is unconstitutional?”

Which of course is at the core of the matter.

Hate for Trump, a feeling, replacing honest debate on the qualifications of the nominee;  A nominee who by published accounts is exceedingly qualified to take his seat on the high court.

The most ironic of the pre-printed signs that night was one that read “We the people reclaim the Constitution”. I’ve searched and searched and nowhere in that great document can I find anything that states “only nominees who will rule the way we want them to rule will gain Senate approval.”

The genius of the Founding Fathers was that they foresaw that there would be a need to expand and revise the Constitution.  And they provided an orderly, civil process on how to do it.  It’s called the amendment process. It initiates in the Congress and is ratified by the people via their respective state legislature.

There is no judge left or right, liberal or conservative that can overturn a Constitutional Amendment.  Once passed the amendment IS constitutional, period, full stop.

But the amendment process requires convincing a majority of the public through debate and discussion. Something the radical left of today has traded in for like-minded judges who will “interpret” the law as they see it, rather than rule on the law as written.

Adding additional fuel to the political fire is the outright refusal of millions of Americans to accept the fact that their preferred presidential candidate lost.

That there is at least half or more of this country that does not want to live under a heavy handed, all sprawling, all knowing, and all demanding federal government regulating and dictating every aspect of their lives.

That in the words of their last hero, Barack Obama to then Republican whip Eric Cantor regarding GOP healthcare input in 2009, “Elections have consequences, and at the end of the day, I won”.

It was smug as smug gets, but it was also true.

Elections do have consequences and if this republic is to survive it must be allowed to thrive. And it can only thrive when the process is followed. A process far too many Americans today see no need to adhere.

But until those Americans who would rather be ruled by five members of their own political ideology rather than live under the republic and the freedoms that Dr. Franklin and his colleagues provided them accept that fact, things are only going to get worse.

And that, is this republic’s greatest danger of all.

Publisher Note:  A version of this column first appeared in the July 15, 2018 print edition of the Joplin Globe.

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