No Joe, America’s soul is not yours for the taking

October 25, 2020
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The notes of James McHenry, Maryland delegate to the Constitutional Convention show that when Benjamin Franklin emerged at its close, a Mrs. Powel (wife of Philadelphia Mayor Samuel Powel) asked: “Well Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?”  To which Franklin quipped “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Over the years, the quote has been used in private parlors and public squares by Americans of all political stripes to contemplate the political strife of the day.  And as history shows, we have not been without challenges in keeping Mr. Franklin’s republic intact.

The Civil War brought the death of approximately 750,000 Americans.  A horror that took the lives of almost two and a half percent of the U.S. population at the time.

The Great Depression brought forth active communists and socialists on American soil until World War II put the national mindset back where it belonged.

By 1947 communism was back and while it was a legitimate threat to U.S. national security, a certain Senator from Wisconsin would present a danger far greater.

The scourge of Joseph McCarthy and the practice of conviction by accusation would rage until the spring of 1954, when appearing before McCarthy’s committee, attorney for the Army, Joseph Welch finally had had enough and fired point blank: “Have you no sense of decency, sir?  At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

While the threat of communism remained and the Cold War continued heating up to the point of bringing the world to the brink of WWIII in 1962, Welch’s words did at least bring about the beginning of the end to the era of America eating her own.

With the assassinations of President Kennedy in November, ’63, and his younger brother Bobby and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in ’68 the fabric of America was worn and ragged.

Watergate exposed corruption at the highest level but still we stood.  The Constitution that Dr. Franklin and his colleagues drafted worked as intended and again, the republic held.

But then on June 2, 1986 the United States Senate voted to allow television cameras to provide gavel to gavel coverage of Senate proceedings.  A move that five years earlier Claiborne Pell, Democrat from Rhode Island, warned “the presence of television will lead to more, longer, and less relevant speeches, to more posturing by Senators and to even less useful debate and efficient legislating than we have today.”

There may be more prescient words spoken by a modern era politician, but I certainly can’t think of one at this moment.

Just a year after turning on the cameras, Senator Edward Kennedy took to the floor of the Senate (and those cameras he knew were on) and gave his now infamous attack on Judge Robert Bork, President Reagan’s candidate to succeed Justice Lewis Powell on the Supreme Court.

“Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, ….”

The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee at the time who spoke not a word against such vile?  None other than Senator Joseph Robinette Biden Jr (D-DE).

The man who was forced during a break in that process to announce he was ending his Presidential campaign.  His plagiarizing British Labor Party politician Neil Kinnock’s speech at the Iowa State Fair debate a month earlier had shown itself to be insurmountable.

His second run fared no better when on the very night he announced, Jon Stewart of the Daily Show brought up Biden’s “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” description of fellow candidate Barack Obama.

On now this, his third run, he started by purposely taking out of context President Trump referring to white supremacists at an August 2017 Charlottesville, NC event that turned deadly as “very fine people”.  He plagiarizes, Trump’s tough on China, made in America policy and on COVID-19 went so far to claim, “If the president had done his job, had done his job from the beginning, all the people would still be alive,”

The only thing different between Biden ‘87/’08 and Biden now is Biden then wasn’t seventy-seven years old and on the downside of mortality.

On October 18th, the current Joe Biden sent this tweet: “We are in a battle for the soul of the nation. The forces of darkness, the forces of division, the forces of yesterday are pulling us apart, holding us down, and holding us back.  We must free ourselves of all of them.”

Sorry Joe, you’ve been knee deep with those forces of darkness and division for decades.  If you’re the “soul” of this republic, then it’s already lost.

PUBLISHER NOTE:  A version of this column first appeared in the October 25, 2020 print edition of the Joplin Globe.

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