After yesterday’s temporary freakout, we feel better. Call it “venting.”
Is American political life today any better than it was yesterday? No.
But we’ve decided to depend on Americans to come to their senses and realize that what confronts them, under a Trump administration, is chaos. More, the first modern-day real threat to demote our nation to the level of a third world country. (If the FBI can’t do it, Donald can.)
It’s more than simply watching Trump become our own Robert Mugabe. (Something we doubt Hillary could pull off. After all, the Republicans in Congress have already put her on notice: win the election and (a) be impeached or (b) be tied up in investigations for the next few years, in theory to such a degree that governing is impossible. Now, they’ve done this once already, closing government in a snit. Would we stand for a second effort? We hope not.)
A few ideas to keep in mind for the next few days:
We aren’t losing thousands of US Armed Forces every year as we once did in the MidEast. Tragically, we are still experiencing casualties.
More Americans than ever before have healthcare, or access to it. (It isn’t a perfect scheme, but it’s a start.)
There is progress on the jobs front, not major but enough to make the graphs jiggle.
At last, our judicial system has begun to corral the men and women who helped us all lose money, homes, and self-respect in 2008.
Climate change has finally been recognized as the danger it is.
The Chicago Cubs won the World Series, lifting spirits in all leagues and on all teams.
A real, palpable effort is being made to lower the price of some lifesaving drugs.
One very good thing: we have come to understand that corruption in this country is really no different from what it is in other countries. We are not “exceptional.” This is a healthy bit of reality to consume.
Tom Brady has returned.
Congressional bullies come from the same places and have the same names as before. Disguises have been pierced. Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell, even John McCain have been unmasked. The future looks brighter for us all.
Elon Musk is still dreaming outrageously expensive adventures.
Serious attention is being paid to remedying electoral schemes hatched in state houses that disenfranchise citizens.
Bernie Sanders was more successful than Hillary Clinton. It is she who adopted his ideas rather than the other way around.
The elevated, human, sensible Warren Buffet still believes in hard work and virtue.
“The Supremes,” though fewer in number, occasionally still clear their throats and sing out for America.
Which leads us finally to the one area of stagnation we need to aerate.
In addition to threatening to impeach Mrs. Clinton, or to tie her to the rails of Congressional railroads, Republicans are determined to undermine a president’s right and duty to name (and have approved, or not) nominees to the Bench. There is no earthly reason for them to do so but to hogtie America to what they think is Conservatism for the next thirty years. With a drop in their own popularity and power, they have decided to clutch power through the courts alone, forget elections. Saying “NO” proved successful in the battle against Barack Obama and common sense. Why shouldn’t this work against Hillary?
Seeing the former court decimate the Voting Rights Act, enshrine Moloch and Midas, and maintain the possibility of overturning Roe v Wade was certainly heartening to the Right.
And unless the Senate turns blue on 11/8, this mindset will continue. That it is the mindset of governmental Gridlock (which ignores the wishes of an electorate) matters not. Republicans have come to D.C. not to govern, but to undermine government physically, fiscally, and finally psychologically.
Do we really think that the Republicans are smart enough to encode their goals this way?
Just enough of them are, so that others following their flag with trepidation but without guts are allowed to take cover behind the bodies of men and women whose chairs on the Senate floor have been gerrymandered in the past four years. (Let’s be fair. Some Senators have been elected and re-elected because they provide important services to their constituents. And some may even have had intelligent and farsighted ideas about the country in which they live and from which they earn their keep.)
But (hah-hah!) the Supremes are, in theory, apolitical. Although this was disproven in 2000 during Bush v Gore, Justice Roberts has, on occasion, made efforts to bring the Court back to the middle of the road so that it can be held up by the rest of us as the real court of last resort.
“I’ll take this all the way to the Supreme Court!” is more than just a line in hundreds of movies. It is the cry of a man or woman who really believes in the Court and its nonpartisanship. Plaintiffs approach the Bench as though they were in Saint Peter’s waiting room. They expect and pray that it is neither in the pocket of employers nor Big Business, but rather on the side of the Little Guy. (Movies have helped foster this hope, too.)
Millions of Americans are used to thinking that what goes on in Washington has almost nothing to do with them. Of course, they couldn’t be more off-target. True, not every bill that slips out of Congress is an attack on or a bouquet to a citizen’s daily life. But in the case of the Supreme Court, what emanates certainly can and often does. Which is why the Court needs desperately to return to its former enshrined status as the place for final resolution of American problems. And in order to do this, the Court needs to show all of us its even hand, its empathy, its sympathy. These are not words often associated with Republicanism. Which is tragic. Because they could be, with just a little effort and soul-searching. The Court could lead our country not necessarily back to Camelot, but at least to the temperate hills and countryside from which we can all see that City on the Hill.