September 24 Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

We live in a democracy, right? That’s what I was taught in school ages ago, and I assume it is still taught. One common definition of democracy is: government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents.

When we elect our “agents,” they typically claim to represent the views or wishes of the majority of those who elected them. But what if they do not represent those wishes or views? What about elected officials who seem to have the attitude that, “You were stupid enough to elect me, so you should be stupid enough to go along with whatever I do”? While we wait for the next election in order to vote these people out of office (not done often enough, unfortunately), can we say we still live in a democracy, even as those elected do not follow the views or wishes of their constituents?

So until the time comes that our elected “agents” actually represent the views of those who elected them, I urge all teachers from kindergarten on up, as well as all  pundits and truly patriotic politicians, to refrain from claiming that the United States of America is a democracy.  When the will of the people is so blatantly ignored (think DACA, the Affordable Care Act, The Wall, action on the coronavirus pandemic), it seems to me we no longer satisfy that definition.

Republicans in the Senate represent about 15 million fewer Americans than Democrats, yet they have absolute control over the legislative process. For example, in 2016, the leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, blatantly defied our Constitution by not allowing President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee senate hearings as defined in the Constitution and established norms.  Now, the same McConnell is again flaunting those same democratic norms by promising to ram a Supreme Court nominee of President Trump’s through the senate.

To call Mconnell’s actions hypocrisy would be kind. Sleazy, undemocratic, anti-American and blinded by power would all be more appropriate. And I would bet next year’s Social Security checks that neither Texas senator will object in any way. In fact, Ted Cruz has already endorsed the action which, of course, makes him equally as sleazy as McConnell, and John Cornyn’s silence, as usual, is deafening.

Democrats will do everything they can to prevent this abuse of power. In the event they fail and another Trump nominee is installed on the Supreme Court, then should Joe Biden win the election and Democrats gain control of the Senate, as appears likely, Democrats absolutely must counter the abuse by: adding at least two justices to the Supreme Court and/or vote for statehood for Washington, D.C. and/or Puerto Rico.

Most of us would love to have the democracy we once had, with political differences hammered out through compromise, with civility and mutual respect regardless of ideology and with the good of the country once again more important than the power of the party. But with Trump, McConnell and Trump’s Republican co-conspirators in the Senate that is not possible, which means democracy, as we once knew it, is also not possible.

I’m not sure what we can call America under these conditions, but let’s quit pretending “democracy” is a valid term.

Fred Gossien

Terlingua

 

Dear Editor,

RBG

The future of our democracy hinged upon a cancer-ridden jurist not dying to prevent Trump ramming a late-term SCOTUS nomination down the nation’s throat! Until the new Congress was seated, that was a pretty tenuous thread.

RBG’s body wasn’t yet cold and GOP vultures were already circling. Senator Lindsay Graham said that after Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s confirmation, “the rules have changed …”  Who changed them?

In 2010, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell designed to make Obama a one-term president by blocking any legislation proposed, even if previously for it.

Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, was more of the same, not receiving a Senate hearing even 11 months before the end of Obama’s presidency.

Disgraced Steve Bannon was asked about his side: “The difference is that we take the head-shot.” The radical right has played hardball while Dems played Nerf ball! We’re too nice! That doesn’t mean becoming agent provocateurs or taking up firearms like white supremacist militias. Violence isn’t condoned.

RBG’s life provides a tutorial for these times. We’re called upon to do the work required to assure the survival of our republic. Unity of purpose provides strength and resolve.

Americans are better than Trumpism’s evil. Corruption of mind, body-politic and spirit shall not prevail. Goodness, compassion and “rule of law-due process” shall return to the land.

Rev. Barry Abraham Zavah

Alpine


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