Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Democracy Under Attack

 

I hear that a lot these days, that our democracy and our Constitution are under assault. There’s a grain of truth in it, though neither so much nor of the nature those who use the phrase intend when they say it.

Ours is not really a democracy, of course, but rather a democratic representative constitutional republic: we democratically elect representatives who then create and execute the law on our behalf, themselves bound by a Constitution intended to limit their authority.

In general, our system works pretty well: it’s lasted a long time, and we have enjoyed a remarkably orderly transition of power, decade after decade, for centuries. Even during moments of true crisis, it has proven itself robust and resilient. There’s no reason to think failure is imminent, despite the breathless and self-serving proclamations of the talking heads of mainstream infotainment news.

There are, however, those who seek to undermine our system of government, usually with the best of intentions.

— There are calls to restrict political speech, this despite the clear and specific First Amendment guarantee of a right to petition the government. These efforts are usually couched as “campaign finance restrictions,” but their intent and their effect is to limit who can speak and how much they can say and on whose behalf.

— There are calls to compel people to use specific words and phrases — the so-called “preferred pronoun” legislation of NYC, for example — despite the fact that freedom of speech includes a freedom not to be forced to speak, and freedom of belief encompasses a freedom to not profess what one doesn’t believe. Similarly, there are calls for speech codes that would enforce “sensitivity” toward various groups. Sensitivity is nice; mandated sensitivity is fascistic — and not an American tradition.

— There are calls to abolish the Electoral College. This isn’t illegal: the Constitution was designed to be changed through carefully restricted means. But the Electoral College is an important aspect of our Constitutional republic, and efforts to disparage it represent a kind of popular assault on our Constitution.

— There is a growing undercurrent of speech suppression, of First Amendment disenfranchisement, masquerading as justifiable civil disobedience. We see this in its most extreme form in the hooded thugs of the so-called “antifa” movement, who threaten and beat those who attempt to express ideas of which antifa doesn’t approve. We see it in the childish anti-free-speech campaigns on college campuses, where invited guests who espouse unapproved views are hounded, sometimes violently, from the podium by self-righteous students and activists.

— There is a desperate movement to undo, under whatever pretext can be seized, the 2016 Presidential election. I understand that the results were disappointing to approximately half of the electorate, but that’s not an excuse to abuse every conceivable mechanism for the nullification of that election and to thwart the administration’s execution of the office. We’ve seen the fabrication of a Russian conspiracy, the invocation of everything from malfeasance to insanity, the Machiavellian leaking of information by high-ranking officials, and an endless stream of anonymously sourced accounts breathlessly announcing treasonous conduct in the Oval Office.

In the meantime, we have a President who continues to appoint excellent Constitutional originalists, men and women who have demonstrated a deep respect for the substance and defense of the Constitution. We have a President who, whatever his flaws, continues to obey the often wildly improbable dictates of lower courts. We have a free press, a robust national debate, an unmuzzled opposition that routinely abuses its freedom through blatant dishonesty and misrepresentation — and an electorate that will, next year, once again decide which party will occupy the White House, just as it has every four years throughout our nation’s history.

Our Constitutional representative democracy is healthy. Our electorate is lied to by a wildly left-leaning and embarrassingly monolithic press, but nonetheless manages to hear more than one side of our political story — and, often, has enough sense not to believe most of what it sees on television.

We need more open criticism of our dishonest media, more people standing up and demanding their right to use their own words and not those thrust upon them, more people bold enough to face down their would-be censors in the popular culture: more outspoken conservatives, in other words. But our democracy is not under attack — at least, not in the way those who use the phrase believe.

There are 18 comments.

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  1. The Reticulator Member

    Henry Racette: There are, however, those who seek to undermine our system of government, usually with the best of intentions.

    And sometimes with the worst of intentions.

    • #1
    • October 12, 2019, at 9:04 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  2. tigerlily Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: There are, however, those who seek to undermine our system of government, usually with the best of intentions.

    And sometimes with the worst of intentions.

    I’d say more often than not with the worst of intentions.

    • #2
    • October 12, 2019, at 9:34 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  3. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHillJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The biggest change I’ve seen in politics in my lifetime is the transition between “I believe the opposition is misguided” to “I believe the opposition is evil.” I don’t know how you bridge that gap.

    • #3
    • October 12, 2019, at 10:08 PM PDT
    • 13 likes
  4. I Walton Member

    Good points, but it requires specific effort. What we call the left is more complex than what we call our right. The left is less ideological than the term implies, or at least its driving force is less ideological, but it is a driving force. It is run by big interests served by centralization and government they can influence. The 20th century created them, or helped centralization tendencies consolidate, i.e. not be replaced by some other interest, and gradually divorced most ordinary people from the biases we were raised with. I’d feel better if history included civilizations that didn’t gradually centralize and end by the corruption and disorder centralization leads to. 

    • #4
    • October 13, 2019, at 12:48 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  5. Columbo Member

    There is a desperate movement to undo, under whatever pretext can be seized, the 2016 Presidential election. 

    It is desperate … and can accurately be called a permanent coup.

    There are embedded traitors within our bloated government bureaucracy, with deep ties to democrat politicians, who have sought and continue to seek undermining the President of the United States, and thus America itself.

    Clarice Feldman at American Thinker reports … The Producers …

    • #5
    • October 13, 2019, at 6:36 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  6. DonG (Biden is compromised) Coolidge

    Henry Racette: There are, however, those who seek to undermine our system of government, usually with the best of intentions.

    I disagree. I think the intention is destruction of a unique and good thing. 

    • #6
    • October 13, 2019, at 6:54 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  7. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    EJHill (View Comment):

    The biggest change I’ve seen in politics in my lifetime is the transition between “I believe the opposition is misguided” to “I believe the opposition is evil.” I don’t know how you bridge that gap.

    I’d say a good start is to follow Trump’s lead in 1) relentlessly pushing back against such characterizations, and 2) staying with the basic points even in the face of withering public personal unfair attacks – don’t back down. Ever. Where are the other Republicans? Where they always have been, hiding or collaborating. Timid, incompetent, duplicitous.

    • #7
    • October 13, 2019, at 7:43 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  8. The Reticulator Member

    EJHill (View Comment):

    The biggest change I’ve seen in politics in my lifetime is the transition between “I believe the opposition is misguided” to “I believe the opposition is evil.” I don’t know how you bridge that gap.

    And I had thought you were one of the younger members on Ricochet, rather than the oldest. 

    • #8
    • October 13, 2019, at 4:27 PM PDT
    • Like
  9. Gary Robbins Reagan

    I was in agreement with the first 8 paragraphs. But I disagree with the ninth paragraph.

    If a President ignores appropriations which were enacted into law, to try to get dirt on an opponent with the help of a foreign country, that would, on its face, be an Abuse of Power. (This does not relate to the wide and varied other claims against this President before his or her election.)

    It relates to behavior during the presidency where, it appears that on my 67th birthday of July 25, 2019, when Trump asked for a personal “favor” of a foreign country, not to benefit the country, but to benefit himself. It would appear that one day after Mueller testified that the Mueller Probe did not uncover a collusion agreement with Russia, Trump attempted to collude with Ukraine. What was he thinking? Was he so convinced of his infallibility, that Trump felt that there were no limits on him?

    The power to impeach is literally part of the Constitution. It is not the “undoing” of an election, it is for Congress to adhere to the explicit terms of the Constitution. For Trump to refuse to honor Congressional Subpoenas would be an Obstruction of Justice.

    In 1974, the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee passed Articles that included Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Justice against Nixon. Were they wrong?

    In 1998, the House of Representatives passed Articles against Clinton for Lying Under Oath and Obstruction of Justice. Were they wrong?

    • #9
    • October 13, 2019, at 8:00 PM PDT
    • Like
  10. The Reticulator Member

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    Trump attempted to collude with Ukraine

    Good for him. At least somebody is defending our Constitutional system of government.

    • #10
    • October 13, 2019, at 8:06 PM PDT
    • Like
  11. Gary Robbins Reagan

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    Trump attempted to collude with Ukraine

    Good for him. At least somebody is defending our Constitutional system of government.

    Denying congressionally appropriated arms to entice Ukraine to benefit Trump personally would be the definition of an Abuse of Power, not defending the Constitution.

    • #11
    • October 13, 2019, at 8:09 PM PDT
    • Like
  12. The Reticulator Member

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    Trump attempted to collude with Ukraine

    Good for him. At least somebody is defending our Constitutional system of government.

    Denying congressionally appropriated arms to entice Ukraine to benefit Trump personally would be the definition of an Abuse of Power, not defending the Constitution.

    I don’t think you quite get the concept of abuse of power. We are all (except for the bad guys) benefited personally when a President works at rooting out corruption that is undermining our Constitutional republic. By your standard, you don’t want the President to do anything that is good for us.

    • #12
    • October 13, 2019, at 9:22 PM PDT
    • Like
  13. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I was in agreement with the first 8 paragraphs. But I disagree with the ninth paragraph.

    If a President ignores appropriations which were enacted into law, to try to get dirt on an opponent with the help of a foreign country, that would, on its face, be an Abuse of Power. (This does not relate to the wide and varied other claims against this President before his or her election.)

    It relates to behavior during the presidency where, it appears that on my 67th birthday of July 25, 2019, when Trump asked for a personal “favor” of a foreign country, not to benefit the country, but to benefit himself. It would appear that one day after Mueller testified that the Mueller Probe did not uncover a collusion agreement with Russia, Trump attempted to collude with Ukraine. What was he thinking? Was he so convinced of his infallibility, that Trump felt that there were no limits on him?

    The power to impeach is literally part of the Constitution. It is not the “undoing” of an election, it is for Congress to adhere to the explicit terms of the Constitution. For Trump to refuse to honor Congressional Subpoenas would be an Obstruction of Justice.

    In 1974, the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee passed Articles that included Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Justice against Nixon. Were they wrong?

    In 1998, the House of Representatives passed Articles against Clinton for Lying Under Oath and Obstruction of Justice. Were they wrong?

    Are you talking about the Obama administration and the Steele dossier? ‘Cause that sure sounds bad.

    • #13
    • October 14, 2019, at 3:49 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

     

    In 1998, the House of Representatives passed Articles against Clinton for Lying Under Oath and Obstruction of Justice. Were they wrong?

    I don’t know. Did Trump lie under oath? If not, then the question is…questionable…on its face. You’re equating prior impeachment proceedings, the situations under which those were held being entirely different, and assuming that since there were votes to impeach in those cases, they must vote to impeach in this one.

    This means every president will have an impeachment vote for anything Congress feels like voting on.

    Sounds fantastic. Let’s do this immediately. That way, the people you dislike won’t be president anymore.

    • #14
    • October 14, 2019, at 3:52 AM PDT
    • Like
  15. Instugator Thatcher
    InstugatorJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    DonG (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: There are, however, those who seek to undermine our system of government, usually with the best of intentions.

    I disagree. I think the intention is destruction of a unique and good thing.

    They don’t recognize it as such. That is why they are willing to throw it out/over.

    • #15
    • October 14, 2019, at 7:42 AM PDT
    • Like
  16. Instugator Thatcher
    InstugatorJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    It would appear that one day after Mueller testified that the Mueller Probe did not uncover a collusion agreement with Russia, Trump attempted to collude with Ukraine.

    You have abandoned Russian collusion trutherism for Ukraine trutherism. (While ignoring actual, no kidding, Russian and Ukraine collusion.)

    This is growth, I think.

    • #16
    • October 14, 2019, at 7:46 AM PDT
    • Like
  17. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Instugator (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    It would appear that one day after Mueller testified that the Mueller Probe did not uncover a collusion agreement with Russia, Trump attempted to collude with Ukraine.

    You have abandoned Russian collusion trutherism for Ukraine trutherism. (While ignoring actual, no kidding, Russian and Ukraine collusion.)

    This is growth, I think.

    A malignant growth maybe. 

    • #17
    • October 14, 2019, at 11:54 AM PDT
    • Like
  18. Bill Nelson Member

    EJHill (View Comment):

    The biggest change I’ve seen in politics in my lifetime is the transition between “I believe the opposition is misguided” to “I believe the opposition is evil.” I don’t know how you bridge that gap.

    The gap has always been there. Early on, there were many pretty nasty confrontations in congress. Of the 15 members killed while serving in congress, 4 were killed in duels, and 10 by gunshots.

    Sen. Preston Books (SC) assaulted Sen. Charles Sumner (MA) with a cane on the floor of the Senate.

    Did your lifetime include the 1960s and 1970s? Many people didn’t think we’d make it after the summer of 1968.

    And it started in the early 1790s, with the split exemplified by the Jefferson – Hamilton feud. Quite horrible things were written by anonymous authors in newspapers.

    And not just us. Winston Churchill was known to carry a pistol when he spoke at campaign events.

     

    • #18
    • October 14, 2019, at 1:47 PM PDT
    • Like

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