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Do not take Democracy for granted

by Jacob Siegel

Voting laws are enshrined in the constitution via the 15th, 19th, and 26th amendment. The 15th amendment is the one that is the equal protection clause which allows anyone regardless of their race to vote. The 19th amendment is that the suffrage amendment which grants women the right to vote. The 26th amendment lowers the age of voting to 18 years old. These are “rights” which we currently have. I merely want to posit that under the current state of things, while they are currently rights that are enshrined into laws via amendments, that they really are a privilege, which can be changed by the whim of the court. Republicans talk a great deal about how they want fairness.

But, when push comes to shove, they want the party-line vote. As Congressman Adam Schiff, chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, stated in his opening testimony, if he can’t be impeached, it makes him a monarch.

It takes just a simple majority in the Senate to pass a resolution. What’s to stop the Republican Senate from granting President Trump emergency powers? It has been said that “absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

We’ve already seen that with the Supreme Court who is more than willing to destroy certain protections that we take for granted if they go against their point of view. Shelby Vs Holder, in 2013, is not discussed very much by a media that doesn’t really seem to look at details and understand precedent.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in a majority opinion that the explicit discrimination that existed back when section 5 was designed is no longer prevalent, and, that the notion that certain districts would have to seek authorization to change their voting maps from a panel in Washington D.C., was Congress over-stepping their bounds.

More recently, The Supreme Court failed to rule on Obamacare also leaving the law enacted by Obama in-tact but without a mandate. President Trump has even been trying to publicly back-track since the law didn’t get completely overturned– claiming that only the unpopular mandate was challenged successfully. and that he was fighting for pre-existing conditions all along.

My point is even if something is an enshrined law– and something is giving people power that would not otherwise have it– there will be people who will try to go after it. They will try for decades. Don’t laugh at them. People will laugh at them. But, what they want is no secret. They do not want Democracy. They do not want to share power. Look no further than Karl Rove’s statement in 2014. He thought that the Republican party would have a “100-year majority.” We need to really replace this current group of Republicans with something different.

Look, I don’t like Democrats. I don’t like them as much as a number of Republicans. But, it’s not fair for one side to be playing by one set of rules, and another side to be playing by another. If we are teetering towards a dictatorship, it is only because that is what the GOP have been envisioning for many decades. Since the 1960s, we have seen an explosion of Democracy. People talk about the 1st wave, the 2nd wave, the 3rd wave, and the 4th wave of history, this is the 5th wave, the rise of the anti-Democratic right wing. We need to get back to a place where we can both play by the rules and have civilized disagreements.

Right now, during the impeachment inquiry, you’ve had a straight party-line vote against witnesses and documents, despite all the media kerfuffle about (R) Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska recently tried to clear up the record, to state that she does not personally dislike Trump, and has also made public comments saying that she would vote against witnesses. (R) Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah also has stated that he would stick to the original plan by the Senate and act to oppose witnesses. Susan Collins was the only one that said she was likely to support witnesses and during the impeachment trial she voted purely along party lines.

What else does this mean? In that very same video with CNN reporter Dana Bash, she states that Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins all publicly stated that they would potentially be open and interested in witnesses. What they said to their own constituents was an entirely different thing.

What they did in the Senate chamber was entirely another and they proved that they are purely party faithful. So, what I see as a situation is that we could have people potentially in power, who could claim that they support Democracy. You could have Adam Schiff as its valiant defender. The GOP could vote to overrule the House as a chamber that exists, do away with popular voting, and they could abuse their power. With the act of a majority vote, they would deem that they have done nothing wrong.

While it’s true that Trump faces many court obstacles, I believe that we have witnessed the willingness of the GOP to buck the trend of history. It is a sense of justice that we have witnesses and testimony during trials. The GOP, and, the most vulnerable senators, whom we are supposed to feel sympathy for, did not vote for a chance for fairness. I ask, if there is nothing to hide, then, why hide it?

What do you have to fear from prolonging this trial? Remember, Mick Mulvaney stated that elections have consequences as he initially confirmed the Ukraine plot, then, he later walked back his comments.


So, I ask that no matter what side you are on, that you do not take this question lightly. Even if you strongly disagree with Adam Schiff or the Democratic party. You need to ask yourself– where do you want this country to be in the next four years? Do you still want it to be the United States of America or the Republican States of America?

While it’s true that the Democrats under Eric Holder got a little giddy as the White House lawyer pointed out, the behavior from both sides is wrong, and, one wrong, doesn’t make a right.

Now, I will also point out that McConnell did later clarify that witnesses were a procedural question for later in the trial and that it would be discussed then. But, my question, is, what guarantee do we have that it will be done fairly? Everything was so far done among party-line votes. It has given Twitter users the impression that the trial was rigged. #GOPCoverUp was trending for a while (

“If any amendments are brought forward to force premature opinions on mid-trial questions, I will move to table such amendments,” McConnell said in floor remarks, noting that his proposed trial resolution would postpone decisions on evidence until days into the proceedings.

“If a senator moves to amend the resolution in order to subpoena specific witnesses or documents, I will move to table such motions because the Senate will decide those questions later in the trial.”

So, we will see. Though, as it stands right now, if the Senate body of Republicans had the will to act in a certain way, they are acting 100% unified. I am reminded of many criticisms of mob-rule, that we are a Republic, not a Democracy. Yet, here we have Senators, who think they are beyond mob-rule, acting in a mob-like mentality. I would argue that is equally dangerous.

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