Tuesday, June 26, 2012

We Want It Back

The chant of the Tea Party back in the spring of 2009 was “We want our country back,” even though the only things Barack Obama had done was move into the White House and tried to save the economy from the rubble of the previous administration. Apparently the idea of a black man getting laws passed in Congress was terribly radical to those people.

Now, for the rest of us, it’s our turn to demand that we get our country back. As James Fallows notes, the signs of radicalism from other quarters are far more insidious and far-reaching than rescuing General Motors and re-building a bridge in Ohio.

This is distilled from a longer item earlier today, at the suggestion of my colleagues. It’s a simple game you can try at home. Pick a country and describe a sequence in which:

● First, a presidential election is decided by five people, who don’t even try to explain their choice in normal legal terms.

● Then the beneficiary of that decision appoints the next two members of the court, who present themselves for consideration as restrained, humble figures who care only about law rather than ideology.

● Once on the bench, for life, those two actively second-guess and re-do existing law, to advance the interests of the party that appointed them.

● Meanwhile their party’s representatives in the Senate abuse procedural rules to an extent never previously seen to block legislation — and appointments, especially to the courts.

● And, when a major piece of legislation gets through, the party’s majority on the Supreme Court prepares to negate it — even though the details of the plan were originally Republican proposals and even though the party’s presidential nominee endorsed these concepts only a few years ago.

How would you describe a democracy where power was being shifted that way?

I would describe it as up a certain creek without means of locomotion.

The revolutions that make the news are the ones where the rebels ride into the capital waving guns like Castro coming to Havana, or Jesus into Jerusalem on a donkey (but without the arsenal), and with followers that get the powers that be nervous and retaliatory (see: Syrian Arab Spring). But the revolutions that really have an impact are the ones from inside the existing system where the radicals infiltrate and change the system while making it look and sound like the danger comes from without (see: Moral Majority, Christian Coalition, Tea Party).

Assuming that the Supreme Court throws out the ACA on Thursday, the revolution will continue (and won’t be televised). Mr. Fallows recalls his years living in China where it was expected that the courts would follow the party line rather than the law. Here in America we wait on the steps of the Court under the increasingly ironic marble carving EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW for the five party members to undermine seventy years of legal precedent and the basis for many of the safety nets of our society just so they can smack down a president who had the temerity to try to give millions of citizens access to affordable private healthcare, and do it for the simple reason that he’s black a Democrat.

We want our country back to a time when the law was immune to such things, or at the least aspire to it. As it is, I’m glad that Brown vs. Board of Education isn’t on the docket with this crowd.