On this most sacred of days on the American civic calendar, we proudly present a patriotic Canadian chewing the scenery out of the Preamble.
Here’s how elections work: Votes are cast, ballots counted, winners declared, the Republic endures.
Oops, we’re sorry. That’s the Schoolhouse Rock version.
That elections — our elections — don’t work like a simple cartoon, or a Capra movie, or a high-school civics class, well, that’s a problem, isn’t it?
No fucking clue, really. Feels like wind in the sails, a cleansing blue wave crashing upon our hellish red shores, but also feels like we’ve been here before, an easy confidence in the road ahead before driving off a cliff.
Shit can happen. Shit does happen. Shit has happened.
But while we’re deciding whether that light in the tunnel is really an oncoming train, you’re welcome to join our Midterm Election Open Thread Celebration/Wake/Emigration Helpline. We can do this revolution the easy way or the hard way, comrades.
A Republic consists of its Citizens. That is the point of our Experiment in Democracy, where power resides in the collective will of the people, as expressed through their representatives.
At the time of our creation as a nation, this was by no means a generally agreed idea. We were colonies of a monarchy, one of many across Europe, each with its own landed hereditary aristocracy. Power was tightly held by families who had always held it, and for good reason, they thought. To let peasants through the door was madness.
Of course, the citizenry of our new nation was somewhat constrained, and would remain so for more than a century — continuing to this day, many would argue — but let’s set aside the cynicism of our founding and liberate the ideals from their circumstance. They’re fine ideals, after all. They continue to inspire. Our cynicism arises from not living up to them.
And hey, we did fight a war over them. A revolutionary war.
What was that about?
During Tuesday night’s vote on the motion to open the Senate healthcare bill for debate, senators representing 143 million citizens voted in favor, while senators representing 179 million citizens voted against.
This was considered a tie.
To break the tie, a man who was elected with almost three million votes less than his opponent stepped in to bring the bill to the floor.
And with that, the Will of the People had been expressed.
The Senate is the only institution in American governance that does not even pretend to represent Americans. Instead, it represents territorial units of America, land instead of people. That land is not evenly divided, but the result of historical circumstance. And that land does not include the District of Columbia, which boasts more souls than Vermont or Wyoming.
There is no reason for any of this.
There are only excuses.
You might say, with justification, that it has already happened: That the moment Donald Trump fired James Comey was the moment our government was overthrown by a hostile power.
Trump’s action was within his authority as president. But it went well beyond conventional abuse of power. He fired Comey to save his own hide. And the Republican traitors in Congress let him get away with it.
But if you’re looking for a line, a clear line that indicates Before & After, a red line that separates Democracy from Tyranny, that line hasn’t been drawn yet. It’s about to be. That line is about to be drawn so clearly that there can be no evading its consequences.
When Robert Mueller is fired, the coup against America will be complete.
When we first read the Federalist Papers, in our early twenties, we were most impressed by the Founders’ understanding of human nature, and the nature of power. This was not an idealistic government built for the Shining City on the Hill — it was designed for the dirty, grubby people in the valley.
The part we all know is the Separation of Powers, with Checks and Balances. But the design was much more thorough than that: overlapping variations in terms, protection for smaller states, a notorious method to offset the power of the Free North against — let’s not kid ourselves here — the Slave South.
Where Congress represented the interests of States and Citizens, the Presidency was designed to represent the nation as a whole. And, as the most powerful position in their structure, the Founders were very particular about how someone might achieve that prize.
To that end, they created a hiring committee.