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  • Writer's pictureDoug Weiss

Business As Usual

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

A friend of mine once quipped that the evening news broadcast went as follows: “ Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Here is the news. It’s worse than you thought. Goodnight.”

That isn’t far off the mark on any given day of late. Three incidents this past week are representative. They signal the latest devolution of our political process and far worse—the degree to which acceptance of what in any other time would have been considered outrageous has become business as usual.

The first two incidents concern the outcome of the recent voting in the state of Ohio. As you may know, just shy of 60% of voters supported a change to the state’s constitution explicitly protecting the reproductive rights of women and prohibiting politicians from enforcing laws that would abrogate those rights. Almost immediately, a former Senator said in reference to the vote that it was a sign that “pure democracies are a bad form of government.” Roll that around in your head for a bit—here is a man who was a sworn representative of the people openly stating that our form of government is bad because the outcome of a vote did not support his personal beliefs. Where do you suppose he got that idea?

Within hours, representatives of the same party in that state said that it was their intent to remove jurisdiction from their courts to prevent the enactment of the legislation and would consider what, if any, modifications would be made to existing laws. In other words—they didn’t like the outcome of the vote so they intend to cancel it by extraordinary—and very likely illegal means, preventing the courts from repealing the current law that these same legislators enacted unilaterally without the advice and consent of their constituents.

Now, before I go any further let me say that this is not a screed on Abortion. Regardless of how any of us may personally feel about this issue, our laws must be held sacred. If we can and will violate our Constitution or our laws whenever we don’t like them, change them without due process, or ignore the outcome of votes, we are living in a lawless country. What is worse is that such remedies as may exist for such behavior lie solely with the courts and legislators now propose to take that right away as well. How is any of this making American great?

If the events of January 6 did not convince you that some politicians are more than prepared to jettison our Constitution and our laws in order to seize and hold power by any means they deem necessary surely this latest example clarifies their intentions. Now it is one thing for politicians to say and do things that outrage some portion of the public. Granted, these are egregious examples. But the fact is that there are a sizable number of citizens of our country who not only agree with them, but are prepared to break laws themselves to enforce their views on the rest of us, even to do so violently.

In the third and final outrage of the week we have an ex-President and current candidate stating that if elected he will immediately invoke what is in essence a dictatorship, and in his words, “weaponize the Department of Justice” to go after his political opponents. Did his supporters suddenly pause in their mindless idolatry? Not at all, they cheered him on. And when he celebrated Veteran’s Day by vowing to root out the “leftist vermin” in our country –it isn’t a stretch to say that we were listening to an echo of McCarthyism and a long line of would-be tyrants that preceded him. Whenever we hear any group of people being singled out, dehumanized and painted as the source of all that is wrong with our country—it is a short step to our very own Beer Hall Putsch.

If you think I am being over dramatic, consider what took place in Panama recently, though it could easily have been in our own country. A 77 year-old retired lawyer, an American, inconvenienced by a road blockade constructed by activists protesting a mining company’s seizure of people’s homes and property, pulled out a pistol and shot two of the protestors at point blank range. They were not threatening him, they were blocking the road. Within minutes, hundreds of posts appeared from American citizens in support of this man—and calling for the same approach whenever anyone protests.

I don’t even know where to begin—to suggest that this support for the outright abnegation of our government, Constitution, and rule of law has become an acceptable expression in our country. When duly elected legislators feel that they have not only the right but the moral obligation to defy the will of the public and overturn a legally sanctioned vote—we have crossed the line to chaos. This is precisely the authoritarian behavior our country cites as an example of the lawlessness, religious extremism and brutality we oppose in other countries but apparently condone in ours.

This is not simply a Republican versus Democrat issue although it is dressed up as that. It is the result of a calculated effort by Christian Nationalists, in league with self serving politicians desperate to obtain and retain total power over the political process supported by a cult that has been fed propaganda and lies created by our country’s enemies designed to foment disunion in our land. What does it mean to be an American if the very democratic principles on which we are founded are dispensable at the behest of those sworn to uphold them?

Sadly, there is no outpouring of outrage at what has transpired, but mostly silence in the face of what has become business as usual. One party rubs its hands with glee at the setbacks of the other in recent elections. The losers are vengeful and vow to reduce our country's economy, credit, and laws to ashes all while we are hurtling towards fiscal default and government shutdown. The newly elected Speaker of the House and architect of the plan to overturn the last Presidential election states that our country is a biblical republic not a democracy. Key military and state department posts remain unfilled, awaiting appointment by a President favorable to key Senators in a replay of the same tactics employed to fill the courts with Federal judges and justices loyal to a particular ideology. That is the news, ladies and gentlemen, it’s worse than you thought. Good Night.

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