What is at Stake?
Our nation is engulfed in an angry, sometimes violent debate about something. But what is it?
People who think that this all started with Donald Trump are seriously mistaken. Recall that many in the Democratic party “resisted” the election of George W. Bush in 2000 and then proceeded to destroy his person and administration. President Bush did nothing to help himself by attempting to “split the difference” between conservatism and progressivism, and, by leading us into a war with Iraq that came to be seen as justified by faulty intelligence and naive expectations.
The nation then traded the “compassionate conservative” philosophy for “fundamental change” progressivism by electing Barack Obama to the presidency. However, there was no “racial healing” to be found in this historic development but rather increasing racial division. There was no achieved consensus on health care reform, but rather a solution supported by 51% of the Congress shoved down the throats of the 49% (and the citizens whom they represent).
Many people believe that we have withdrawn into two political camps that share no common ground. In that scenario there is only the question of who will finally defeat whom. But, for that to happen a stable “51+%” of the population would have to emerge that lasted for a generation.
Given the disinterest of, say, 60% of our population in politics and policy (a position that I better understand after the past 20 years), one reasonable expectation is that the ideological “20%” on the left and right will compete in an unstable environment. In this scenario, we would experience huge policy swings as unreconcilable ideologies sequentially gain temporary political power. This is exactly what we see now, with Donald Trump reversing Barack Obama’s policies. Were a Democrat to win in 2020 or 2024 we would see the same dynamic.
But although the above scenario seems bad (because it is), I contend that it is the optimistic scenario. That is, it assumes that, over time, the irreconcilable differences between left and right will be resolved by the working of a stable democratic republic. Yes, there will be many terrible consequences from the instability. But the instability will occur because the citizens of the republic can’t make up their minds. And, even within this instability there will still exist a stable constitutional system that protects fundamental liberty.
The more pessimistic scenario is that we are leaving a constitutional democratic republic behind and heading towards tyranny. Anyone who has been keeping up with this blog knows that I am not a supporter of Donald Trump. Nor was I a supporter of Barack Obama. However, the election of Mr. Trump has, if nothing else, allowed light to penetrate into the dark crevices of our gargantuan permanent ruling class. And what has been revealed is truly alarming.
As I pointed out in a previous post, the Obama Administration used its temporary public trust to weaponize powerful law enforcement, intelligence, regulatory and revenue departments of the federal government in order to attack citizens and groups with opposing views. Since that post was written new information (see here, here, here, here, etc.) has become available that shows the scope and depth of this corruption to be far beyond what I could have imagined.
It has become clear to me that a significant motivation for the violent emotional progressive frenzy over Trump’s election is because what they thought would be forever hidden would now come to light. It’s not just that they lost a Presidential election. No, it’s that the people against whom the federal government was being weaponized forced these corrupt practices into the light. And note well — this reaction does not depend on the personality or policies of Donald Trump.
Under President Obama the Democratic Party was devastated at the federal Congressional, state and local level. The last bastion of power was their hold on the Presidency. They thought that hold was unbreakable. They found out to their horror that the people who had voted against their candidates at all other levels of government would do the same at the Presidential level.
Their response was to “resist” the Trump Administration in all ways imaginable, from violent street riots, to shameless leaking of classified information to publishing unattributed innuendo as fact to ginning up a “Russian collusion” narrative that more than a year later is still without a shred of credible evidence in support.
Does the Democratic Party presume that, while they own the Presidency, they are free to use the overwhelming power of the state to subvert, intimidate and criminalize opposition? Is the Democratic Party claiming a “veto power” over Presidential elections? If the U.S. citizenry doesn’t vote the “politically correct” way does anything go to overturn their decision? I hope the answer to these questions is a resounding No!
Because if the answer is anything less then we are contending between a constitutional democratic republic and naked tyranny.