A great experiment: Democracy in America

Today, January Sixth is the date of counting the Electoral Colleges votes. I knew that the election was disputed from Election night when Trump said that he go to the Supreme Court. I have talked about this in my blog. But, I didn’t think he would stage another mass rally in front of the Capitol to incite the crowd to insurrection. While the Congress, the assembly of our people, was in session trying to do the fateful business of a presidential election. His speech sounded angry and childish — nothing surprising there.

Inside, what was surprising was Mitch McConnell, Republican leader of the Senate, who gave the speech of his career,

“We are debating a step that has never been taken in American history: Whether Congress should overrule voters and overturn a presidential election.
“President Trump claims this election was stolen. The assertions range from specific local allegations to constitutional arguments to sweeping conspiracy theories.
“I supported the President’s right to use the legal system.
“Dozens of lawsuits received hearings in courtrooms across the country.
“But over and over, the courts rejected these claims — including all-star judges whom the President himself nominated.

“Every election features some illegality and irregularity and it’s unacceptable.

“I support strong state-led voting reforms. Last year’s bizarre pandemic procedures must not become the new norm.

“But nothing before us proves illegality anywhere near the massive scale that would have tipped this entire election.

“Nor can public doubt alone justify a radical break when that doubt was incited without evidence.
“The Constitution gives Congress a limited role. We cannot simply declare ourselves a national Board of Elections on steroids.


“The voters, the courts, and the states have all spoken.

“If we overrule them all, it would damage our republic forever.

“This election was not unusually close. Just in recent history, 1976, 2000, and 2004 were all closer.

“This Electoral College margin is almost identical to 2016.

“If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral.

“We’d never see the whole nation accept an election again.

“Every four years would bring a scramble for power at any cost.

“The Electoral College would soon cease to exist, leaving the citizens of entire states with no real say in choosing presidents.

“The effects would go even beyond elections themselves.

“Self-government requires a shared commitment to truth and shared respect for the ground rules of our system.
“We cannot keep drifting apart into two separate tribes; with separate facts, and separate realities; with nothing in common except hostility toward each another and mistrust for the few national institutions that we still share.

“Every time in the last 30 years that Democrats have lost a presidential race, they’ve tried a challenge like this one — after 2000, 2004, and 2016.

“After 2004, a Senator joined and forced this same debate. Democrats like Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, and Hillary Clinton praised and applauded the stunt.

“Republicans condemned those baseless efforts. And we just spent four years condemning Democrats’ shameful attacks on the validity of President Trump’s own election.

“There can be no double standard. The media that is outraged today spent four years aiding and abetting Democrats’ attacks on institutions after they lost.

“But we must not imitate and escalate what we repudiate.

“Our duty is to govern for the public good.

“The United States Senate has a higher calling than an endless spiral of partisan vengeance.
“Congress will either overrule the voters, the states, and the courts for the first time ever… or honor the people’s decision.

“We will either guarantee Democrats’ delegitimizing efforts after 2016 become a permanent new routine for both sides… or declare that our nation deserves better.

“We will either hasten down a poisonous path where only the winners of elections accept them… or show we can still muster the patriotic courage that our forebears showed, both in victory and in defeat.

“The framers built the Senate to stop short-term passions from boiling over and melting the foundations of our Republic.

“I believe protecting our constitutional order requires respecting limits on our own power.

“It would be unfair and wrong to disenfranchise American voters and overrule the courts and the states on this thin basis.

“And I will not pretend such a vote would be a harmless protest gesture while relying on others to do the right thing.

“I will vote to respect the people’s decision and defend our system of government as we know it.”

My friend John Moynihan drew this cartoon illustration many years ago.

I was very upset by what I saw on television today — the fragmentation and destruction of our Democratic process, by a President who has broken his oath of office. And so I tweeted this:

I always have to remember that I live in an experiment -- that people can live free and not as subjects, governed by a written constitution. I am a free man a citizen of the USA and not a subject of the Trump Organization.

The Eight (8) Republican senators who voted against the 2020 Electoral Certification:

  • Tommy Tuberville, Ala.
  • Rick Scott, Fla.
  • Roger Marshall, Kan.
  • John Kennedy, La.
  • Cindy Hyde-Smith, Miss.
  • Josh Hawley, Mo.
  • Ted Cruz, Texas
  • Cynthia Lummis, Wyo.

I have not yet heard back from Senator Joshua Hawley.

From the New York Times January 7, 2021:

The Pentagon is deploying more than 5,000 additional National Guard troops from six states to Washington, and the troops will stay through the inauguration later this month, a senior Pentagon official said Thursday.

After pleas from Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, the Pentagon mobilized all 1,100 available District of Columbia National Guard troops on Wednesday afternoon to confront the violent mob that had stormed the Capitol. About 340 D.C. National Guard had been called up earlier in the week to help with crowd and traffic control.

An additional 5,100 Guard troops from Virginia, Maryland, New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey are expected to arrive in Washington over the next several days and remain through Jan. 20 for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s inauguration, the senior official said.

That will bring the total number of Guard troops in the capital to 6,200.

Pentagon officials said that the additional Guard personnel would support local police and federal law enforcement officers.

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