Tag Archives: democracy

Democratic process is alive and thriving

We cast our ballots this morning for all the contests facing us in this midterm election, but I want to offer a brief immediate takeaway from what we noticed when we drove to our polling place.

We approached the Princeton (Texas) Community Center and noticed (a) a parking lot full of vehicles, (b) lots of signs extolling the virtues of candidates and issues and (c) a line at the polling station that was stretching out the door.

My thought? The democratic process is alive and well in our Collin County community.

I don’t know how many of our city of more than 20,000 residents voted early. I just was struck by the active Election Day participation we noticed this morning.

It gives me hope that our process will survive the onslaught it is enduring at the moment from those who seek to undermine it.

I am acutely aware that a momentary glimpse of a polling station doesn’t precisely qualify as a mountain of empirical evidence of what I have concluded.

I will accept it, though, as sufficient reason to have hope that our electoral process is working.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Now … we wait for the votes

OK, here’s where we stand on the eve of the most consequential midterm election I can remember … and at the age of almost 73, I can remember a lot of ’em.

Depending on who you ask or who is doing the talking, Democrats are either (a) going to get a serious, back-alley thumping at the polls or (b) might pull off the surprise of the century and hold onto the Senate and cut their expected losses in the House of Representatives.

I will not venture a prediction on what will occur. I don’t have a clue. I live out here in the middle of the country. All the political action is either back east or in the Deep South or out west in places like Arizona and Nevada.

My bride and I just returned from the western region of the nation; we spent a few nights listening to the news out of Arizona and Nevada. We heard the extreme negativity coming from both sides of the great divide. I didn’t ask anyone what they thought of the tone and tenor of the campaign being waged.

We’re home now. We are going to vote on Tuesday. No early voting for me … for reasons I have explained already.

What will the result be at the end of it all? Beats me, man. You know what I want to happen: I would prefer the Senate and House remain in Democratic hands, given Republicans’ refusal to offer any solutions other than to obstruct what President Biden wants to accomplish.

If the House flips to GOP control, then I fear a vengeance-filled period for the next two years and likely beyond. The best hope, I suppose, lies in the Senate, where Democrats appear to have a puncher’s chance of holding on to the committee gavels.

Is our democracy at stake? You’re damn right it is!

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Democracy, indeed, is on the ballot

Make no mistake: Democrats across the nation have pegged the stakes in this election correctly.

Democracy itself is on the ballot in all 50 of our states. It falls, then, on voters to ensure that our democratic process survives the onslaught it is facing from the array of election deniers, MAGA adherents and political perverts who believe that violence is the way to settle political differences.

Many of them are threatening to take power in states where believers of The Big Lie are making noises about overturning election results; one of the big liars, Wisconsin Republican nominee for governor, Tim Michels, has said that Republicans never will lose another election in his state if he is elected governor.

Yes, democracy is on the ballot. Its well-being is facing direct peril. It is up to the voters of this great land to ensure it survives.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

War on democracy!

House select 1/6 committee chairman Bennie Thompson said it eloquently this week as he opened the latest televised hearing into the insurrection incited by the immediate past president of the United States.

He said Donald Trump sought to declare war against our democratic process, the one he took an oath to protect and defend. Instead, when the results of an election didn’t go as he intended, he summoned the crowd and told ’em to take back their government from those who “stole” it from them.

The televised hearings have informed us of something critical. It is that Trump’s closest advisers, including members of his family, told him he lost the 2020 election to Joseph Biden. Trump knew the evidence wasn’t there. The attorney general said so, as did the FBI director, and so did practically every individual — with a few notable, infamous exceptions, of course — within earshot of the president.

Did he heed what they said? No, he went to war with the very democratic process that has been operating since the founding of the republic.

How in this blessed world does anyone accept a thoroughly discredited notion that the election was “rigged” to secure a victory for Joe Biden?

Indeed, the only thievery being attempted has been done by the guy who lost the election! That, too, has been made abundantly clear during the testimony we all have heard.

A man who swore to almighty God to protect the government from enemies “foreign and domestic” only to declare war on that very institution must not be allowed anywhere near the halls of power … ever again!

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Keeping faith in our system

Worriers have expressed concern about whether our “fragile democracy” can withstand the assault that has been launched against it.

I will not join the worry warts among us. I am proclaiming my implicit faith in the strength of our democratic process and my belief that it will emerge from this crisis stronger than when it all began.

Donald Trump lost a presidential election in 2020 but his frontal assault on our democratic process has persisted. He has sought to undermine Americans’ faith in our electoral system by proclaiming that he lost only because of “widespread voter fraud.”

The judicial system has withstood those challenges by rejecting them in court.

I am not naive to ignore what might be lurking on the political horizon. Election deniers are winning primary races, positioning themselves to possibly take office at the end of the year. They are thought to be in position to set future electoral policy that could benefit Donald Trump and his minions at the ballot box.

I am going to rely on my belief — and I don’t think it’s misplaced — that voters are smarter than that. It falls on the rest of us to remind them repeatedly of the folly of doing something foolish.

Therein lies the strength of our democratic process. We still have that thing we call the “marketplace of ideas.” Thus, my generally optimistic nature demands that I place my faith that wisdom will win out … and that our collective good sense will preserve our cherished democratic process.

Let me remind you that we have survived world wars, a civil war and all manner of constitutional crises. The common denominator in all of those struggles: the U.S. Constitution. It will hold the nation together again.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Democracy under attack

Democracy is facing an existential threat in the very nation that holds itself up as the model for democratic freedom, liberty and the rule of law.

That would be the United States of America.

I keep reading about The Big Lie and the effort to launch what amounts to a coup against the government that the great Winston Churchill once called “the worst form of government ever created” but is better than anything else ever tried.

I continue to maintain faith that our democratic process will withstand the assault being launched by the far-right wing of the spectrum, led by the most recent former president. His legal team (and I use that term with extreme caution) has tried to overturn the results of the 2020 election. The court system, though, is doing its job by acting as a shield against such lawlessness.

It hasn’t stopped the former POTUS or his minions. They are continuing their assault.

As the nation and the world watches Ukraine defend itself against the bullets and bombs thrown at it by Russia, we are witnessing another sort of struggle in this country. It’s been bloodless — more or less — until now.

I do not expect blood to flow. However, I worry about whether our democratic process will be able to recover fully from the wounds being inflicted by the former POTUS and his cabal of cultists.

I am going to keep the faith that our democratic process is strong enough. Hey, we once fought a civil war and it survived.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Ready for grim remembrance

(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Let’s be clear: Tomorrow will be a day of grim memories; there will be no cause for celebrating an “anniversary” of an event that still roils our political system.

It was a year ago that an angry mob stormed Capitol Hill. You know what happened next, so I won’t belabor the point with this blog post.

What we are learning in the year since has been Donald Trump’s response to it. How he did nothing for 187 minutes after the insurrectionists first breached the Capitol grounds. We also have heard about the multiple takes it took for him to complete a video in which he said he “loved” those “special people” who wanted to “Hang Mike Pence!”

What’s more, we have heard how his oldest children, Ivanka and Don Jr., implored Daddy POTUS to stop the rioters, to call them off, to end the violence. Daddy Donald did nothing. He is, therefore, complicit in the damage brought to the Capitol and to the lives that were harmed — and lost! — in the melee.

This gives us reason to cheer? Hardly! The men and women who stormed the Capitol were not patriots by any measure or any way you can define the term. They were intent on destroying our democratic process. They were traitors to the nation.

So, too, was the lunatic who incited the riot.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Faith wavers, however …

My faith in this country’s democratic fabric is beginning to stumble, stagger and is wavering in light of what might lie ahead as we slog through the midterm election and then approach the 2024 presidential election.

I keep hearing dire predictions of democratic doom if Donald J. Trump gets nominated by the Republican Party in 2024 and then wins the presidency; FYI, it pains me greatly just typing those words at the front end of this sentence.

I am not going to predict that Trump will be the GOP nominee, let alone be elected POTUS in three years.

You see, I possess a gigantic reservoir of faith in the strength of our governmental system. I will continue to cling tightly to my belief that Americans are smarter than what many of our national pundits are suggesting. The fear is being expressed from the left side of the great divide. Progressives say they are concerned that the coup attempt that failed on 1/6 could be revived if Republicans gain control of Congress after the midterm election; I believe GOP emergence is far more likely than not.

Through it all, though, my sincere hope and belief is that our democracy will find a way to emerge from the smoldering wreckage.

Let’s be clear about a thing or two. We have endured tremendous crises in our history. We fought among ourselves in a Civil War that killed 600,000-plus Americans; we emerged victorious in two bloody worldwide conflicts; we watched a president resign in disgrace just ahead of an impeachment over an extreme abuse of power and constitutional authority; we endured three more presidential impeachments, in 1998, 2020 and 2021.

I agree that the final impeachment was the direct result of a POTUS inciting an insurrection and then doing nothing to call a halt to it as rioters carrying flags with the POTUS’s name stormed the Capitol Building while seeking to halt the certification of the 2020 election results.

And we are still dealing with the fallout of that riot, which has caused those progressive pundits to express fear for the future of our democracy.

I want to stipulate once more than our nation’s founders built a government designed to withstand these challenges. Those men knew what they were doing.

I am going to place my faith in our founders’ wisdom, even as my faith is showing signs of wear and tear.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Clumsiness in full view

Winston Churchill’s opinion of democracy is playing out in full view of the world at this moment.

The great British statesman said — and I will paraphrase it broadly — that “democracy is the worst form of government except all others that have been tried”

So we are now watching members of our Congress haggle, quarrel, cajole each other over how to avoid a debt-default crisis while at the same time haggling over how to improve our nation’s infrastructure.

My trick knee is telling me that somehow, some way and in some fashion the Democrats who run Congress are going to find their way out of the thicket. They have a key ally in the White House: President Joseph R. Biden, who spent 36 years as a senator. The president knows how to legislate.

Congressional Republicans, of course, are sitting on the sidelines. They aren’t part of this haggling, which is boiling down to a dispute between Democratic liberals and moderates.

It’s messy. It’s cumbersome. It’s the kind of governance that the 20th century’s greatest statesman — Winston Churchill — said would occur.

Excuse the cliche, but this really is a great country.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

‘Assault on democracy’ explained

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

A critic of this blog wants to know how Texas’s efforts to restrict voting is an “assault on democracy,” as President Biden has described it.

I’ll take the bait and offer what I believe is an explanation for all to read.

It’s an assault because our form of representative democracy — as I have understood it — intends to make voting easier for all Americans. Thus, states and local governments have enacted early-voting laws; they have given citizens a chance to cast ballots in a variety of ways; they have sought to extend early-voting days and hours to enable citizens to have their voices heard.

Texas Republicans along with their GOP colleagues in several other states have determined that such voting initiatives also lead to corruption of the voting process. They have concocted the Big Lie about the 2020 presidential election about “rampant vote fraud” where it did not exist and have projected it onto efforts to restrict access to those who wish to vote. The Texas GOP legislative caucus also wants to give judges more power to overturn election results.

One of the tragic consequences of this effort is that the GOP is  targeting minority voters who — get a load of this — tend to vote Democratic. Shocking, yes? Rather than seeking to compete head to head with Democrats over their ideas and policies, Republicans instead are seeking to restrict access to all eligible U.S. citizens.

Where I come from, I consider all of that taken together to be an assault on democracy. The Texas Democratic legislative caucus has stalled the GOP assault — if only temporarily. The Legislature likely will  reconvene soon in special session to figure out a new strategy to continue its attack on our democratic process. I hope Democrats hold firm.

This brief response likely won’t persuade my blog critic friend of anything. I just felt the need to clear the air.