Tag Archives: democracy

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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


‘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.

These wounds won’t heal quickly

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Let’s start with the obvious.

The wounds on our nation inflicted by the rioters who stormed the Capitol Building this week won’t heal any time soon. They will fester at least for as long as the nation remains transfixed on the doings of the man who instigated the riot: Donald John Trump.

I want the wounds to heal a soon as possible. However, I believe we need to remain vigilant and alert to what brought the havoc to the doorstep of our democracy.

Donald Trump will be gone from the White House in 11 days. The House of Representatives appears set to impeach for a second time early next week. The Senate isn’t likely to convene a trial in time to decide whether to convict him. Still, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will be in office on Jan. 20 and they can get right to work dealing with the issues that matter the most.

Like, oh, that pandemic.

Trump wants to remain a political factor. My strong hope is that if the House impeaches him and the Senate convenes a trial after he leaves office that senators can muster up some sort of nerve and approve a provision that bans Trump from seeking public office ever again. He has proved demonstrably that he is unfit for public office. I want the Senate to codify that unfitness with an outright ban.

None of that will silence the mobsters who stormed into the Capitol Building. They could surface again. Indeed, there appear to be threats that Trumpsters could demonstrate on the day that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris take office. Our fondest hope should be that the D.C. police force is better prepared to respond to violence if it presents itself a second time.

Even as we allow time to lapse from the events of this past Wednesday we should be as alert to the rumblings from within our nation as we have continued to be to those we hear from terrorists abroad.

The rioters who stormed into the seat of our representative democracy are domestic terrorists who inflicted grievous damage on our system of government.

Donald Trump’s exit from the political stage cannot occur quickly enough. He’ll be gone, but the damage he and his followers have done will take time to heal.

Democracy can withstand this GOP assault

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I am going to stand strong and foursquare in representative democracy’s corner as our system of government faces down this frontal assault by the Republican Party.

Donald Trump has lost a presidential election. He continues to challenge the free and fair results. He is losing court battle after court battle. Judges are scorning his legal team’s so-called logic. Yet he persists.

I submit that representative democracy is suffering some serious collateral damage in this political fire fight. The good news, though, is that I also believe our system of government will survive.

President-elect Joe Biden will take office in about six weeks. Donald Trump will be gone from the center of the U.S. political universe. President Biden will commence the task of “restoring our national soul.”

He will have to apply proverbial bandages to representative democracy as well. Donald Trump’s assault on our system of government is putting it to an unprecedented test. I remain faithful to the notion that our system that has been tried over many years by other virulent forces will be strong enough to withstand the damage that Donald Trump is inflicting on it.

The legendary journalist Carl Bernstein calls Trump’s refusal to accept Biden’s victory as more dangerous than President Nixon’s attempt to cover up the Watergate scandal of the 1970s. Bernstein calls Trump the most “subversive” individual ever elected to the presidency. He seeks to subvert our democratic principles to his ego, to his quest for authoritarian power and for his relentless challenge to the integrity of our voting system, which is the bedrock of our government.

No man, though, is capable of bringing down out representative democracy. It will survive this assault. Indeed, it could emerge even stronger than ever.

My eternal optimism will not allow me to consign our system to the scrap heap because a demented politician seeks to destroy it.

Democracy: big winner of 2020 election

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Let’s set aside — if we can — the idiotic challenges that Donald Trump continues to mount against our electoral system.

I want to declare that the big winner of the 2020 election was none other than democracy itself. I continue to watch the straggler votes being counted and am utterly amazed at the huge numbers being rung up by the vote counters.

Nationally, more than 157 million ballots were cast. President-elect Joe Biden captured 51.2 percent of them; Donald Trump collected 46.9 percent. Biden’s vote total is nearly 81 million ballots; Trump has collected more than 74 million. Trump can claim some sort of “moral” victory (although “moral” is a word I usually do not associate with Trump) in knowing he has the second-greatest vote total in U.S. history.

Why are these numbers so staggering? Because they came while the nation is suffering through a massive pandemic that has killed more than 270,000 Americans.

Politicians urged us to vote. The call came mostly from Democrats who wanted to ensure that Americans used their constitutional right. They encouraged us to vote early if possible. My wife and I voted on the first day of early voting in Texas. We were glad to do so.

Democracy came out the big winner. Our democratic process has survived. I am confident it will survive this farcical attempt by Trump to overturn the clear and decisive result that we all delivered on Election Day. It might take some time for democracy to recover from the wounds that Trump has inflicted by sowing all this doubt into the integrity of our democratic system … but it will. Of that I am supremely confident.

President Ford told us on the day he took office that “our Constitution works.” It has shown us yet again — in the midst of a deadly pandemic — that it remains resilient, sturdy and strong.