Saturday, October 23, 2010

Democracy Is Under Attack By the Republican Majority on the Court [Anthony McCarthy]

This is the dirtiest election campaign I can remember. All you have to do is turn on the radio or TV to see massive evidence that Samuel Alito was lying, yet again, when he mouthed “That's not true” at Barack Obama pointing out the dangers of the “Citizens United” ruling during the State of the Union message. The hundreds of millions of dollars funneled into promoting lies around the candidates and issues of this election didn't get in there just by clever lawyers finding a loophole in the ruling, it is the clear and logical result of the ruling, it was fully intended by the five members of the Supreme Court who made that anti-democratic abomination the current meaning of the Constitution. It is just one of a string of rulings by right wing Republicans on the court with the clear intention of subverting honest elections.

For people my age, who were brought up to revere the Supreme Court during the Earl Warren years, facing that reality is very difficult. It's the high priesthood of “justice”, holding seats on the Court which used to be held by far more just people, which is actively and deliberately dismantling, not only the progress in civil rights of the past century, not only destroying protections from wealthy corporations and the robber barons that own them, they are actively and intentionally subverting the possibility of self-government by a population on the basis of accurate information.

This move began under the Burger court but it didn't really accelerate until Rehnquist took over as Chief “Justice”. It's no mere fluke of history that William Rehnquist's early role in public life was as a Republican “poll watcher” , which really means as a thug who intimidated black voters as they tried to cast votes in the wake of the civil rights rulings under the Warren Court. That he lied about it when it became an issue in his confirmation, only to have it brushed aside by the all white, male, Senate Judiciary Committee is hardly to be wondered at. The same committee would later try to ignore Anita Hill's information about the sexual harassment by Clarence Thomas and would passively absorb the lies of both Alito and Roberts during their confirmation. One of the most outrageous ads mounted by the Republican lie machine this year, are explicit instructions to Latinos to not vote "to teach them a lesson", destroying democratic government at the most basic unit of it, the vote, is the clear goal of the party of oligarchy.

The Senate is the least democratic, most unequally representative elected part of the Federal government, intended as an elite damper on democracy, originally appointed, only elected after constitutional amendment. Its role in confirming the entirely unelected Supreme Court, which for most of its history has functioned as an enabler of injustice and against democracy, can only surprise the willingly naive. The court which the Senate has given us today is one which feels little if any sense of restraint in its open attack on democracy, in favor of the Republican Party and the filthy rich which it serves above even the country itself.

We can't remain as a democratic republic if the streams of pollution flowing from the Republican majority of this Supreme Court are allowed to control our elections and our media. It is as simple as that. The cowardice and corruption of the Senate has prevented the patch of forcing disclosure of election donations in this cycle and the resultant House and Senate will be less likely to fix or overturn it. The House, the most representative, most accountable part of the federal government, has passed that legislation, as it has hundreds of other bills only to have it blocked by the Senate, which is the source of the corruption. But it is the Court which they have confirmed which is the active agent of destruction. If that doesn't change, there are two alternatives, we will either become an ever worse, ever more corrupt, ever more despotic country or there will be a civil war. The relationship of the Senate and the Court which they have confirmed to this crisis is direct, they have not blocked some of the worst appointments to the Court in the spotty history of that most unjustifiably revered institution.

The original Constitution which contained the disease of slavery wasn't strong enough to abolish it, it took a horrible civil war to do that. The part which the defects of the sacrosanct Constitution played in that was too clear, too obvious and too direct to remain an unmentioned, embarrassing secret. The present crisis is also the result of defects in the Constitution, defects which are the direct cause of it. The cumbersome amendment process, which provides low population states with a disproportional veto power over even an overwhelming majority of the population will make changing it under the Constitution extremely unlikely. Short of a miraculous and previously unexhibited sense of morality and responsibility by an effective majority in this Senate, we are on a one way road to disaster. In the past a sense of morality overrode the cynical dishonesty of Senators just often enough to avoid another civil war. I look at the present situation and see the 1850s more than the 1950s. People should prepare accordingly. They should certainly vote. If people informed of reality don't then they are no better than the Senate.