America these days is Not a Place for Wussies and Poodles

Charlie Pierce is right. He lists a number of incidents over the last decades when we sought to avoid constitutional crisis

In all of these matters, both subtly and directly, and by many of our institutions, including the press, we were encouraged to think of ourselves as frightened children and our democratic republic as something made of candy glass that would shatter from the vibrations if our constitutional engines were revved up too highly or if they performed their essential functions too vigorously. We were convinced that our faith in our values was a fragile and breathless thing that would collapse if exercised too strenuously.

We were persuaded that we were far too delicate these days for the kind of brawling politics in which this country had been born, and for which the Founders had set up the Constitution to maintain something resembling boundaries. We were fed cheap junk food instead of actual information until we developed a serious jones for it. Our belief in our counterfeit national innocence was that with which we washed it all down. We became a fat and lazy excuse for a democratic republic.

We are at another historic crisis point. And this time, we  walk away from facing up to the crisis at our peril. Take your pick —  interference in the election by a foreign power, massive conflicts of interest,  concerted disinformation, abrupt and dangerous foreign policy moves, whacky cabinet selections, inciting bigotry. and  ignoring constitutional rights.

Charlie thinks the answer is for the electoral college to say “no” to Trump. They are not likely to hand the election to Clinton, but they could throw the election into the House. What then?`A free for all.

But whatever happens we need to keep two things in mind. (1) Trump did not win the election – he lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million – and he has no mandate for the type of radical changes he is proposing (2) Trump is destabilizing the country by his antics and republicans are applauding it, hoping to ram through policy changes that have been rejected over and over again by voters.

These are dangerous times for America. Let’s hope we can get through them  But we won’t do that by saying, let’s just  accept what’s coming and move on.

Right on Charlie!


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