Survival Journalism

Op-Ed

Notes From the Frontlines

 

It isn’t surprising that the nation’s battle to free itself from the grip of its fascist suppressors has begun in Pennsylvania. Freely swinging back-and-forth from red to blue and back, again, the Commonwealth has become a microcosm of American political opinion. Lacking any semblance of a progressive agenda, our voters typically favor the lesser of two white, male evils – defined as the dude least likely to take away their guns – and elect morons and lunatics in the process. Without the right to amend our own constitution via referendum, we have to depend on the politicians already violating its provisions to protect us from themselves. And now we are facing the prospect of the impeachment of Supreme Court Justices by a Republican Senate possessing a super-majority (through its gerrymandering) because those Justices denied their leaders’ right to violate the PA Constitution.

Nothing can be much sadder than watching crooks trying desperately to hold onto the booty which they believe they’ve rightfully stolen.

Yes, Democrats gerrymander. It is somewhat ironic that the father of the practice, early Nineteenth Century Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry, was a “Democrat-Republican.” (And you thought that Party started with Bill Clinton, didn’t you?) Districts drawn by Democrats in other states are undoubtedly just as deformed. And the fundamental processes permitting the ongoing power grab to continue – the methods states choose to redraw their districts after each census to account for populations shifts – must be re-examined and improved.

But this is about Pennsylvania. It is about the right of Justices elected by the people of Pennsylvania to “check” and “balance” the perceived right of a minority Party (which has gained power through unconstitutional methods) to steal another election. It is about the most fundamental elements of American Democracy.

Already we’ve seen the misdirection and diversion added to the discussion in the best Trumpian fashion. “Look at Maryland! It’s just as bad!” Unless it has recently ratified the PA Constitution, it doesn’t matter. “We have a right to gerrymander!” You have a right to redraw districts in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. The Supreme Court has the right and responsibility to determine if you’ve met the obligation. “Look at the campaign contributions the Justices got from politicians!” This is Pennsylvania, people. Everyone is getting money from politicians.

We elect our judges. They have to raise money to get elected. And the vast majority of their contributions come from lawyers, politicians and their PACs. Yes, it is a horrible system, readily manipulated by the greedy and corrupt. (One needs to look no further than the “Kids for Cash” scam for documentation of the latter fact. One needs to look no further than any judicial Campaign Committee report for validation of the former.) But since the only people who can change the system are those it has already elected, it’s about the best we can expect for now.

Meanwhile, the scheduled redistricting won’t impact the Special Election scheduled for March 13, meaning whoever is elected to represent the Eighteenth District in Congress may not serve past the end of the year; making the race and even more fundamental statement of acceptance or rejection of Donald Trump than it was when it began.

The ads have been running for at least a month and, although both Trump and Pence have been in town to campaign for the Republican, have yet to mention Donald Trump. But I can assure you – the voters who drag themselves to the polls to vote only for a Congressman to represent them for a few months won’t be thinking about how much Rick Saccone loves his god and the flag or how much Conor Lamb loves his gun. They will be there because of Donald Trump. And another defeat for the Republicans in this still-gerrymandered Republican district would send an emphatic signal that the voters have had enough.

The citizens of Pennsylvania should be enthusiastically applauding this decision by the State Supreme Court’s Democratic majority which affirms the pre-eminence of the rights of the People over the power of the Parties. The “nation of laws, not of men” can now be reborn in Pennsylvania, the state previously best known for potholes and political corruption.

That’s called “irony.”

[Featured image credit: DonkeyHotey/Flickr]

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