Some days, I look forward to 2020. That may seem strange, given that every day is precious – in this great nation, America. But I can explain.
Congress used to be a place where dignified, thoughtful people worked together to solve problems for those who put them there. No more. Many are not dignified, thoughtful, interested in working together, or in solving problems. Instead, they dwell on historically ungrounded self-promotion. They inflame public passions, vilifying each other. Americans are tired of it; they want Congress to govern.
Today, many in the US House believe they won the lottery. They feel entitled to a big paycheck, lifetime pension, free travel, international trips, free postage and health care at the Capitol. They imagine they can behave as they wish and are paid by the belligerent soundbite. That cannot last.
The Republic was not founded to indulge the elected, to pile debt and worry on average American families. It was not about giving members of Congress two years to pile plates high with taxpayer benefits, globetrot and grandstand, glibly spending millions of dollars on useless, off-base hearings.
The Republic was founded on a belief that elected representatives would be, if not dignified, at least responsive to hardworking Americans. No one imagined members placing welfare of non-Americans above Americans, failing to protect or defend US borders and cities, demeaning the presidency, or undermining the Bill of Rights – from free speech and exercise of religion to fiscal responsibility and funding national security.
But here we are. Rather than honoring duties found in their constitutional oath, embodied our Declaration of Independence and founding documents, legal understandings of border and citizen protection, fidelity to truth and American history – they wander like wayward souls, imagining they are hired to spout nonsense, create outrage, spend money.
The Founders knew this day would come and dreaded it. Today, House Democrats claim American law enforcement agencies should no longer exist (e.g. ICE), US laws should no longer be enforced (e.g. via sanctuary cities and instant admission of foreign nationals), non-citizens are entitled to federal and state tax dollars for health and legal bills – and should be harbored from final orders of deportation.
Worse, we have members of Congress blithely inventing stories about non-citizens drinking from toilets, even as economic migrants arrive from countries without access to working toilets or water; in the US, they are actually not drinking from toilets but are given safe shelter, water, food and legal process.
We have members of Congress participating in public crying – literally – to highlight support for non-citizens, tagging decades-old detention polices as fault of one party, pretending to understand tax laws, while running businesses out of their districts and castigating the capitalist system that hires their constituents, makes their microphones, cell phones, twitter accounts, planes, trains, and taxpayer-funded conveniences.
Perhaps most remarkable, members of Congress make no pretense to understanding American or world history. Suddenly, conflating fiction with fact, humane centers for non-citizens entering the US illegally are described as scorch-the-soul Nazi concentration camps, where human beings were starved, tortured and killed, systematically exterminated by a horrific government, against which heroic Americans went to war – half a million giving their lives.
How can anyone be so ignorant, callous, absurdly out of touch with basic facts surrounding American and world history? How can anyone equate a nation which rescued the world from such horrors – with the horrors? How can anyone not understand the sacrifice that makes our present possible? Yet these are members of Congress – self-indulgent, self-impressed, spoiled, unrepentant and self-deceived.
How can any member of Congress not have studied basic US history, world history and the stark contrast between the two? How can a member of Congress pretend to lecture average Americans, many of whom served or have relatives who served in the military and law enforcement – making possible today’s peace, security, opportunity and rule of law? The audacity of self-righteous ignorance is always arresting – especially so, today.
The world seems upside down. Objectively uninformed, curiously ignorant, historically out-of-touch people populate the US Congress, while hard working Americans – many of whom understand the sacrifices that made America possible, our exceptional nature – are given no voice. Worse, they are mocked, dismissed, and deemed irrelevant, while members skip from microphone to microphone, spreading nonsense.
Republics and democracies, by their nature, strive to be representative. That is what 2020 will be about. The Founders knew a time would come – perhaps more than once – when liberty was placed at risk by those ignorant, arrogant, indulgent, and consumed by love of power.
The Founders provided us with protections. These include regular elections, free speech, free exercise of religion, free association, a free press, civil liberties, and the innate ability to call out those who are removed from reality – removed from the greatness and goodness of America.
Some days, I shake my head and wonder – at the oddity of those who posture in hearings, sure of their own greatness – doubting America’s. I also wonder at the extraordinary foresight, prescience, and protections our Founders put in the Constitution, allowing us to use the ballot box to remove such ungrounded souls from power. On those days, I look forward to 2020.