Defending the Process of Freedom
BY JOHN FEEHERY, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR - The Hill
Progressives like to call Republicans a threat to democracy.
Pippa Norris, in the left-wing Guardian, said “American democracy is at risk from Trump and the Republicans.”
Last week, 100 left-wing scholars wrote in the New America that Republican efforts to reform voting laws are an existential threat to democracy in the U.S.
The always-measured Robert Reich called the Republican Party “an existential threat to American democracy.”
Clearly, these “experts” have little understanding what democracy is or what it is supposed to be.
Democracy is not a perfect utopia.
It is no Shangri-la. It’s not a paradise where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking and where all the children are slightly above-average, to paraphrase Garrison Keillor.
Democracy is a process for resolving differences and coming to a rough consensus about how to move the nation forward.
In this post-COVID-19 world, we as citizens all grapple with what democracy is supposed to mean, mostly because democracy was short-circuited during the pandemic.
Governors, mayors, county administrators, and yes, even the federal government, exercised power that few if any Americans realized that they had, without a vote, without a legitimate process that gave the average citizen a chance to voice their opinion and that power closed down small businesses and destroyed thousands of jobs and lives in the process.
Former President Trump said that the cure couldn’t be worse than the disease. But guess what? It was worse, far worse, and now we are beginning to understand that none of those non-pharmaceutical interventions did anything to slow the curve or save lives. It was all for naught.
Now, COVID-19 is starting to recede into the background, we are faced with an even larger threat: people who would destroy our democracy and the processes it uses to build consensus so as to defeat a political party that they no longer respect or trust.
I got a text the other day from Moveon.org, the left-wing organization. It called the entirety of the Republican Party traitors. Clearly, the progressive movement wants to rid the country of that pesky 72 million people with which it disagrees. This is not healthy.
How should the Republican Party respond? How do should it best protect freedom in this country?
First, we must insure a fair and open process:
1. Elections must be fair, open and transparent: All citizens have a right to vote and that right should not in any way be discouraged. Each vote is sacred and in America, we believe in the principle of one voter=one vote. Election integrity is the highest value in our democracy.
2. The legislative process should be fair, open and transparent in the Congress: All stakeholders should have an opportunity to have their voices heard. There should be no proxy voting. All legitimate amendments should be considered.
3. The nation’s Capitol should be open to the public. Constituents must be able to petition their government as guaranteed under the Constitution.
Second, we must promote a policy agenda that promotes the four freedoms:
1. Freedom from crime: We now know what the Democrats mean when they call for defunding the police. American citizens should have the right to live in peace and safety, not in fear of violent criminals.
2. Freedom from unelected global bureaucrats: Democracy works only if the people have a voice. And that means taking power away from the globalists and putting it back in the hands of the people.
3. Freedom from failing schools: We have now learned why our children are failing in most of our public schools, because we got the opportunity to learn more about the motivations of most public school teachers. We need to fund students and give parents the power to select the best school for their children, not failing bureaucracies.
4. Freedom from the dictates of a cruel and centralized federal dictatorship: The federal government is too big, too powerful, too expensive and too intrusive. Republicans need to devolve power back to the states and to the local communities so that the people can have control over their own lives.
Republicans win if they stick with their principles and with the Constitution. Let the Democrats talk down on democracy in the hopes of overthrowing it. We should respond by unabashedly defending American freedom and the process for securing it.
John Feehery is a partner at EFB Advocacy and blogs at www.thefeeherytheory.com. He served as spokesman to former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), as communications director to former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) when he was majority whip and as a speechwriter to former House Minority Leader Bob Michel (R-Ill.).
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