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Taking a Gander: Minority rule is here

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One doesn't need to be a poli-sci graduate to see that our nation is going from topsy-turvy to completely upside down. Anyone who actually believed that America was all about responsible majority rule needs to take a moment to think about it.

There's surely no debate here: The Founding Fathers had some basic premises in the establishment of our new nation. First and foremost was a Constitution that protected the rights of all Americans, and no person was to be deprived of the essential rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Oops! Before the ink was dry, there was already a moral predicament in that declaration; men, simply, were not created equal in America, and slavery was very much alive and well on the plantations of the South.

No problem! It took only a bit of mental and moral gymnastics to provide clarity: Black people would merely be relegated to a different sub-group—not real human beings. After all, anything being bought and sold, certainly lacked the status of "man," and so, the Bill of Rights would serve all—except those with dark skins.

A second premise was that the proposed United States should be a government "of, by and for the people," wherein public servants—elected through a fair voting system—would draft policies and laws consistent with the voice of the majority, while still carefully protecting the rights of the individual.

Think again.

While intent on serving the purpose of a workable "representative democracy," the founders of our nation may have been a bit naïve. It is unlikely that they had any inkling about where the grand vision would end up—that small groups, totally unlinked from the common good and guided only by their own selfish aims, would find the dollars necessary to win elections.

When money took over the seat of power—largely enabled by the Citizens United SCOTUS decision—it allowed the hijacking of our nation by special interests that did not represent the will of the people. Elections, today, are not about choosing good and noble people to serve. They are only about who has the biggest pot of gold.

It was the Founders' imperative that religion should have no voice in government, and that the two should remain uncompromisingly separate. Once more, that was much more easily said than done. The big-bucks-system would ensure that the most radical candidates, representing the fewest extreme constituents, could win elections. That's a fatal disconnect from the vision of our nation; it enables the domination, by a few, over the majority.

Separation of the three branches of government should have made it impossible for a president to manipulate the courts—especially the Supreme Court, which would pronounce a final decision on issues that the lower courts had failed to resolve. Sadly, our system allows judicial appointments by the sitting president, something that's created a possibly insurmountable impediment to our freedom.

Despite the premise that Supreme Court justices should be totally detached from politics, lifetime appointments of justices has left the floodgates open for judicial prejudice at the highest level. It is not only conceivable, but expected, that a justice might rule on an issue in a way that pleases the man who put him/her on the court. The probable Roe vs. Wade outcome is a disaster.

Perhaps, for the first time in our history, Americans are now worried that even the highest court has been tainted and is functioning under political sway. And, of course, the judicial, executive, and legislative branches were designed to function separately for the overall good of the nation—a system of checks and balances to see that the precepts of American democracy were protected and honored. That broke down, perhaps irreparably, during the Trump administration, wherein the president packed the courts to cultivate his constituency and took de facto control of the judiciary—even holding an attorney general in his pocket to avoid taking responsibility for his own actions. That wasn't ever anticipated by the makers of our nation.

Perhaps the issue least properly addressed by the Founding Fathers was the matter of states' rights. When would the federal government lay down the rules, and how much would be left up to the peculiar, narrow interests of individual states, with their unique religious, social and economic compositions?

Clearly, the Founding Fathers missed some essential challenges of creating an American republic. Most obvious is the problem that the demographics and economics of individual states can invalidate the national authority and withhold legitimate civil rights. The very real risk of having, say, a highly religious state population impose its will on nonbelievers, was an unresolved challenge. It still is today.

We're now seeing the longer-range effects of presidential corruption—how a sitting president can upset the country's balance for the foreseeable future, invalidating the rights of others by promoting minority agendas of groups that seek to curtail America's freedoms. Sadly, the minority is well-funded, well-organized and intent on controlling everyone else.

There was never any question that the radical Christian Right always hated the clown-king. His life stank of improprieties, frauds and whoredoms. But the "right" also saw an opportunity to influence Trump's weak and uneducated brain by giving him what he most desired: Praise and attention.

When Trump saw how easily he could garner the accolades of the far-rightwing evangelicals, he was willing to compromise the rights of everyone else by favoring so-called Christian hot-buttons. That was reflected in his Supreme Court appointments, and Americans may never again be able to trust in the moral integrity of the nation's court of last resort.

It seems that there are lots of questions and few answers, but restoring balance and integrity to the Supreme Court should be a priority. Appointment of additional justices, in order to achieve a healthy balance, is essential. This nation cannot survive on its present course.

The author is a retired businessman, novelist, columnist, and former Vietnam-era Army assistant public information officer. He lives in Riverton, Utah with his wife, Carol, and the beloved ashes of their mongrel dog.

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