Every politician, member of the armed services, and public servant from postal carrier to dog catcher to school teacher is required to pledge to support and defend the United States Constitution. The problem with that requirement is it is ambiguous and dependent on the individual’s idea of what exactly “support the Constitution” even means. For dog’s sake, the conservatives on the Supreme Court can hardly support the Constitution as it was written, so it is absurd to expect politicians, particularly Republicans, to support a document they fundamentally disagree with when it comes to executing their duties of political office. However, although Republicans detest democracy, they certainly understand the principle behind it and instead of swearing an oath to support a document always open to interpretation, Americans should demand that all politicians pledge to support America’s democracy; or leave office forthwith.
First it is important to note that America’s democracy is a ‘representative democracy’ that means the people elect other people to represent their interests in government. Representative democracy also means one person, one vote and if that simple rule was adhered to by Republicans, a world of misery for the people, including a pathetically dysfunctional government, would cease to exist. Although it took over two-hundred years to enable all Americans’ to participate in the democratic process, it did in fact work relatively well until 2000 when the Supreme Court decided they, and not the people, determined who would be president. The nation, and its representative democracy has, and will, never be the same; all due to a few judges who swore to uphold and interpret the U.S. Constitution, but not America’s democracy informing that as de facto Republican politicians, conservatives on the High Court must also be required to pledge to support democracy or be removed from the bench.
If one ponders, even briefly, what the condition of America would be had a requirement for Supreme Court Justices to support democracy or be removed been in effect in 2000, it obviously would be a different country. There would be no Citizens United ruling that helped eviscerate the one person, one vote principle in a representative democracy. There would also still be a working Voting Rights Act to guarantee that Republicans in former Confederate states were forbidden to enact veritable Jim Crow laws and poll taxes to disenfranchise minority voters. This sad pathetic “representative democracy” would also not have a need for campaign finance laws because one person, one vote would eliminate the flood of corporate cash buying politicians to serve the interests of the few and not the masses. Imagine too, that if politicians truly supported democracy or faced immediate removal from office, they would not gerrymander their districts to guarantee that representative democracy did not work for the people.
Even though the Supreme Court and Republicans have all but crippled America’s representative democracy because they support the Constitution, but not democracy, it is still not too late to demand a new oath to support democracy as a requirement to serve in all levels and all capacities of government. Demanding that politicians, especially Republicans, and all federal judges sign a pledge supporting democracy or be removed with extreme prejudice is not a new idea by any means. Last December a coalition of working-families, activists, the Postal Workers union (APWU), AFT, and Jobs with Justice confronted members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) at an annual meeting and asked them to sign a pledge “upholding the will of the people and support democracy, or leave their states.”
Obviously ALEC members, authors of each and every anti-democracy voter suppression law and Republican-state statute empowering corporate fascism, refused to sign the pledge to support democracy. But in refusing they did reveal that their raison d’être is, if not destroying, opposing democracy according to the will of their Koch funders and Republicans doing the will of the Kochs. The will of the people, or representative democracy, has never been an appealing prospect to ALEC, the Kochs, or for the past 14 years, Republicans that have successfully decimated America’s once-storied and revered democracy.
This country has not had a representative democracy since 2,000, and it all began with the Supreme Court’s appointment of George W. Bush as president despite he was not the people’s choice according to one person, one vote. History will not look kindly on that one auspicious act of authoritarianism on the part of the High Court that, like ALEC members, refused to uphold the will of the people and support democracy that put the country on the path of corporate fascism that sadly, no new pledge or oath of office is ever going to alter. Still, it is incumbent on every American to go to the polls and participate in the democratic process. Because at the rate corrupt Republicans, conservatives on the Supreme Court, and Koch brothers’ ALEC are destroying democracy, it may well be the last pretense of a representative democracy they will ever participate in or this nation witnesses.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.