Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Country Before Party

"Look, at some point, Democrats have to decide whether they love this country more than they hate this president.  And they have to decide that they want to put the safety and the security and the diplomacy of our country ahead of their own political games. And we're very hopeful that they will."

The Press Secretary made that statement on an episode of Fox & Friends in regard to Democratic opposition to the nomination of now Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the post in April last year.  And I've been seeing it make the rounds on social media to refer to all kinds of actions by the Democrats.  The latest being the opposition to the declaration of a national emergency for the border wall.

The shoe is on the other foot now, it seems.

Now it is time for Republicans to decide whether they are more loyal to their country or to Donald J. Trump.  With the overreach in power in the declaration of a national emergency.  With continuing revelations regarding his corruption.

Or given the events of this past week, perhaps the better focus is on just one Republican in particular - Senator Lindsey Graham.

Following a unanimous vote in the House, Senator Graham blocked a resolution in the Senate which would make the full Mueller report available to the public.   He used a bit of whataboutism in his justification, objecting when Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer refused to include an amendment that would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate candidate Hilary Clinton.  "Was there two systems of justice in 2016?  One for the Democratic candidate and one for the Republican candidate?" Graham asked.

Generally, no, but we do scrutinize the winners of an election, or actual elected officials much more closely than we do the losing candidate.

Senate Minority Leader Schumer could not understand the opposition.  "There is no good reason, no good reason that the special counsel's report should not be made public.  The American people are overwhelmingly for the report being made public.  They have a right to see it.  No one should stand in the way of that."  And later "I have absolutely no idea why a member of this body would object to this basic level of transparency whatever their concern or other issues."

Perhaps the transparency is the concern.  Could Senator Graham be concerned that he might be implicated in the Mueller report?  Is the President using his relationship with Senator Graham, one of his more staunch defenders now, to keep this document out of the public eye?  Would the release of the report make any difference with Trump supporters no matter what it revealed (probably not)?

It's past time for politicians of all stripes to start putting country above party.  To end the endless reelection cycle.  To reinstate campaign finance reforms to end the endless fundraising cycle.  To put our representatives back to work for us instead of spending 50% of their time raising more money.

To take Washington's warning of factions and parties to heart.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.
Washington's Farewell Address

It's time to expect better of our government.


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