Throughout history, mankind has confronted many major crises and turning-points, both positive and negative, manmade and naturally-occurring. For purposes of this essay I prefer to divide those crises into just two major categories: 1) man-made and natural disasters, from which it has always been possible to either fully or partially recover, and 2) “flashpoints,” those major crises and world events from which a satisfactory recovery has never been possible.
Crises of the first category…. such as World War I and World War II, where combatants in those bloody conflicts eventually became allies… are far too numerous to mention. However, crises of the “flashpoint” variety are rare. And while it can be argued that the greatest “flashpoint” of all time has been the birth of Mohammed, the American people now confront no less than three such crises:
- The legislative branch of the United States government, the wealthiest and most powerful nation in world history, is now broken.
- The judicial branch of the U.S. government, the custodians of the rule of law, is now broken and the people have lost faith in the concept of equal justice under the law. And,
- Two of the most dangerous nations in world history… ruled by men who are sufficiently unbalanced as to speak openly of preemptive nuclear strikes against their enemies… are now on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons capable of reaching Europe, Israel, Japan, South Korea, and the United States.
In recent days, the American people have been witness to one of the greatest failures of representative government in U.S. history. In a nation in which advances in medicine and medical technology have lead the world for more than a century, the difference between healthcare costs and what people can afford to pay has grown wider and wider. In fact, while politicians continue to promote the fiction that it is possible to make the world’s best healthcare available to all, at affordable prices, it is fair to say that the United States now has a Rolls-Royce healthcare system, serving a population that can afford little more than used pickup trucks.
And although Republicans have been calling for the repeal and replacement of Obamacare for the past seven years… promising that they would fix our broken healthcare system if only we would elect a courageous Republican president and give them majorities in both houses of Congress… we find that they are unable to agree on even the first step toward healthcare reform.
While the Congress is made up of 435 members from all fifty states, the members have found it necessary to create no fewer than 222 special interest caucuses. No better example can be found than the Congressional Black Caucus, an organization of African-American members founded in March 1971, whose motto is, “Black people have no permanent friends, no permanent enemies, just permanent interests.” Oh, yeah? Try telling that to black Republicans such as J.C. Watts (R-OK), Tim Scott (R-SC), Will Hurd (R-TX), or Allen West (R-FL), none of whom were considered “black enough” to be welcomed into the Black Caucus.
Only Congresswoman Mia Love (R-UT) has had the courage and the patience to waste her valuable time trying to carry the conservative message to the 46 single-minded black Democrats of the caucus. No “permanent friends?” Democrats would be shocked and surprised to hear that. No “permanent enemies?” The caucus sees everyone who is not a Democrat as an enemy of black people.
On the Republican side thirty conservative Republicans, comprising the Freedom Caucus, have banded together to defeat the Republican alternative to the Affordable Care Act. Insisting on a “perfect” bill that met all of their requirements, and unwilling to see Senate amendments to the bill or the product of a House-Senate conference, the members of the Freedom Caucus stood united against the bill. Were the caucus members representing the interests of their constituents? Or were they merely bowing to the peer pressure exerted by their fellow caucus members?
In our republican form of government, we are all entitled to have representatives in Washington and in the state capitals who will exercise their best judgment on behalf of their constituents. By yielding to the wishes of special interest caucuses, regardless of the likes or dislikes of their constituents, they are, in many cases, turning their backs on those who elected them.
In the U.S. Senate, once referred to as the world’s “greatest deliberative body,” liberals and Democrats have played such vicious political games with Senate rules that we now find it all but impossible to confirm a ninth justice to the U.S. Supreme Court… unless that individual is one who is “mainstream” in his/her judicial philosophy. By that, Democrats mean a nominee who sees the U.S. Constitution, not as the Founders intended, but as a “living” document that can be twisted to meet what they see as the political, social, or economic needs at any given moment.
In recent weeks, three liberal district judges… two Obama appointees and one Bush appointee… have taken it upon themselves to write new immigration law by issuing temporary restraining orders against two Trump executive orders restricting the issuance of visas to individuals from six countries in which radical Islamist terrorism is rampant, and where it is impossible to vet any of its citizens. This, in spite of the fact that the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, Public Law 82-414 (the McCarran-Walter Act), Section 212(a), enacted two years prior to the Communist Control Act of 1954, provides no less than 31 criteria under which “classes of aliens shall be ineligible to receive visas and shall be excluded from admission into the United States.”
That body of law gives every U.S. president the absolute authority to bar any foreign person or group of persons from receiving entry visas if he deems it necessary, for any period of time that he chooses, in order to protect the lives and property of the American people. Yet, three federal judges attempt to endow foreign immigrants and refugees with U.S constitutional rights.
The Trump administration has vowed to appeal those decisions all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. But what if Senate Democrats are able to prevent a cloture vote on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch? In that event, a Trump Administration appeal would go before an eight-member Supreme Court. And if that court produced a 4-4 decision, that ruling would then revert to the lower court and their decision would be upheld. What then?
In such an event, and since Trump’s understanding of the law is irrefutable, he may wish to emulate President Andrew Jackson who, in 1832, refused to follow the dictates of the Supreme Court’s Worcester v. Georgia ruling, affirming the sovereignty of the Cherokee Nation… a decision that lead to the forcible relocation of some 15,000 Cherokees from Georgia to what is now Oklahoma. In that instance, Jackson is reported to have said, “(Chief Justice) John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it.”
As Daniel Greenfield writes in his March 27 column for FRONTPAGEmag, “Political conflicts become civil wars when one side refuses to accept the existing authority. The left has rejected all forms of authority that it doesn’t control. The left has rejected the outcome of the last two presidential elections won by Republicans. It has rejected the judicial authority of the Supreme Court when it (sic) decisions don’t accord with its agenda. It rejects the legislative authority of Congress when it is not dominated by the left. It rejected the Constitution so long ago that it hardly bears mentioning.”
Those of us who are seventy years old, or older, will remember the days when, as children, we were subjected to periodic nuclear attack drills. It was a time when the United States and the Soviet Union were the only two nations on Earth armed with enough nuclear warheads to literally destroy all signs of life on planet Earth. And while we could never be totally certain that the Soviets would never launch a preemptive nuclear strike against us, we were reasonably certain that the Soviet leadership was just as averse to a devastating nuclear exchange as we were. As a result, there was little chance that either side would ever launch such a first strike against the other. It was a standoff that was referred to throughout the Cold War as “mutually assured destruction,” or MAD.
However, the same is not true of today’s enemies. The bloodthirsty Islamist dictators in the Middle East and the brutal communist madmen in North Korea are all just insane enough to welcome a nuclear war with the West. And while the North Korean leader, Kim Jung Un, has never shown the slightest regard for the well-being of his starving people, the leaders of al Qaeda and ISIS are just crazy enough to think that death is their greatest earthly reward… not to mention the seventy-two virgins that await each of them in Paradise.
These are the “flashpoints” that we now face. And unless we take immediate steps to restore representative government and respect for the rule of law in America, and unless we take all the matches away from the maniac in North Korea before he burns our house down, then the crises we now face are truly flashpoints from which we will never recover. To parody a verse from Tennessee Ernie Ford’s hit song, Sixteen Tons:
What happens in Washington is a cryin’ shame,
The people hold elections, but it’s all just a game.
The Democrats betray us, at home and on The Hill,
If the Commies don’t get us, then the Muslims surely will.
If Daniel Greenfield is correct in his assessment, then civil war is truly upon us. Let the games begin.
Paul R. Hollrah is a retired government relations executive and a two-time member of the U.S. Electoral College. He currently lives and writes among the hills and lakes of northeast Oklahoma’s Green Country.