One of the vital – essential - components of our constitutional democracy is a robust two-party system. The other is the Constitution. The Constitution does many things, but the most important perhaps is to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority. The past two days, I have been saddened to see the extent to which some elected representatives on the far right of my party just don’t get that, uttering repeated assertions that the Supreme Court is anti-democracy on the heels of the DOMA and Prop 8 rulings. Many, including Bachmann of Minnesota, Hueselkap of Kansas, even Chris Christie opined that issues of the rights of minorities are rightly determined by the majority.
Thankfully, the Constitution says otherwise. I am stunned at the ignorance. The majority can only exercise power over the minority through actions of the Congress, the various Legislatures, and in some states by referendum. The Constitution puts substantial limits on the power of Congress, Legislatures, and voters to do so and there are numerous protections afforded minorities and individuals. In short, the Constitution specifies that SCOTUS is charged with looking after such things. And no Michelle, SCOTUS did not overrule God as God is notably absent in the Constitution, which, in fact, specifically forbids any religious test to hold federal office. Regarding DOMA and Prop 8, SCOTUS did exactly what it was supposed to do this week, exactly what we all need it to do. Neither the Constitution nor SCOTUS is infallible, but without the Constitution and SCOTUS, we will eventually all be subject to a tyranny imposed by politicians claiming direct knowledge of God’s will, or some superior political purpose or destiny.
The other insurance against tyranny, the two-party system, is under threat though. Under threat because the Republican Party, my Party, seems determined to reduce itself to a regional, white, religious party of ideologues. This in spite of a majority in the House and the most incompetent President in my lifetime – or at least since Carter. This I do not understand. Mr. Boehner, the immigration bill cannot be allowed to be DOA in the House. Immigration is a real issue about real people that touches all 300 million of us directly or indirectly. It must be addressed. Refusing to seek a thoughtful solution to this and a host of other issues will only accelerate the Republicans’ decent into irrelevancy. Republicans, Obama is not your greatest enemy, you are.
Either way, I believe we will likely attend the wedding of our daughter to her partner of ten years in the next few months, and I am looking forward to it.