In this Bookworm Beat, I admit I skipped the Democrat candidate debate, and instead focus on anti-democratic impeachment and snotty European attitudes.
(This is a companion post to the No. 25 Bookworm Podcast which I uploaded yesterday. The content is mostly the same, although not identical. It won’t matter much, I think, whether you prefer to read or listen.)
Ignoring the candidates debate. As a rather silly aside, am I the only one who, whenever I hear or see the phrase “candidates debate,” suddenly has a switch turn in my mind, followed by the lilting harmonies of Simon & Garfunkel’s Mrs. Robinson?
I actually skipped last night’s candidates debate. After struggling through the first two Democrat candidates debate, I decided that I didn’t have the stomach for a third.
CNN is manipulating things to push the station’s preferred candidate (as we long suspected, but Project Veritas confirms); each of the candidates’ statements is heavily scripted, and they’re all pushing one form or another of socialism, from Warren’s and Biden’s hardcore desires to the socialism “lite” from Buttigieg and Gabbard. At this point, Democrat voters may still be deciding between six of one versus half a dozen of the other, but I know that it will be a cold day in Hell before I vote for any one of them.
The profoundly anti-democratic nature of impeachment. Although we don’t have completely direct democracy, thanks to the tempering qualities of the Electoral College, the president is still the People’s elected representative. That is, our Congress members or state governors do not get together behind closed doors and select a president. We, the People, get to go to the polls and tell our state electors whom they should vote for. We, the People, choose the President.
Impeachment means that Congress moves to kick out the People’s choice. View this way, impeachment is a very un-democratic process. This is especially true for the real Clinton impeachment and this most recent faux-Trump impeachment process: Neither is the result of a genuine groundswell of popular concern about a corrupt presidency; instead, each process represented the minority party’s effort to remove a sitting president. It’s true that Clinton committed a multitude of nasty, corrupt acts, but ultimately the impeachment was about perjury in a matter unrelated to his presidency, and that did not impress the voters at the time. In Trump’s case, it’s manifest that impeachment is simply an existential Democrat attack on Trump’s policies.
The Founders understood that impeachment counters the voters’ will, so they wrote into the Constitution that the House of Representatives — the branch of government that requires its members to go back to the voters every two years — must be the front line for impeachment. It’s the House that votes to initiate the process and it’s the House that, after the inquiry, votes on whether to refer the “trial” to the Senate (whose members only have to face voters every six years).
Under the system the Founders’ devised, the cord binding impeachment to democracy (and again, we’re taking small “d” democracy) is for the people’s representatives to be open about their conduct so that they can face the voters’ approval or wrath at the next election. Any other process, such as refusing to stand before the People and be counted or insisting that all proceedings take place in secret, amounts to nothing more than a government coup.
Mind you, I’m not speaking here about rules, textual analysis, or precedent. I’m simply talking about the difference between a government coup and the essence of representative government. Right now, we’re seeing the former and that should make everyone who is not gripped by severe Trump Derangement Syndrome very unhappy.
European attitudes tend to the snobbish. As long-time readers know, I’m a first generation American, for both my parents were European born. My Dad’s side of the family was a mixed bag: a poor Romanian Jew married the daughter of an exceedingly rich German Jewish industrialist; the daughter was cut loose without a penny; and my Dad grew up in a slum, then in an orphanage, and then made aliyah to British-mandate Palestine. He really couldn’t boast about his pedigree.
My Mom’s family, though . . . there was a whole lot of boasting going on there. On her father’s side, she came from an extremely distinguished Austro-Hungarian Jewish family, so much so that her grandfather received the Hungarian equivalent of a knighthood for his contributions to international patent law. On her mother’s side, she came from an old Hanseatic trading family that allied with an up-and-coming banking family. While everything vanished thanks to divorce and war, my mother’s background was, in its own way, pedigreed. My father, despite his communist youth, basked in that upscale feeling.
I therefore grew up in a household that was European in orientation and snobbish in outlook. I was reminded of both when I spoke yesterday with a relative on my Mom’s side. She was bemoaning the way in which one of my mother’s peers in the family raised her own children: The values were about “fine family,” “fine college,” “fine job.” In other words, superficial, but boast-worthy values. This was, my relative and I agreed, a very European idea. It was certainly the way I was raised.
America’s self-styled blue state elite has completely internalized those European values. The measure of a person is “fine college” and “fine job” (although, as Hunter Biden shows, lineage matters too). That’s true as well for soft-conservatives such as the Bushes. Their values strike me as more European than American. It’s a very superficial way of looking at people’s worth.
I internalized those values for most of my life. I was impressed by Ivy League credentials or big-monied, high prestige jobs.
Thankfully, as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize how shallow and limiting those superficial European attitudes are. Although the Leftists are doing their best to kill the true democratic principles that long existed in America, that only makes me embrace them harder. I love being here in the Southeast where the people I meet don’t seem to be as obsessed with credentials. They seem to be more concerned with core values. You know, that “content of character” thing that Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke about.
Admittedly, I’ve lived something of a hermit life for my first few months here in Tennessee, but I’ve been venturing out more and more and, thankfully, am meeting lots of new people. For example, one of the things I’ve done to help my podcasting is to join the local Toastmasters. It’s a great group of people and they really exemplify what I consider the true American attitude: friendly; supportive; great sense of humor, both outwardly directed and self-deprecating; and dedicated to self-improvement, which is a decidedly American concept.
I may be a late-to-the-table proud American, but I’m happy to say that these are my people!