How Democrats can lose again: The litmus test

The GOP is doing its damnest to rip itself apart, fighting among themselves, looking like fools, and with the lowest approval rating for a President in his first few months ever.  So Democrats can be optimistic, right?

Nah. This is kind of what we had over the last year and we still lost, didn’t we?  Oh, sure, you can argue that technically we won because we got more votes, but this is America, and we’re still doing things stupidly simply because a bunch of rich white men 225 years ago thought it was a good idea.

We Democrats will screw it up again. We’re already seeing that. Democratic Representative Ben Ray Luján said there will be no litmus tests for candidates as the party looks to get a majority in 2020. Roe-v-Wade-protest

Liberals are already screaming, because we don’t want anti-abortionists taking away our rights. How dare we support a candidate like that!

Well, while in a perfect world, I’d agree with that, the bottom line is that we need to win in places where we usually don’t if we want our majority back (especially given GOP dirty tricks involving gerrymandering and voter suppression — without those two things, we’d probably already have a majority).

So we can be absolute purists and then whine about how perfect we are while the GOP keeps its majority and destroys everything we stand for — or we can face the real world and understand that it’s better to support a candidate you agree with only 70% of the time in order to keep out one you agree with 0% of the time.download (5)

“As we look at candidates across the country, you need to make sure you have candidates that fit the district, that can win in these districts across America,” said Luján. Does that mean we may end up with candidates who aren’t perfect?

Well, sure. But it’s better than ending up with elected representatives who are sworn enemies.

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Who cares what the Founding Fathers thought?

The Founding Fathers were a bunch of politicians, not too different from the politicians we have today (except that they were all rich white men). Some were tremendously intelligent people who deserve all the accolades they receive. Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams — great men who did their best to create this great experiment.constitution_quill_pen

Others have been lost to history. William Blount? Alexander Baldwin? Pierce Butler? Some were mediocre men, who fought against giving people any power, who argued to keep slavery, who forced the great men into compromises like the 3/5ths clause and the 2nd Amendment in order to gain their votes.

You know — politics.

And that’s why it is so frustrating when the Constitutional Fundamentalists say that we should obey the “will of the Founders” when interpreting the Constitution.  Well, which Founders?  This wasn’t adopted unanimously, you know. To argue that we should never have a position about the Constitution based on who won is like saying we should never question Obamacare because hey, it got passed by some politicians so it’s gospel and cannot be challenged.

And that’s the key — I call these people Constitutional Fundamentalists because they view the document like it’s a religious holy book, handed down by the Founding Gods, and we should obey what the Founders said. (And, of course, 100% of the time, just like religious fundamentalists, these people know exactly what the Constitution means and it matches their own personal views perfectly! Isn’t that amazing!)

The Founders created a foundation for a building — the Constitution provides the very minimalist blueprint. “Freedom of Speech” it says, but it doesn’t go into any detail. Does it include libel and slander? Television and internet? Can you cause a riot and claim this freedom as a defense? Can you reveal military secrets and not get punished? The Constitution doesn’t say.

That means it has to be interpreted, just like it had to be within a few years of its passage, when the Supreme Court had to make decisions and Founding Fathers argued before members of the Court (who were also Founding Fathers) and they didn’t all agree! 

So with all respect to the great men who founded this nation, 230 years later, who cares what they thought? These were guys who thought you could cure diseases through bloodletting. They thought humans could be property, women should be close to property, and killing natives for land was perfectly fine.

This would be like trying to add air conditioning and heating to your home but being told “No, the original blueprints from 200 years ago don’t mention that, so you can’t do it.” We should not have our society limited, Amish-like, to a time that no longer exists.

Many religious fundamentalists already understand this. They already ignore the parts of the Bible they want to ignore, recognizing that something that was written so long ago should not guide modern thinking.

Somehow, Constitutional fundamentalists have yet to reach that stage.