The Principle of Power

I learned something about my country this week that I suppose a lot of you already knew. I have been accused, accurately, of being naive before. I learned that the one true principle we hold ourselves to is power. It comes before all else. No right, no constitutional guarantee, no nothing means so much as raw power. That is what we respect in ourselves and others.

And it made me feel sad and small. This realization. I had believed we stood for so much more.

I want you to know I have no partisan criticism in these comments because I am absolutely certain if the shoe were on the other foot, the Democrats would be doing the same thing. They have. We use lofty words of principle to try to make the minority feel better when we step on them, but it’s a lie. We ought to tell the truth.

The truth is we will ram things down the minority’s throat when we can and we will deny them things when we can BECAUSE we can. After all, we know best. The minority (Republican or Democrat) wants to take the country in the wrong direction. We will do it no matter how much you scream until we’re the minority, and then we’ll scream.

Is this what we want to be? A nation of bullies? Do we not stand for more than the “it’s my bat and my ball” rules of playing the game? Don’t we want to trust our politicians? Ever?

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,” Edmund Burke once said. What would a good man or woman do now? Give Justice Ginsburg her dying wish of waiting until after the election or don’t wait and replace her now with someone who holds completely opposite views of the law, likely undoing some of her hardest fought battles?

I know. I know. “But the ends justify the means,” I hear you say. “Getting another conservative justice is worth it,” I hear. It’s just a little integrity lost. No one will notice, and after all, I have the right!

The right. The right to trust what I say is true? The right to rely on the words of a senator? Of twenty senators? The right to be treated as an equal citizen under the law even, God forbid, when your political party is not in power? The right to live in a country of laws and principles that apply equally to everyone, the strong and weak alike?

You’re a good man. You’re a good woman. Go ahead – do nothing.

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