I rarely if ever resort to calling American citizens “Un-American” when I feel they are ignorant or misguided on various matters of national interest. We cannot have a country in which only those who agree with us are considered “true Americans.” The country has survived many internal policy debates and differences among competing constituencies. We are one big family, after all.
However, sometimes the label is appropriate.
Today I read with pleasure about the recent recall initiative in Wisconsin, in which citizens who voted for lawmakers who fled the state in order to avoid voting on a proposed piece of legislation (!!!) may face a recall petition (and then a vote) to remove them from office. Here’s the good part:
In response to the flight of Democratic senators from the Capitol last Thursday, some of the senators’ constituents have started petitions asking to recall their lawmakers. Recall petitions have been circulating for Sens. Jim Holperin, D-Eagle River and Robert Wirch, D-Kenosha. Constituents upset with their senators’ decision to leave Wisconsin to prevent a vote on the governor’s budget repair would like to see their senators punished. “If these senators do not wish to perform the job for which they are paid and to uphold their oath of office then they should resign or face dismissal by their constituents,” Chris Kliesmet, spokesperson for the Citizens for Responsible Government Network, a group working with the committees, said in a statement.
This makes perfect sense, for these so-called legislators have abrogated their duty by fleeing the state and have therefore shown open contempt for the citizens who voted for them, and even for the citizens who didn’t vote for them — their actions in fact show contempt for all participants in a representative democracy such as ours.
But the article finished with this nugget of especially vile treachery:
Wisconsin Democrats are also starting efforts to recall Republican senators in support of Walker’s budget repair bill. “We’re ready to go to work — today, tomorrow and a year from now — to recall those who vote for this plan,” said Jeff Johnson, Chair of the Democratic Party of Marathon County, in a statement.
What? The head of the Democrat Party is threatening to use the recall process against Republicans who plan to vote the way their constituents would want them to vote?
This is beneath contempt, treasonous, undermining of democratic government, and wholly and without qualification Un-American.
If you are a Liberal and reading this essay, please affirm your sanity and tell me that you understand the difference between fleeing the state to avoid casting a vote (i.e., FAILING to uphold your sworn duty) and casting a vote in a way that is consistent with the voters who elected you (i.e., FULFILLING your sworn duty).
In a representative democracy, we elect representatives to represent our intention, as best they can, in the formation of laws. This system of government “of, by, and for” the people is the bedrock of the United States and I dare anyone to argue in favor of a better system (there isn’t one). If legislators run away rather than vote, they commit violent assault against our core principles, and if a politician threatens to remove other politicians from office because the latter voted in a manner consistent with those who elected them, he commits a violent assault against our core principles.
Democrats in Wisconsin have shown that they abhor democracy and presumably prefer some other system of intimidation, patronage, and subterfuge. They have disgraced themselves and their country and must be held to account.
I am saddened that this could happen in the USA, which holds itself out to the world as the exemplar of democracy.