With the announcement of the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, it was a hard weekend for every American that cares about equality, animals, climate change, healthcare, women’s rights, pollution and a hundred other important issues affecting our future. So I’m writing this to talk myself down from my panic and devastation but I hope it will help you too.
For the past 3 and a half years I’ve been trying to figure out what each Republican that took an oath to protect the Constitution is being blackmailed with. Why else would they be putting party before country and be allowing the president to run roughshod over our laws, the Constitution, our neighbors and citizens, including literally murdering 200,000 of us without a peep from our GOP lawmakers.
But when Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, announced within two hours of RBG’s passing that he would put a Supreme Court Judge up to a vote (after holding up Obama’s Supreme Court Justice pick for ten months because it was “too close to a presidential election”) it suddenly became crystal clear to me why the Republicans have been acting so cowardly in the face of Trump destroying all of America’s norms and decency. They have made a dirty deal with Trump. He can profit off his office, be a white supremacist, destroy our international relationships, imprison immigrants and their children and allow a pandemic to take over America as long as he puts as many young, barely qualified, right wing, religious zealot, partisan hack judges into the Federal courts and the Supreme Court as possible.
What does this mean for America? It means that literally any progressive bills that any future Democratic President signs into law can be challenged in Federal courts by Republicans. So with the courts (most importantly the Supreme Court) packed with partisan right wing judges, any law the Republicans are not happy with will be struck down in court for the next 30 or 40 years.
See, the Republicans know that they have a shrinking electorate. Fewer and fewer Americans are interested in what they’re selling. Packing all the courts with their judges is the only way that their veiny, crepe skinned, yellow finger nailed, ancient, dying old hands will continue to hold onto power.
When I realized this, I’m not gonna lie, I became very stressed and melancholy. But then I realized something wonderful and beautiful and hopeful. We can still wrestle the power out of all these deranged Crypt Keepers’ hands! The thing that I love about America is that our government is not a concrete system where laws and norms are written in stone forever and ever and can never be changed. The United States of America is an experiment in democracy that is always changing and evolving.
America is an ever growing and evolving organism, it says so in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution! Our Forefathers did not consider our system of self-governance to be immovable and unchangeable. That’s why they allowed for the Constitution to be amended. They were striving for constant change and improvement when they wrote the Constitution. It says so in the Preamble,
“We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Gosh, I feel like that’s one of the most beautiful things ever written, especially “in order to form a more perfect Union”. It means that our Union is always striving for perfection, working towards it with the possibility of making changes to get us closer to that goal. Isn’t that wonderful?
With that in mind, I realized that all is not lost because although Ginsburg’s passing is devastating it can also represent the deep and fundamental transformation that this country has been needing for a while now. RBG was such an active change maker in America that now we can take up the torch and continue on with her mission. There are so many governmental changes that we can make if we all vote to have a Democratic House, Senate and President. Here are a few that I can think of that could be done on day one that would negate the power grab of a 6-3 (six conservative judges, 3 liberal judges) and would not be able to be struck down in court. Here they are!
- Increase the number of judges on the Supreme Court.
This has been done before and there is no law preventing it. In fact it was done six times before settling at nine in 1869. This would still maintain the rule of law without such extreme partisanship.
- Make Washington DC and Puerto Rico states.
This would change the makeup of the Senate and Congress. I really don’t understand how Montana, with a population of one million people, has two Senators and a Congressman but DC, with a population of 5million has absolutely no representation at a Federal level. Same goes for Puerto Rico, with a population of 3 million people. They can vote for president and are US citizens yet they have no representation. I can guarantee you that if the GOP thought they’d vote red, they would have turned them into states years ago. Well, sorry that’s not how this works. You don’t get to do taxation without representation just because you think people won’t vote for you.
- Eliminate the Electoral College.
Allow each person their own individual vote for president just like they have their own individual vote for propositions, city council members, mayors, governors, congress people and Senators. It’s time. This is more complicated because it’s an amendment to the Constitution which needs two thirds approval of the Congress and the Senate and approval of 38 states. But this was almost achieved in 1934, falling short by two votes. With the majority of Americans wanting to do away with it, maybe there will be a chance one day.
- Make it a law that the president can be indicted while in office.
No one is above the law, not even a president. Yet forty years ago, during the Nixon administration, someone wrote a memo that he thought maybe a president shouldn’t be able to get indicted and now everyone treats that as some hard and fast rule. It’s not. In fact, I would argue it increases the chances of a president’s illegality and corruption because, as long as he stays in power, he can literally do anything illegal with no consequences. But guess what else? If a president knows that the second he gets out of office, an indictment is waiting for him, he will be more likely to use all his power to steal an election and never leave office. Does this sound familiar to anyone???
- Make voting day a national holiday and register all Americans to vote when they turn 18.
Voting should be easy. Being registered to vote should be easy. It is voter suppression to people that can’t get time off to vote to have them wait in a 4 hour line after working a 12 hour shift.
I’m sure there are a bunch of other things we should change but that’s all I can really think of now. The bottom line is, change is coming because we are the change. This is our country, not the country of a few rich oligarchs. The USA is not a land of serfdom where we are all bound by birth to be enslaved by the rich. Weird rich old white politicians are not the boss of us. We. Do. What. We. Want. We vote.
Change is coming.