America is an incredibly diverse country. We are diverse because we are free.
Yuval Levin, in an excellent article in National Review, describes how our Constitution is designed to unify us. He calls our system “consensus” rule, not majority rule. He rightly points out that the underlying strength of our system is based on competition. Competing to get votes and competing to persuade are a few examples.
The First Amendment exists to ensure competing views and ideas can be freely exchanged. Attempts to censor or silence are a direct threat to the very foundation of our country. Attacks on the First Amendment are attacks on diversity and freedom.
The Senate and the Electoral College exist to promote consensus. Senate rules such as the filibuster exist to ensure a certain level of consensus. Our system of government requires consensus.
So, let’s have a look at what the politicians currently controlling the levers of power think about consensus shall we?
Tom at Rucksack Radio, in a recent show, noted that VP Harris seemed proud to have broken so many tie votes in the Senate. As Tom pointed out, this is not something to be proud of. Legislation passed along a strict party line vote is, by definition, bad legislation because it is devoid of consensus.
And an obvious “consensus builder” here:
It doesn’t occur to Senator Murray that her bill was too extreme to get 60 votes in the senate. Who is it that is extreme? And by the way Senator, I’m not aware of any domestic travel restrictions on women.
And then we have the recent speech by our “Unifier in Chief” on the “threat to democracy” posed by the Republican Party. To be honest, he said “MAGA” republicans, but his definition of what a “MAGA” republican is has changed by the hour since he delivered the speech, so I think it’s safe to assume he means everyone that does not support the policies of his party.
It is obvious that the rhetoric coming from old Joe and the good senator is driven by the upcoming election. The Democrats have some trouble with inflation, fuel prices, crime, illegal immigration, and a non-existent foreign policy (to name just a few). They would much rather talk about anything else right now, so they are trying to make the mid-terms about some made up scapegoat – the nebulous “MAGA.”
If you have no time or use for consensus building, what you are in fact saying is that you have no time or use for governing – now THAT is a threat to the foundation of our republic.
So much for building consensus.
As Levin pointed out (in the article linked above), building consensus requires good faith negotiation across party lines. Good faith negation requires honesty. Honesty and good faith negotiation is, by design, how we SHOULD handle disagreement under our system.
The current social media uproar (as I write) is over the governor of Florida sending a bus load of illegal aliens to Martha’s Vineyard. Now, I happen to know this is all fake news – none of it ever happened. How do I know this? Elementary my dear reader. The White House has repeatedly stated that our southern border is secure. With our southern border secure, such a thing could not possibly happen – right?
Building consensus requires that we agree on at least some basic truths and at least some basic root causes.
Crimes is caused by criminals, not “systemic racism” (a term I have yet to see an explanation or example of). School shootings are caused by school shooters, not a particular type of rifle. Inflation is caused by demand (and available money) outstripping supply, not by the Russian President or corporations.
Signing an executive order or taking a case to the Supreme Court because you can’t get your way in the legislature is not building consensus. Labeling your political opposition enemies of the republic is not building consensus.
Abolishing the filibuster, or the Senate, or the Electoral College is not building consensus. Such measures would be disastrously destabilizing for this country just as Congress continually abdicating its law-making authority to the executive and judicial branches has been.
Old Joe is right. There is a threat to the very foundation of our republic. But that threat is not from Republican voters. The source of the threat is obvious to anyone that understands how the Constitution is designed to work.