OPINION: Watching Democracy Die


Watching Democracy Die

By D. S. Mitchell

Wisconsin Outrage

Television images captured thousands of voters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin standing in three block long lines, face masks in place, showered intermittently with hail and rain, risking exposure to COVID-19; to exercise their right to vote. This did not need to happen. This should not have happened. Voting should not be an obstacle course. Voting should be one of the easiest things, we as citizens, ever do. It should be as easy as licking an envelope. The vote by mail push is meeting stiff resistance from the far right, particularly from Donald Trump. The politicians fear it would endanger their grip on power. Republicans in Wisconsin, and other states have used voter suppression to shrink the electorate and limit access to the polls for decades.


I was disgusted at the sight of what was happening in Wisconsin. Furious to my core. So angry, I was crying. Tears are not always shed in weakness, or defeat. Some tears are a physical manifestation of a rage so great that when held back can lead to plate smashing, door slamming, and window breaking. At other times tears are shed because the injustice of events is beyond the understanding of the human heart. In 2018, according to the Brennan Center For Justice “17 million Americans, or 8% of the nation’s electorate, were removed from voting rolls.” The clear intent was to deny particular segments of the population the right to vote.

The Whigs

In the first days of our country there was no such thing as voter registration; white men just showed up and voted. In the mid 1800’s voter registration laws began to emerge. These laws, were designed to limit participation, not encourage involvement.  One of the first voter registration laws in the country was written by New York state Whigs. The Whigs wanted to limit the voting power of Irish Catholic voters in New York City. The Irish were mostly Democratic party voters. But, the Whigs had a plan, and the legislative power to suppress the power of the growing Irish Catholic vote.

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Gorsuch Hearing


Gorsuch Hearing

D. S. Mitchell

Gorsuch Hearings

I watched the Senators question 10th Circuit Judge, Neil Gorsuch, for about 4 hours this morning.  Although interested, I couldn’t watch any longer.  I had to get a few things done, so I shut off the TV so I could run some errands. I replayed the proceedings in my head. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) definitely has a point when he questions whether we should be considering appointing a judge that was nominated by President Trump. After all Trump is under FBI investigation for conspiring with the Russians to win the 2016 election.

Life-Time Appointment

Schumer reminded us this was a life-time appointment.  Why such a big hurry, he asked? Merrick Garland was held off for over a year while the Republicans prayed for a Republican President in 2016. So, I’m kinda like Schumer, it’s not really Gorsuch, it’s Trump, he may not have a year left in office.  Maybe we should hold off a bit.

I’m Back

Errands run I’m back and I immediately turn the TV on. The Gorsuch hearing is still going. I had my back to the TV so I didn’t see who was asking the questions, but I heard a man ask, “Who’s paying for all your TV ads?” Good question I thought. For at least two weeks every time there was a break in regular programming there was a commercial featuring Gorsuch.

“I don’t know,” Gorsuch answered flatly.

I say to myself, “Really?”

Who Pays For The Ads

There certainly are a lot of support ads for Neil Gorsuch. Why?  Since when do you see 100’s of millions of dollars being spent on television ads for a Supreme Court nominee? I’ve never seen anything like it. I want to know who and why is spending all the green.  It’s probably the NRA, or another gun advocates group. I can’t imagine who else it would be. From what I know about Gorsuch, besides being blindly conservative, he is a do or die 2nd Amendment guy.

What I Missed

Who knows what I missed in the two hours I was running errands, but from what I saw, I think the Democrats did a decent job keeping Gorsuch’s feet to the fire. If it comes to it they might as well confirm him. As conservative judges go, I think we could get a lot worse nominee than Neil Gorsuch. I hope I’m not wrong. But, like every thing else in politics, only time will give us the answer.

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