Are we taking political correctness too far? It has served us well these past few decades, but we need to consider whether we are taking matters too far when a politician, athlete, actor, CEO or anyone else in the public eye must resign immediately because of a stupid and momentarily cruel mistake.
That is especially true if we are talking about something in someone’s past and don’t even give the person a chance to apologize, denounce his or her act, and work to atone for it and prove that he or she is a better person than that now. That goes for both parties.
But, it is pure hypocrisy for one party to go after someone in the other party for idiocy that occurred 35 years ago and has not been repeated since when one of their own is a serial racist who doesn’t have the decency to offer to resign, or another one currently residing in the White House.
As it is, the calls for resignation are so immediate and no explanations or apologies allowed, and no credit given for one’s behavior since then, the only thing left for the mistake-maker is to come up with dumb excuses or deny a claim even in the face of blatant evidence.
Let’s give a chance to Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam to straight-out apologize for his southern frat-house behavior and prove he is a better man now, just as we have allowed serial racist Steve King (R-Iowa) and serial white nationalists applauder Donald Trump to remain in office apparently unsullied by their repeated sins.
Just in the past year, we’ve had at least half a dozen resignations or decisions not to seek re-election to Congress by men accused of idiotic sexual behavior: Democratic House members John Conyers of Michigan and Ruben Kihuen of Nevada and Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota; and Republican Representatives Blake Farenthold of Texas, Pat Meehan of Pennsylvania and Trent Franks of Arizona.
It took years of serial incidents such as that to drive Harvey Weinstein out of his corporate job, along with some well-known actors in recent years.
To be sure, many of these men should have been driven from office or their cushy jobs, but others have lived otherwise exemplary lives and made contributions to our society. Is that not worthy of some consideration?
Franken was a good and valuable senator, just as was GOP Sen. Bob Packwood of Oregon two decades earlier. Both were big losses to good governing, yet they had to go. And, of course, how about President Bill Clinton for a sexual dalliance and problematic (it’s real meaning) lie about it, behavior that was nowhere near what precedent had already established as nowhere near the level of an impeachable offense. Fortunately, he did not resign.
All of those guys deserved criticism, derision, and should have been required to wear a scarlet A on a sweater as they went about their official duties, but outright banishment? We need some new thinking. And the hypocrites among us need to just shut the hell up.
Obstruction of justice was first, abuse of powers was second, noncompliance with subpoenas was third. Those were approved. One on emoluments and income taxes was rejected.
Sound like someone in power today? Not yet, but getting close. All four were the articles of impeachment proposed and voted on by the House Judiciary Committee’s inquiry into the impeachment of President Richard M. Nixon nearly 45 years ago.
Each began with this opening or very similar:
“In his conduct of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, contrary to his oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the law be faithfully executed….”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected the idea of impeachment when Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 3, 2019. But, nearly 50 new members were elected in November, and they not only may not agree with Pelosi.
New York’s Jerrold Nadler, now chairman of the panel, campaigned in part on his qualifications to run impeachment proceedings. The new chairman of the committee next door, Oversight and Government, is Elijah Cummings of Maryland, who made no secret of his plans to use the panel’s broad subpoena power to investigate Trump’s emoluments and taxes.
Trump already has knocked over the first domino that led to the Saturday Night Massacre that kicked off the Nixon impeachment proceedings on October 20, 1973. Nixon ordered Attorney General Ellliot Richardson to fire Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor looking into the White House cover-up of the June 22, 1972, break-in of the Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate Office Building.
Nixon ordered Cox’s firing after the prosecutor issued a subpoena for the White House to turn over nine tapes of Nixon’s conversations with his aides involved in the cover-up. Another aide, Alexander Butterfield, had revealed the existence of tapes to the special Senate Watergate Committee The best Nixon was willing to do was to turn over summaries of the nine tapes, claiming executive privilege and asserting the tapes were classified. Cox was prosecuting a grand jury case involving a related aspect of the many-pronged Watergate fiasco that he also was probing.
Richardson, who had promised the Senate at his confirmation for the job that Cox would be totally untouched, so he refused to fire Cox. Nixon fired Richardson and now Trump has fired his Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who at the selection of Robert Mueller to serve the Cox role in the Trump involvement in Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, recused himself from any involvement or oversight of Mueller’s work.
After Richardson declined to fire Cox, Nixon ordered Justice’s deputy attorney general, William Ruckelshaus, to fire him. Loyal to Richardson, Ruckelshaus declined and he was fired. His equivalent today is Rod Rosenstein, who was responsible for appointing Mueller, so he would be highly unlikely to be the one to fire him. But, Rosenstein is resigning.
Trump named Session’s top aide, Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general, even though he has never been vetted by the Senate, as required in the Constitution, which requires all Cabinet officials to get the advice and consent of the Senate, not necessarily just for the new post. Rosenstein did receive that vetting for his current job. Trump has signaled to Whitaker that he would not interfere if his acting attorney general fired Mueller. All of that is still a pissing match until a new attorney general is confirmed.
William Barr has been nominated for the role, and he waffled during his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings about how much protection he would give to Mueller, who at the beginning of the year got a six-month extension for his investigation.
Back in 1973, after Ruckelshaus, it fell to Solicitor General Robert Bork, and he finalized the “massacre,” lighting the fire for impeachment proceedings to begin. Today, the No. 3 person is the associate attorney general, a position inserted above the solicitor general post three years after the Nixon impeachment proceeding. Today’s holder of the job is Jesse Pannucio, a GOP loyalist from Florida whose personal views about Trump are not public, but he was chief counsel to Rick Scott, former Florida governor who was declared winner of a hotly contested
Senate race, ousting Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson. Scott has patterned himself after Trump in terms of style.
In other words, Pannucio likely would follow Bork’s lead and carry out the firing of Mueller, a move that almost definitely would trigger impeachment proceedings, which Pelosi would have no choice but to endorse.
Less than two weeks after Cox was fired, and his special prosecutor job abolished (that was rescinded later), he was replaced by Leon Jaworski, a registered Democrat who nonetheless was a Nixon supporter. Bork also reasserted the special prosecutor’s independence.
In the end, the special prosecutor submitted all of the evidence, along with witness testimony, to the grand jury whose work was considered a good road map of what happened. It was delivered to the Judiciary Committee for impeachment, but ne
ver made public. It sat sealed in the National Archives until recently, unavailable even if it would have been followed in the Newt Gingrich-prodded flash impeachment of President Bill Clinton.
Back in March, 2018, not long after the Parkland High School mass shooting in Florida, we made the case for complying with the intent of the Second Amendment (all of it) by locking up all guns in National Guard armories to be lent to their owners as the guard decides to do so.
Since then, according to GunViolenceArchive.org, there have been 147 deaths from shootings in which there were at least four casualties Those qualify as mass shootings, and is a rate of about one death a day due to a shooting in the United States. Actually, there were 175 mass shootings during that period, just not all of them led to a fatality. (That’s out of total 9,217 gun deaths this year through Aug. 18.)
During the first half of this year, 154 deaths were attributed to school shootings (including three or fewer casualties, not qualifying as mass shootings). That’s 154 in 181 days, and suggests schools have become the nation’s favorite killing fields. If the trend of the first half of this year continues September through December, we can expect more than 100 more deaths in school shootings, despite the fact they’ve already become Fort Knoxes.
What does it take for this country to wise up? Fortunately, school was out for half that time, but they are reopening their now well-guarded doors to hundreds of thousands of children who can be mowed down any minute.
Perhaps those who want gun controls should make a major point of it to the candidates who are running for office in this fall’s election. That’s the political side. Economics is a far more powerful driver and perhaps we should take note of where the most deaths and casualties are and boycott them personally and as organizations holding meetings or conventions in those cities states, especially the ones that maniacally allow open carry and “stand your ground.” The list of mass shootings includes half the states and the District of Columbia, so you can choose one of the states from the other half.
Having said that, one might have to leave the United States entirely to avoid a state lacks a common-sense safety attitude when it comes to guns. Only California, the District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, New York and South Carolina do not allow open carry at all. Honing it down further, however, California allows open carry in rural areas and has no law against stand your ground. Florida, of course is a notorious stand-your-ground state, but so is South Carolina. Illinois does not ban it, and New York has the castle doctrine, which allows a person to blow someone away as long as he or she is at home.
That leaves only DC as a safe haven against guns, if one measures safety by local laws and not the reality of the free flow of guns across state lines. But, to get into D.C., one must travel through an open-carry state—Virginia with no permit required, or Maryland, where a permit is required. One could helicopter in or hang on for dear life from a drone without touching gun free-for-all state, but that would still be a violation of the state’s air space.
Since the Parkland school mass shooting in March, absolutely nothing has been done to curtail the easy access to firearms. The solution instead has been to attempt to secure the schools, complete with armed guards and screenings, and to show ways for teachers and students to try to save themselves. The incredibly stupid National Rifle Association would have teachers carrying sidearms as a solution. Brilliant, place the kids in the middle of a shootout, that’ll solve things.
No matter what figures you use or arguments you make, all those deaths and injuries that go on and on and on share one common fact: a gun was involved.
As we wrote before, the Second Amendment is based on the existence of militias, which are today’s National Guards. That means, all guns could be required to be kept locked up in National Guard armories without violating that amendment. Lock them up! Lock them up! Lock them up, and save our kids from the killing fields.