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Friday, February 10, 2023

The state of the nation may be strong, but it has malignant tumors

At the 2009 State of the Union speech,  Rep. Joe Wilson yelled "You lie!" at President Obama, and the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution of disapproval against him.  Last year, Rep. Lauren Boebert and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene set loose streams of heckles.  There were objections, but nothing happened to them.  This year, the deranged juvenile function was womaned by Rep. Greene, who fired a volley of "liar"s at the president.  She was supported by other members of her party.  A New York Times columnist described it this way:  "...members of the G.O.P. majority tossed aside rules of decorum and turned the annual speech into a showcase for partisan hostility."

Rep. Greene, I(diot)-Co.
Greene seems to have received some of the attention she so insanely craves, but no official response has been made by her House of Representative colleagues.  She was previously stripped of committee assignments for advocating false conspiracy theories and the infliction of violence on the Democratic leadership.  Congress does have the Constitutional right make  rules of conduct and discipline its members:  "Each House [of Congress] may determine the Rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member." (Art. I, Sec. 5)

While we may be concerned that a person of Greene's malicious personality is involved in making the laws for our country, we should not ignore a more ominous threat that her presence in Congress poses for the country.  What kind of people elect and support people such as Greene and Boebert and Trump to represent them and direct the course of our country?  The people do have the right to obtain legislation that puts an end to the democracy or imposes restrictions on our liberty, equality, and justice.  Do we really want people of their values and lack of basic decency to determine the way we live?  Do they represent the country's current aspirations?

We may take some satisfaction that the country is strong and has survived some assaults on its democratic principles, but its health is in jeopardy.  Greene and Boebert and others like them are malignant tumors on the body politic.  Forty-seven percent of the voters in 2020 voted for Donald Tump, who represents the values that Greene and Boebert put on display.  He is on record for lying to the people 30,573 times while he held the presidency.  He entered the office despite being caught bribing a mistress to keep quiet about  his affair with her while married.  His claim to being a successful businessman is tarnished by his record of stiffing people who did business with him.  And his acts of petty malice were reported daily during his term of office.  By electing him to be president, America resigned its claim to be the shining light on the hill. It was reduced to being a dark human refuse pit with a few flickering match lights of people searching for a way out.

The State of the Union speech is the form that presidents have used since 1913 to meet this Constitutional requirement:       
The President “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” (Art. II, Section 3, Clause 1.)

The  annual speech became customary with the development of radio, and the people could be informed of the president's appraisal and plans for the nation at the same time as the Congress. Members of Congress demonstrate their approval and disapproval of the president's assessments and agenda, but until Rep. Wilson started the erosion of decorum at the affair, it was done with respect and restraint.  Members did not shout personal insult and abuse at the president.  That has changed.  Personal nastiness has become a feature that is so normalized that disorderly behavior receives no reprimand.  And when the State of the Union speech is punctuated with anger and malice, it indicates the actual state of the union.

Speaker McCarthy tried to restrain Greene with facial gestures and soft shushes from the podium, but he was ignored by her.  So, we see how malignancy gets established and spreads.  And although Joe Biden appraises the nation as strong and in his optimism chooses to ignore the ugly growths on the body politic.  

President Biden found the nation strong, but Rep. Greene showed that it is infected by a malady that could eventually weaken it and prevail.  She showed how the shining city on the hill is sliding toward the swamp. That's what a lot of people voted for.

1 comment:

Jerry K. Sweeney said...

I am reminded that Senator Charles Sumner, in a speech delivered shortly before he was assaulted and hospitalized by a member of the House of Representatives, referred to proponents of slavery, the white supremacist bunch of that day, as "hirelings picked from the drunken spew and vomit of an uneasy civilization."

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States