If Hillary Packs the Supreme Court, Democracy is Dead. We Should Give it a Decent Burial.
If you want a young person to have a hopeful, patriotic view of the U.S. government, you probably shouldn’t set his first trip to Washington, D.C. on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. As I wrote back in 2008:
The first time I ever saw our nation’s capital was on the March for Life, way back in high school on a bus the Knights of Columbus rented to take us down there. Those vast, wedding cake buildings that represent the authority of the U.S. government, adorned with flags, bronze statues, bas-reliefs and grand inscriptions… it all seemed such a miserable sham. Those structures built out of butter cream looked to me like whited sepulchers. The Supreme Court on whose steps we stood seemed a structure built of bones, and the city a fortress defending a vast and soulless regime of death. And so it stands today.
When that essay appeared, the question of unborn children’s rights was still a live one, resting on the faithfulness of Republican presidents. Today, if the upcoming election hands the White House to Hillary Clinton, and if Senate Republicans fail to fight her doggedly like wildcats on every Supreme Court appointment, the issue is dead and gone. It goes in the medical waste dumpster along with the Court’s 58 million victims.
A Clinton court menaces the rest of us who escaped the womb intact. Chief Justice Mark Tushnet (or his chemical equivalent) would indeed treat Christians and conservatives as “losers in the culture war” who deserve no more consideration than defeated Japanese or Germans — as the Harvard Law professor and plausible SCOTUS appointee wrote back in March.
The left already uses the Supreme Court as a permanent Constitutional Convention, in which five progressives use the battered text of our founding document like the letters in a ransom note — clipping and pasting as they like, to yield the meaning they want. A Clinton court would switch from scissors to a shredder.
Our Constitutional right to spend our own money and time to influence elections — imagine that! I thought the First Amendment was just for flag-burning and porn! — hangs by a thread, on the decision in Citizens United which Hillary has pledged to overturn. So does the future of free journalism, if you remember the left’s dogged attempts to imprison the likes of David Daleiden and James O’Keefe.
Our basic human right, marked out in the Second Amendment, to defend ourselves by owning private firearms is dangling dangerously on a similar narrow vote on the Court, in another decision Clinton opposes.
Our religious freedom is already in Clinton’s gunsights. She never admits our “free exercise of religion,” but only “freedom of worship,” in language crafted by the Organization of the Islamic Conference to cover the narrow privilege that Orthodox monks have, a few times a week, to offer quiet services in places like Istanbul — though they’d face jail time if they criticized Islam. Combine this with Obama administration threats to church groups’ tax exemptions, California’s attacks on Christian colleges, Hillary’s demand that Christians’ “beliefs must be changed” to accommodate abortion and the Clinton campaign’s attempt to blow up the “medieval dictatorship” that is the Catholic church, and you know exactly what to expect:
The rights of orthodox churches and believers will be pared down relentlessly, while churches that cooperate with progressivism will rake in federal contracts — until we really do have something like the two-tier Chinese system: in Column A will be the approved “patriotic” churches, and in Column B the faithfully Christian ones, which the state persecutes at will.
We Face Rule by Decree, Like Natives in a Colony
Keep in mind that we’re not facing a Democratic president who will pass evil or foolish laws on any of these subjects. No, we face someone who will appoint lifelong judges who will rule us by decree. None of these issues — unborn life, free speech, gun rights, or religious liberty — will be settled by the Congress and the Executive via the democratic process, in a law subject to repeal. They will be carved in stone by the god-like fingers of five philosopher kings, hoisted far out of reach of mere peons like you and me. For our lifetimes, and perhaps for our children’s, they will be dogmas enshrined on altars. Democracy will be dead.
What will we tell our kids once that has happened? When we have to inform them that their Christian school has been taxed into bankruptcy and is closing; that we cannot protect them from home invasions by coddled illegal immigrants; that the faith we are sharing with them is condemned by their own government; that there are certain subjects on which they are not even free to speak — how will we explain that? Or the fact that they can’t even vote on it? It’s a conversation you might need to have very soon, so it’s time to start thinking about which words you’ll use.
When I was young, democracy still seemed vital. At age 11, I became a pro-life activist, ringing doorbells and collecting signatures for the Right-to-Life Party candidate for New York City mayor — radio host Barry Farber. No he didn’t win, but he out-polled the liberal, pro-choice Republican Roy Goodman, coming in second. Taking part in that action sparked my faith that in America, the people could have a voice. It set me on track to a lifetime of activism — volunteering for pro-life Senate candidates and later for Ronald Reagan, then to editorship of the pro-life, conservative paper at Yale, and finally, to The Stream.
If I had a child in the America ruled by Hillary’s appointees, would I encourage him to emulate my actions? It might not even be fair. It would surely damage his future, as being a baptized Christian used to haunt Soviet citizens as a black mark throughout their lives.
In fact, I think we will have to teach resistance. We aren’t called to give the next generation “success tips” but the Truth — as my Irish Catholic mother passed along to me when I was only eight. Again, from 2008:
I cannot forget the actual day in 1973, when Harry Blackmun (moved to change his mind on the subject by a Rockefeller Foundation report on U.S. “overpopulation”) issued the farrago of logical fallacies [Roe v. Wade] which still makes [first-year] law students blush. I saw something about it on the news. Only eight years old, I needed the story explained to me, and asked my mother. She tried her best:
“Well, the government just decided that if a woman is going to have a baby, and she doesn’t want one, now she doesn’t have to.”
“So what can she do?”
“Now she can go to a doctor, and he’ll take out the baby.”
“Won’t it be alive?”
“No. The doctor will make sure it’s dead.”
“They’re allowed to do that?”
“Yes, John. Now they are.”
“In America? Really?”
It’s a question I still ask myself.