California’s AG resisted any temptation to join those of 18 sister states led by the Texas AG seeking to have the Supreme Court overturn President-Elect Joe Biden’s irreversible victory.
Not that the vast majority of California voters favored the idea which turned out to be a giant waste of time as the high court delivered a terse 24 word judgement declaring it had no authority or interest in subverting the will of the voters.
It amounts to a desperate effort to undo a result that should never have been contested which threatens to further disrupt a country struggling to control a raging pandemic that has so far claimed nearly 300,000 lives and 20,000 Californians alone.
In addition to the resounding proclamation from the court that should put to final rest what one commentator labelled the “fever dream” to change America into a monarchy, news was received that a vaccine to fight the dreaded disease has been given “emergency approval.”
That’s the good news.
Californians who placed their bets on science over the misguided rantings of a president increasingly alienated from reality who summarily dismissed the advice of his top medical advisors may be tempted to breathe a sigh of relief.
It may not last long.
Bitter partisanship has spilled over well beyond boiling point stoked by a president who seems energized anew with each effort to ratchet up the levels of divisiveness.
Californians have been largely immune to the false propaganda that has pedaled theories of a rigged election which an overwhelming percentage of the state’s electorate chose to ignore when casting their ballots.
The same conclusion was not reached by a solid chunk of their elected officials which was fully prepared to go along with these theories.
What is perplexing is the mute reaction from the California GOP delegation in Congress which seems willing to remain silent as Trump continues an ugly and inglorious exit.
Apparently the election outcome did not sit well with the House Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), who signed the brief along with two-thirds of his GOP colleagues supporting the frivolous Texas suit to undo the votes in 4 key battleground states which was DOA.
126 GOP Representatives including the state’s influential contingent championed the failing enterprise—not the best moment for individuals sworn to uphold the rule of law.
Even the president’s appointees to the court—the most significant legal authorities in the land— were unwilling to go along with this farce having been shown no evidence whatsoever of widespread fraud.
Partisanship is a fact of life and is likely to cascade in the overheated atmosphere which has paralyzed Washington and augers badly for any compromise when the new Administration takes over.
Anger has gone stratospheric defying all reason and makes those who have sat by silently complicit in the damage being wrought on the entire populace by a president whose principal goal in his waning moments of power is to delegitimize a fair and very secure election.
Advocacy for Trump’s views and policies is not the issue. What’s at stake is trust in the election system which has stood the test through 45 presidencies and faith in its trustworthiness is a central tenet of acceptable governance.
These misgivings apparently did little to dampen enthusiasm among the state’s registered GOP voters who are declining in number yet managed to take back four of the seven House seats that Democrats had captured only two years ago.
California’s volatility reflects a trend that could be seen across the nation with heavier than usual ticket-splitting in many cities and counties where voters rejected the president yet voted for down-ballot GOP candidates.
Disagreement is healthy and desirable for vibrant democracy. But when factionalism erodes belief in its most sacred pillar we are stretching the constitutional boundaries to breaking point.
Is this really the legacy which some lawmakers want to leave? It is a question I would ask of Democrats as well if the tables were reversed. Every member of the House and Senate takes the same oath.
The oaths that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will take on January 20th is to the people—all of us—not to their own self-aggrandizement. If they are found wanting they will face the same judgement in four years.
Both Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon made it to the White House. Each had their admirers and detractors and both had a good measure of successes and failures. Reagan had a very dignified departure. Not so for Nixon.
If the GOP is looking to restore some of its preeminence here and in the nation it will have to divorce itself from Trump’s tribalism and imperialist ambitions that did not play well.
In his famous Election Eve Address in 1980 Reagan spoke of, “….Americans awed by what has gone before, proud of what for them is still…a shining city on a hill.”
Trump has not relit that beacon and in fact did much to snuff it out. McCarthy and his party might want to reignite that torch if they can muster the courage and plain common sense.
But they would have to first demonstrate some willingness to part with the vision their misguided leader has fashioned which is not merely deconstructing a proud party but ruining its chances of making a viable comeback.
I am not in the habit of quoting the scriptures, but the noted historian and best-selling author, Jon Meacham, often cites one that has relevance in every era, perhaps more now than ever, with hopefully slight but pardonable modification:
“What does it profit a man (or woman) to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his (her) soul?” Mark 8:36.