"Sometimes it is said that man can not be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with thegovernment of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him?" --Thomas Jefferson
In the battle royale over the appointment of Sam Alito to the US SupremeCourt, the real fight to watch won't be the Right vs. the Left. It will be "Democrats vs. Democracy."
In this corner, weighing in at 300 million citizens, is the fundamental premise of American government, self-rule. The idea that South Carolina belongs to South Carolinians and ought to be run the way the people who live there want it to be. Sounds crazy, I know, but 135,000 American soldiers are getting shot at in Iraq over that very notion right now.
In the opposing corner, weighing in at 5 votes to 4 in a Washington, DC courtroom, is the antithesis of democracy, judicial dictatorship. It is the belief held by certain ideologues -- Kennedy, Schumer, Boxer, and Osama, to name a few -- that the will of the people has no value at all. They believe instead in a mullah-ocracy, where a handful of holy men determine right and wrong for the great unwashed.
In other words, the terrorists shooting at our American soldiers in Iraq have the same fundamental worldview as the politicians taking potshots at Sam Alito.
I am not saying that American liberals are terrorists. That would be giving Sen. Durbin and Co. too much credit. Osama's gang understands what they're fighting for. They're very clear about it. "We know we're good and you infidels are bad, and that's why we're killing you."
The opponents of Judge Alito have no such clarity. When Sen. Kennedy moans that Judge Alito is going to "take away the reproductive rights of women," he shows his utter ignorance of where these "rights" are supposed to come from. I will no doubt be labeled a "right-wing wacko" (to quote one Democratic staffer's description of Alito), but allow me to quote a dead white guy named Jefferson: governments derive their just powers from the consent of the government.
If you want abortion to be legal in every state, all you have to do is convince a majority of the people in every state to allow it. The same is true, by the way, of physician-assisted suicide, medical marijuana and the use of leeches for medicinal purposes.
That's democracy. That's Alito's way.
Osama's way, as practiced in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and San Francisco, deals exclusively in divine revelation. Alito's opponents "know" which medical procedures are good (abortions for 13-year-old girls without their parents' knowledge) and which are bad. They also know what forms of speech are good (taxpayer-funded urinals filled with crucifixes) and which are bad (any TV ads reminding the voters about liberal support for urine-covered crucifixes within 60 days of an election).
Once enlightened by holy scripture, psychic visions, and careful reading of the New York Times editorial pages, why in the world would you allow the common folk to wander down the road of sin, perdition and Republicanism? The Supreme Court Sen. Kennedy wants isn't bound by any silly notions of constitutionalism or the rule of law. Why, they're on a mission from God!
Right, Mullah Omar?
Supporters of the Supreme Court mullah-ocracy are quick to point out that the American people sometimes do bad things. After all, they note smugly, the American people once supported slavery and segregation.
That's true. But one needn't be smug to point out that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld slavery (Dred Scott) and segregation (Plessy vs. Ferguson), too. And if the new mullah-crat standard of "once decided, never overturned" being applied to Roe vs. Wade today had been in place back in the day, slaves would still be landscaping the lawns of segregated public schools.
That's the problem with the Kennedy/Schumer/Boxer system of allowing "angels to govern us" from the Olympian heights of the Supreme Court. Every 20 years or so, we get new "angels." And just as suddenly, those infallible rulings of indisputable truth are abandoned for even more infallible findings of even truer truths by the next batch of sharia lawgivers.
And because our way of life is being changed by five judges behind closed doors -- as opposed to by 200 legislators in open session before the voters who elect them -- we mere mortals must accept these changes without question, resigned to the notion that the Supreme Court rules in mysterious ways, its wonders to perform.
To do otherwise is to be denounced as a "radical," a member of the "far-right base," and (of course) a bigot, sexist, homophobe, etc.
I remember the good ol' days when it was the Jerry Falwell "religious Right" crowd that wanted the courts to decide what was good and bad, and it was the secular Left who kept reminding them that, no, courts decide only what is legal and illegal. I remember when it was the Left that argued that there were all kinds of actions that might be wrong -- burning the flag, saying naughty things, etc. -- but were perfectly legal.
Well, call me a radical, because I confess that I do not know, with absolute certainty, what is good and what is bad. I will further confess that, even if I received this knowledge directly from the hand of God -- or even from Sandra Day O'Connor -- I would not feel the right to impose my standard on others without their consent.
Perhaps that's why I am not a liberal.