By Mark Glennon of Wirepoints.
How? If we could ask those we honor this Memorial Day how best to do it, what would they say? This year, I submit that they would answer differently than they might have in most years past.
I suspect many would say to forget their names and their deeds for now. They would ask us, instead, to see what they would no doubt see with clarity: that America, particularly Illinois, is allowing the slow undoing of the what they died for. They would ask us to honor them by committing ourselves to reversing course. They would ask us to consider the consequences that will come if we don’t.
Stated most simply, they died to protect a democratic republic, essential elements of which are likewise simple – democratic rule bounded by certain unalienable rights.
Both of those elements are being unwound today. Should that continue, Americans will gradually come to see that the foundations of government legitimacy are gone. That looming threat should be our primary concern today, for if Americans conclude that their government no longer derives its powers justly – in the manner articulated by the Founders – then division, strife and violence far worse than we have seen in the last few years will certainly come.
Is it exaggeration to say that the essential elements of legitimate government are being unwound?
As the Founders wrote in the Declaration of Independence, “let facts be submitted to a candid world:”
Much of America no longer believes in freedom of expression and openly supports censorship. That means democracy cannot be real. Congressional hearings on tech censorship were filled with demands by many in both the House and Senate for more censorship. Only 53% of college students support freedom of speech. Universities provide endless examples of thought persecution that would have been unthinkable in decades past.
Here in Illinois, incumbent officeholders are once again about to select who their voters will be, instead of the other way around. It’s Democrats who are drawing obscenely gerrymandered maps in Illinois, but Republicans are doing it in many other states. Blame the United States Supreme Court, which essentially punted two years ago on partisan gerrymandering, leaving incumbent politicians free to do as they want.
Courts across most of America, particularly in Illinois, have looked away as emergency pandemic rules trampled the unalienable rights they are supposed to protect regardless of majority rule, including freedoms of association, travel, assembly, religion, property, equal protection and due process. Legislatures, too, have handed away their role as a third branch of government in favor of vastly expanded executive authority exercised through emergency rules.
Young voters are coming of age who’ve been blinded by government K-12 schools that have been made into instruments of political indoctrination. A twisted version of “equity” is now woven into most every part of their curricula, then in turn woven into most every piece of new legislation and regulatory action. Officeholders, sworn to uphold the Constitution, somehow see no conflict embracing Critical Race Theory, which holds that the Constitution was designed to perpetuate slavery, and they force that teaching on schools.
Voting means nothing unless it is informed vote, and media corrupted beyond recognition have unquestionably tipped countless elections. National media now openly distort news, suppress stories that don’t fit their narrative and often outright lie. In November’s election, 37 congressional races were decided by margins of 5% or less. Illinois alone had two House seats decided by margins of 2% or less. Media surely have an impact at least as big as those margins. Innumerable down-ballot, state and local races undoubtedly were also tipped by national media bias. Journalism schools now openly teach students to forget about objectivity and write, instead, to promote their own philosophies.
Now, incumbent politicians in Illinois have proposed a state constitutional amendment that would give public unions unprecedented power to advance their own “economic interest” by overriding all other forms of government.
And in Washington, the infamous, 800-page “For the People Act” was already passed by the House and now pends in the Senate. It would strip state and local government of control over elections, vastly expanding federal power to make elections universally partisan.
Disagree with some of the above if you want, but nobody can argue that large and growing numbers of Americans do not disagree, and that perceptions ultimately may be most important. Peace and stability require public confidence that the essential elements of legitimate government be present.
That confidence has been eroding quickly and is near a breaking point. If a large portion of Americans conclude that their government is no longer legitimate, and that their the power to fix it through a fair, democratic process has been eliminated, the consequences are almost too difficult to imagine.
This Memorial Day, when you visit or see the pictures of the graves, remember not just their names but why they are there, and consider what they would want. They would want to be remembered for dying to save a democratic republic. They would want America to reverse the course it is now on.