Chief Justice Roberts: We Must Stop Taking Democracy For Granted
Chief Justice Roberts: We Must Stop Taking Democracy For Granted
January 1, 2020
Yesterday, Chief Justice John Roberts issued his year-end report. In it, he didn’t pull any punches. In fact, he punched right for the gut, nailing one of the problems we at Victory Girls have long warned about. According to the Chief Justice, the United States has “come to take democracy for granted.” But, unlike so many in the media, Chief Justice Roberts hasn’t given up hope for our country and neither should we.
Chief Justice Roberts opens his report by reminding us about an incident early in our country’s history. in 1788, little more than a decade after the United States won its independence from Britain, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay worked together to write the Federalist Papers. The purpose of these “papers” was to help promote the ratification of the Constitution. One day in 1788, Jay was struck by a rock thrown during a riot and incapacitated. Fortunately, he recovered and he later became our nation’s first chief justice of the Supreme Court.
In relating the story about that day, Chief Justice Roberts writes:
It is sadly ironic that John Jay’s efforts to educate his fellow citizens about the Framers’ plan of government fell victim to a rock thrown by a rioter motivated by a rumor. Happily, Hamilton, Madison, and Jay ultimately succeeded in convincing the public of the virtues of the principles embodied in the Constitution. Those principles leave no place for mob violence. But in the ensuing years, we have come to take democracy for granted, and civic education has fallen by the wayside. In our age, when social media can instantly spread rumor and false information on a grand scale, the public’s need to understand our government, and the protections it provides, is ever more vital. The judiciary has an important role to play in civic education, and I am pleased to report that the judges and staff of our federal courts are taking up the challenge.”
There is a great deal to unpack in that one paragraph. The rumor Roberts refers to was that a recently deceased woman was being dissected by medical students. A rumor, much like what we see happening with social media today. Just as the Chief Justice points out. Think about that and then think about how many people turn to the internet, specifically to social media, for their “news”.
Social media is invaluable for keeping us informed about what is happening in places like Hong Kong. The state media would dearly love to keep the outside world from knowing what is happening. Instead, because of sites like Twitter and Facebook, we can see in real time what is happening.
For those who feel #antiELAB movement is losing momentum, think again. To close the year 2019, #HongKong people join hands once more in a human chain to show they are not giving up. 2020 will too start with a bang as protesters take to the streets again on first day of the year. pic.twitter.com/oi2JhAb6uV
— Rachel Cheung (@rachel_cheung1) December 31, 2019
Unfortunately, too often social media like Twitter and Facebook turns into the technological version of the children’s game “grapevine”. In that game, the first person in a line of children whispers something to the child next to him. They must speak softly enough that no one else can hear them. By the end of “chain”, the original statement has undergone numerous alterations and often bears little resemblance to the original comment.
The difference between this and social media is simple. The child hearing the statement and then passing it on has no chance to verify it. They aren’t allowed to ask the person speaking to them to repeat what they said. They can’t grab their cellphone and go online to check the veracity of the comment. Instead, it is taken as true.
As the Chief Justice wrote, “we have come to take democracy for granted, and civic education has fallen by the wayside.”
I wish he was wrong. God, how I wish it. But sadly, he is all too right in both comments. Too many of us have come to take democracy for granted. We see it in the way so many of our politicians and others demand more and more government involvement in our lives. We see it every time Antifa takes to the streets, destroying property and shutting down free speech of those whom they disagree with. We see it every time we talk to a young person and ask them about the founding documents and are greeted with blank looks because they aren’t taught more than the basic outline of what the Constitution says. I doubt many have even heard of the Federalist Papers, much less have read them.
But it goes deeper than that. We see the lack of respect, possibly the lack of knowledge, for our democracy too often from the supposedly hallowed halls of Congress. Examples we have seen too often this year come from both sides of the political aisle, but mainly from the Left. The Democrats still can’t stomach the fact Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election. So they spent the last three years trying to find something to use to force President Trump from office. They stacked the deck against him in the hearing held by the House. Now that they have issued their articles of impeachment, those same Democrats who stacked the deck in the House now want to tell the Republican majority in the Senate how to run their part of the process. Certain members of the House have already announced they will continue digging for something to use against Trump if their attempt to impeach him fail.
In other words, they have no respect for the will of the people or for our democracy. What they want is a single party government where they get to call the shots, all the shots, including deciding who sits in the Oval Office and who sits on every judicial bench.
The media has been complicit with the Left’s attempts to undermine Trump. It continues even with the Chief Justice’s report. The New York Times starts out its coverage of the report by saying it “seemed to be addressed, at least in part, to the president himself.” Funny, if you read the report, it is actually addressed to every member of our government, not to mention the judiciary, as well as every person in our country. But saying it was aimed at Trump fits their agenda much better than saying the Chief Justice was giving us all a warning.
The following statement by Roberts could be expanded to include the MSM.
In our age, when social media can instantly spread rumor and false information on a grand scale, the public’s need to understand our government, and the protections it provides, is ever more vital.”
This has rarely been as evident as in the last few months. We’ve seen folks tweeting about how Donald Trump is no longer president because he’s been impeached. Once upon a time, every school kid learned about the different branches of government. They also learned how a president could be impeached and what the process happened to be. Because of that, they would know the House returning articles of impeachment was simply the first step in the process. Hell’s bells, anyone old enough to remember the Clinton Administration would know that. But our schools aren’t teaching the fundamentals any longer and memory is selective, especially when the facts don’t fit the preferred narrative.
But it goes beyond the impeachment. Sunday, a man (and I use that term loosely) stood up in a White Settlement, TX church, approached two others and pulled a long rifle from under his coat. In a period of approximately six seconds, he shot and ultimately killed two before he was shot and killed by a member of the church’s volunteer security force. If you watch the video, you see one of the two victims reaching behind him, as if reaching for his own weapon, before he’s shot. You see the gentleman, the hero, who took out the shooter moving forward, gun drawn. While many of those present dove or ran for cover, others in the congregation stood, pulled their own weapons and went toward possible danger, all to protect others from possible harm.
It didn’t take long for social media, in particular Twitter, to explode with erroneous information about the whys and wherefores about what happened. It was bad enough to have anti-2nd Amendment shill Shannon Watts jumping in.
Slant is everything and she is a master of it. She conveniently ignores the fact the hero who shot the shooter was the closest of those armed to him at the time. The others were disciplined enough not to open fire with so many innocents between them and the gunman. Instead, they drew their weapons and approached, insuring he could do no further harm. That is exactly what they’d been trained to do.
But it is worse when former state representative and failed U. S. presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke jumps in and misstates not only what happened but the law as well.
So saddened to hear about another church shooting in Texas, this one in White Settlement near Fort Worth. Clearly what we are doing in Texas, what we are doing in this country, when it comes to guns is not working. https://t.co/krwcpL1lih
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) December 29, 2019
This was less than two hours after the shooting, long before any real information about the shooter or his possible motives had been discussed. But trust Beto to jump in and use social media to beat his pet political horse without regard to state or national law or the rights given us by our founding fathers in the Constitution. The law about being able to carry concealed in a church and certain other locations was changed in Texas after the Sutherland Springs shooting. It became legal, with churches, etc., being able to decide if they wanted to forbid such action. This particular church chose to have a volunteer security team that was allowed to carry concealed. How many lives were saved because of it? That is the question idiots like O’Rourke not only won’t ask but don’t want anyone else to ask. Just as they don’t want to discuss how many, if not most, of those who commit such horrible crimes do not obtain their weapons legally.
And people wonder why we don’t have respect for our democracy or our politicians any longer or why we don’t know simple civics. It’s difficult to when this is the sort of example being set for us by folks who should know better.
Chief Justice Roberts recognizes the danger of this continuing. He calls on his fellow justices and judges on all other courts to work to improve our understanding and knowledge of the Constitution and other fundamentals of our government.
I ask my judicial colleagues to continue their efforts to promote public confidence in the judiciary, both through their rulings and through civic outreach. We should celebrate our strong and independent judiciary, a key source of national unity and stability. But we should also remember that justice is not inevitable. We should reflect on our duty to judge without fear or favor, deciding each matter with humility, integrity, and dispatch. As the New Year begins, and we turn to the tasks before us, we should each resolve to do our best to maintain the public’s trust that we are faithfully discharging our solemn obligation to equal justice under law.”
How do they do this? By remaining true to the Constitution. By not being intimidated by threats from the Left to stack the Court once they hold the majority in the Senate. By remembering they are not supposed to be a political arm of the government. They are to rule based on the law, not on the cause du jour. That is how they earn and keep the public’s trust.
Something the Left, and too many on the Right, have forgotten.
So here’s my wish for 2020 and on. I wish for a strong Supreme Court with justices who aren’t afraid to uphold the Constitution and to protect our rights under it. I wish for people to finally engage their brains before taking anything they see on social media as the gospel. Most of all, I wish for our communities to wrest control of our schools back from the politicians and return them to education instead of indoctrination.
Featured Image: Chief Justice John Roberts by Steve Petteway – Creative Commons licence.
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