Modern Day Jacobins?
Modern Day Jacobins?
To say that our nation is divided is an understatement. Sadly, we see increasing anger and evil motives impugned on those considered political foes.
This impedes both civil discourse and effective governance. Knowledge of basic American civics and respect for our institutions seem to be in decline.
While all sides have contributed to the deterioration, disproportionately this comes from the left.
Democrats seems uncomfortable with the fundamental anti-majoritarianism of our Constitution. Hillary Clinton advocates the abolition of the Electoral College. Other liberals have complained that small states have disproportionate voice in the US Senate and suggest that larger states be given more seats.
But the Constitution explicitly protects small states from national majorities. The Federalist Papers clearly supports having checks on a strong central government. This was done after many months of deliberation and debate by our Founding Fathers, as opposed to a spontaneous “tweet” from a disgruntled partisan.
Be it the Electoral College, representation in Congress, or Supreme Court nomination hearings, the frustration the left feels toward “the system” is based on them wanting a way to achieve partisan goals, as opposed to adhering to a set of politically neutral idealistic values.
Didn’t those legislators who oppose “the system” take an oath to uphold the very constitution they now think is obsolete?
But the deterioration in discourse goes way beyond mere differences on electoral systems. Violent thoughts and behavior have reared their ugly heads.
Envy, rage, and revenge seem to have made a comeback with far-left groups such as Antifa, which has staged many violent protests. This unacceptable behavior spread to protests against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings, including both childish behavior by numerous Senators and angry vitriol expressed towards others.
Senator Susan Collins, a pro-choice moderate Republican from Maine, received numerous death threats against her family and many phone calls to her office expressing hope that her daughter would be raped. It wasn’t good enough to these crazies that just the year before, Collins had received from Planned Parenthood its 2017 Award for her championing of reproductive health issues for women. For even entertaining the idea of supporting Kavanaugh, they felt she deserved punishment of rape or death! She was one of many Republicans accosted by angry leftists.
We also hear the newest darling of the left, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, promoting a 70% top income tax rate because “those folks don’t need the money anyway,” while freshman Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib says of President Trump, “We are going to impeach the m—–f—-r!” What a mature way of expressing things!
Such behavior suggests that we compare the two great revolutions of the 18th century. In seeking freedom from England, Americans were trying to preserve the tradition of representative government and self-imposed taxation. They wanted to be left alone; the symbol of their cause was the Liberty Bell.
This contrasts with the French Revolution, a conflict rooted in envy that sought to overthrow a monarchy deemed repugnant. It was a blood-soaked affair that had as its symbol of liberty the guillotine.
The French Jacobin movement had two wings – the Girondins and Mountains, that eventually split. What followed was a Jacobin/Mountain government that unleashed a period referred to as the “Reign of Terror.” Prominent Girondins were guillotined, while the government executed many thousands of political opponents.
Charles Dickens’ book A Tale of Two Cities included a fictional character named Madame Defarge, a tireless worker for the French Revolution. She was obsessed with revenge against various ruling families, including one that played a role in crimes against previous generations of her family. Enraged with a lust for revenge, Defarge ignored the change of heart that Charles Darnay had for the sins of his ancestors. He renounced his title to family lands to give them to the peasants who worked on them. To Defarge revenge was essential, but not forgiveness or mercy.
Have today’s leftists become modern day Jacobins? And why are so many “mainstream” Democratic Party leaders silent about this outrageous behavior?
It is time for the adults in our nation to start behaving like adults. Irrespective of party or philosophy, and from the top (President) down, we must show more civility and respect for those who have opposing views. There is a reason our American Republic has remained strong for over 200 years, while the French are on their fifth republic.
America needs more respect and civility and that precludes any Jacobin behavior, period.
Written by Rich Sena