• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

SPRING FUNDRAISER

Is it time for our Spring fundraiser already? If you enjoy what we offer, and have the means, please consider donating. The sooner we reach our modest goal, the faster we can get back to business as (un)usual. Please, stay safe and we’ll see you down the road.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Speaking Truth to Power

Last week Rep. Justin Amash, formerly a very conservative Republican member of Congress and the right-wing House Freedom Caucus, declared he’s no longer a member of either the party or the caucus. He is also the only Republican member of Congress to call for the impeachment of president Trump after he actually read the entire Mueller Report in May. Amash’s reasons for his actions — and his motivation for speaking truth to power — are that the two political parties and the partisan loyalties they demand are eclipsing the real and necessary responsibilities of elected officials in a representative democracy.

As Amash put it: “True to [George] Washington’s fears, Americans have allowed government officials, under assertions of expediency and party unity, to ignore the most basic tenets of our constitutional order: separation of powers, federalism and the rule of law. The result has been the consolidation of political power and the near disintegration of representative democracy.”

There’s certainly no better or more obvious example of what Amash is referring to than the blind partisan loyalty his former Republican Party and its congressional members have used to ignore the excesses, illegalities and unconstitutional abuses of President Trump. The problem is, when public officials take their oaths of office, they swear to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.” Nowhere does it say “unless they’re from my political party.”

Of course Amash is going to pay heavily for telling the truth by dumping party loyalty in favor of the oversight duties which the Constitution assigns to Congress. Being true to his fiscal conservative beliefs already cost Amash his seat on the Budget Committee in 2012. Now he may lose his seat on the Oversight and Reform Committee and not be allowed to caucus with Republicans.

It would be great to say Amash is right about Republicans but wrong about Democrats doing the same thing. But that’s simply not the way it is.

Take the 2016 Demo primary in Montana, for instance. In fact, Bernie Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton. Simply put, his platform and vision resonated and was supported at the polls by Montanans and by all rights Montana’s delegates to the national nominating convention should have represented the wishes of the voters — as should have the Montana Democratic Party.

Instead, almost all of Montana’s delegates, including U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, cast their votes for Clinton and the party shifted funds that should have gone to Bernie to Hillary’s campaign. In other words, they told the voters “sorry, you don’t know what you’re doing and the party does and requires that we vote for Hillary.” The result was the overwhelming defeat of Clinton in Montana and the near sweep of all statewide offices by the Republicans. Not coincidentally, the reprehensible fund-shifting resulted in the ouster of Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Bernie Sanders’ popular platform also embraced single-payer health care. But Montana’s top Democrats, like Jon Tester, refuse to support what his own party’s base endorsed. Why? Might want to check the big bucks with which the pharmaceutical and insurance industry steers the loyalty of the Democratic Party operatives away from its own members.

One need not embrace Amash’s conservative ideology to acknowledge that his warning “if we continue to take America for granted, we will lose it” rings true. That is, unless we, the people, demand real representative democracy from our elected officials, not marching in lock-step with the dictates of the two dominant political parties.

More articles by:

George Ochenski is a columnist for the Missoulian, where this essay originally appeared.

June 04, 2020
Helen Yaffe
Leading by Example: Cuba in the Covid-19 Pandemic
John Davis
Our History is Our Future
Fred Baumgarten
Chamberlain v. White Plains: A Crack in the Wall for Police Killings?
Steven Newcomb
Domination and the Murder of George Floyd
Jen Moore
Defending Land and Water From Mining Profiteers in the Time of Covid-19
Jim Hightower
I Remember the Lynchings of the 60s. They’re Still Happening
Prabir Purkayastha
U.S. Abandons Open Skies for New Age Space Weapons
M. K. Bhadrakumar
NATO Returns to Libya to Challenge Russia
Dave Lindorff
Redistribution by Another Name
Thom Hartmann
How Immunity for Cops and Facebook Kills Americans
George Wuerthner
The Problem With Chainsaw Medicine: the Forest Service’s Move to Cut Oregon’s Big Trees
Victor Grossman
An Idea on Providing Coordination and Leadership
Rebecca Gordon
How the Credibility Gap Became a Chasm in the Age of Trump
Tom Clifford
With USA in Retreat, China Reassesses Its Options
Rafael Bernabe – Manuel Rodríguez Banchs
A Proposal from Afar: Trump Must Resign!
Binoy Kampmark
To the Commercial Heavens We Go! SpaceX, NASA and Space Privatisation
Brett Heinz
The UN’s Anti-Poverty Proposal for Latin America: a “Basic Emergency Income”
Peter Harrison
Four Aphorisms
June 03, 2020
Anthony DiMaggio
Revolution, Not Riots: Prospects for Radical Transformation in the Covid-19 Era
Jennifer Loewenstein
From Mississippi to Minneapolis: Leaving the ‘Abyss of Despair’
Kenneth Surin
The UK Compared With Other Countries on the Pandemic
Paul Street
“Total Domination”: Popular Rebellion in the Shadow of Trumpism-Fascism
Kenn Orphan
The Sadism of American Power
John Pilger
The Coup Against ‘The Most Loyal Ally’
Eric Murphy
The Police Are The Out-Of-Towners Provoking Violence
Melvin Goodman
How the Washington Post Accommodates Disinformation
Rev. William Alberts
It’s the Worshippers Who Are “Essential”
Georgina Downs
No, the Public Fury Will Not “Move On” Prime Minister!
George V. Wright
It is Happening Here
M. G. Piety
Tales from the Dark Side of Customer Service, or “Christians” Giving Christians a Bad Name
Chandra Muzaffar
A Superpower in Chaos
Thomas Knapp
Time to Stop Messing Around and Strike at the Root of Police Violence
Thomas M. Hanna
The Oligopoly That Controls Our Digital Infrastructure Has Deepened Economic and Racial Divides
Andrew Stewart
The Ethics of Police Murder Video Exhibition: Democratizing The News Feed, Re-Traumatizing The Survivors, Or Both?
Binoy Kampmark
Death, Protest and George Floyd
David Rovics
Who’s Trashing Downtown Every Night and Why?
Harvey Wasserman
Trump Is No Accident
Behrooz Ghamari Tabrizi
Biden and the Common Sense Voter
Timothy Ingalsbee
Ecosystems, Logging and the Definition of Insanity
Elliot Sperber
The Birds of Brooklyn
June 02, 2020
Zoltan Grossman
Deploying Federal Troops in a War at Home Would Make a Bad Situation Worse
Nicholas Buccola
Amy Cooper is Christian Cooper’s Lost, Younger Sister 
Manuel García, Jr.
Global Warming is Nuclear War
Patrick Cockburn
An Unavoidable Recognition of Failure: Trump’s Withdrawal From Afghanistan
John Feffer
Is It Time to Boycott the USA?
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail