Season’s greetings, one and all! This simple wish is broadcast without prejudice; rather, with hope that anyone reading will realize – and savor – the joyful contentment to which many people aspire this time of year.
Yet even while aspirations for peace, comradery, and hope for the future abound, current events generate concern in government and political circles alike: the specter of minority rule – the exact antithesis of American democracy – has become a genuine and growing risk for the new year.
Consider current membership of the U.S. Senate, where 50 Democratic Senators represent 40 million more Americans than their Republican counterparts, the minority caucus repeatedly blocks legislation, threatens government funding shutdowns, and withholds appointment confirmation for vital judicial and diplomatic positions. In fact, it was recently acknowledged there is no Republican legislative agenda for 2022. I nstead, that caucus will devote itself entirely to obstruction and interference, and while doing so wage arbitrary ‘culture wars’ to try and distract the public.
Consider membership of the Supreme Court of the United States, where five of the nine justices were appointed by presidents elected without a popular vote majority. These justices now wield extraordinary influence in cases that potentially impact every aspect of American life, from gun control to healthcare and reproductive freedom, and from voting rights to other, basic civil liberties.
Consider new laws in 19 states restricting the most fundamental feature of majority rule: access to the ballot box. In several states with Republican leadership, new laws transfer responsibility for counting and certifying election results from non-partisan officials to partisans, who can also exclude votes they deem ‘fraudulent.’ The terrifying potential here is that literally millions of voters could be overruled by a few hundred legislators or a relative handful of hand-picked partisan officials.
In some states redrawn district maps award clear and distinct advantage to Republicans, contradicting the goal of free and fair elections. For example, in Georgia – a state President Biden won – new Republican maps would award 64% of Congressional seats and 59% of state senate seats to candidates of their own party.
In Wisconsin – another state President Biden won – 75% of Congressional seats and 60% of legislative seats would go to Republicans. North Carolina’s Republican legislature callously gave its party a glaring head start for approximately 75% of its Congressional seats. The U.S. Department of Justice recently filed suit to stop Texas from imposing similarly slanted redistricting.
Now Woodbridge Republicans are trying to launch their own brand of minority rule. Last month the two Republican selectmen called their own meeting – permissible under Town Charter – to exercise a rogue ‘government in exile,’ similar to what the former president has done by falsely insisting President Biden ‘stole’ his election victory.
Absent a quorum, the Republican selectmen couldn’t transact any business or act on behalf of the Town. Instead, they seemed intent on prioritizing and advancing their own partisan talking points in what amounted to a Republican Town Committee echo chamber. Doing so creates increased division, acrimony, and partisanship in town; Woodbridge would be better served if they worked as hard to address the town’s current challenges.
Instead, they used Town resources – hypocritical for those who constantly complain about ‘government waste’ – for their dog ‘n pony show, yet failed to offer remedies for continuing budget stressors, arguably the most pressing responsibility they have these next couple of months.
It seems the Republican party, across the country and now in Woodbridge, has doubled down as the party of ‘no,’ and remains willing to go to extremes to wrest control of government wherever, whenever, and however it can, majority opinion be damned.