On the EDge: A perilous path awaits

OPINION – As far as empires go, I guess 240 years isn’t so bad.

Normally, a sociopolitical reign lasts about 250 years.

The Roman Empire lasted 507 years.

The Classical Greek Period was about 350 years.

And, of course, various Chinese dynasties have endured for a couple thousand years.

Most, however, have much shorter lifespans.

Regardless of who wins the election a week from today, a perilous path awaits.

Republicans are already girding themselves for a nasty fight that could result in a constitutional crisis if Arizona Sen. John McCain has his way.

“I promise you that we will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up. I promise you,” McCain said during a recent radio interview in support of Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, who is lagging in the polls. He was joined in this partisan obstructionism by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah.

Considering there is a great likelihood that three or more Supreme Court openings are forthcoming – either through death or retirement –during the course of the next election cycle, that would mean a virtual shutting down of the judicial branch of the federal government, which would eliminate a very important leg in our checks and balances system and lead to governmental chaos.

The Republican Senate has already taken an unprecedented no-hearings-no-vote position on President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to fill the seat vacated by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Continuing this obstructionism in the event there are three more vacancies during the next four years would wither the Supreme Court and render it ineffective.

Ironically, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, once proclaimed in an interview with The New Republic that there was “no question” that Garland could be confirmed to the Supreme Court, that he would be a “consensus nominee.”

Before the money hit the table, Hatch said: “The president told me several times he’s going to name a moderate (to fill the court vacancy), but I don’t believe him. (Obama) could easily name Merrick Garland, who is a fine man. He probably won’t do that because this appointment is about the election. So I’m pretty sure he’ll name someone the (liberal Democratic base) wants.”

When Obama named Garland, Hatch and other embarrassed Republicans quickly tap-danced their way around it, saying the “people” should have a say in the appointment. What they neglected to acknowledge, however, is that “the people” spoke eight years ago. By electing Obama, they gave him the power and right to make a SCOTUS nomination, whether three days into his term or three months from its end.

I guess Hatch meant the “right people,” as in this clutch of far right radicals who have kidnapped the party and are holding democracy hostage in the process.

Should the election go the other way, we are looking at a similar erosion of the principles that formed this nation 240 years ago, with a candidate who has said he would jail his opponents, restrict and even try to amend First Amendment rights of a free press and who has cozied up dangerously with Vladimir Putin while alienating and angering our closest neighbors – Mexico and Canada – and putting distance between the United States and its European allies.

And yes, that matters.

Scholars have debated for centuries about the recipe for failure that led to the downfall of various civilizations.

On the fringes are a number of ingredients that matter, but the core is always built around political corruption and a rejection of the system.

We’ve seen enough corruption in modern times to make the fall of the Roman Empire look like a fairy tale.

We’ve seen our political leaders killed in the streets, and we’ve seen those who assume their new mantel tiptoe carefully in the shadows of those who instigated the treason.

And if you open your eyes, you will see it happening today, as we hear not murmurings but shouts of disapproval of our system and the roots of a democracy that would sustain itself if it hadn’t been eaten alive by greed, power and a rabid herd of hogs who have fed at the public trough for far too long.

Every time you hear somebody say the election is rigged, that they will not accept the outcome, that “it doesn’t matter,” you are witness to the danger that stalks the nation.

Every time you see machinations of Machiavellian proportion that maneuver a politician into a place of power, or at least leads them to the threshold of dominion, you are watching another layer of democracy being torn away.

As I have stated many times, I am neither a fan of Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump. I think it is rather clear that I believe one to be a lesser danger, but both present serious threats to our future as a nation.

Gary Johnson and Jill Stein come off as buffoons, and Evan McMullin is nothing more than an opportunist.

So as far as the White House is concerned, none are equipped in my mind to pass through the portal of the Oval Office.

What is more important, however, is the down ticket, where real change can be accomplished.

And when we look there, we see obstructionists, partisan hacks who reduce the presidency to yeoman status; senators and representatives who are far too deep in the pockets of the special interests and far too strongly entrenched in positions they have abused for far too long.

That is where real change is necessary.

Simply swapping out the old band of crooks isn’t enough. We need a forceful, scorched-Earth policy to eliminate the career politicians, and it begins with limiting members of the House and Senate to two four-year terms. We limit the amount of time a president can remain in office, so it is time to square the deal and kick some of these stinking carcasses to the curb.

That would mean a reduction in a Senate term from six to four years – a good thing – and increasing the term of a House member from two to four years – another good thing. At the end of the two terms we give them a hearty handshake, a pat on the back and send them on their way before their greedy hands get stuck in some lobbyist’s wallet.

Only then can we salvage a nation that once stood mighty and strong.

And preserve the most important empire in the history of this globe.

Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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  • BIG GUY November 1, 2016 at 8:08 am

    Ed’s at it again, seeing the Obama presidency through his “liberally” rose colored glasses. I’ll take the liberty to recast several of his over-the-top misstatements to balance them out:

    “The [Democrat] Senate [took] an unprecedented no-hearings-no-vote position on President [Bush’s Supreme Court] nominations.” Senators Cuomo, Reid, and then-Senators Obama and Biden all stated this clearly when Democrats controlled the Senate during the Bush presidency.

    “We’ve seen enough [of Hilary Clinton’s] corruption in modern times to make the fall of the Roman Empire look like a fairy tale.”

    “We are looking at a similar erosion of the principles that formed this nation 240 years ago, with a candidate who has said [she] would.. restrict and even try to amend Second Amendment rights, [vowed to appoint Supreme Court justices who will rewrite the Constitution to reflect today’s ever-evolving progressive liberal whims]…and who has cozied up dangerously with [Elizabeth Warren].”

    Like Ed, I’m no fan of either Clinton or Trump: both represent serious threats to our government. Both major parties should be embarrassed that these two are their nominees.

  • Brian November 1, 2016 at 8:17 am

    I agree on the need for term limits. And I have a 100% safe, legal plan to accomplish it that doesn’t require a traditional Constitutional Convention to do it. A normal ConCon is too risky with all of the CON-men we have in politics right now.

    Here is how it works: Each state legislature ratifies a simple, one-page document with identical language stating that they propose an amendment to the Constitution that senators and congressmen are now limited to two terms, and spells out what those terms are.

    And that’s it. When the 38th state ratifies that language, the amendment is added to the United States Constitution according to Article V.

    Nowhere in the Constitution does it state that a Constitutional Convention has to be done in person and involve long, protracted, risky meetings. The point of a ConCon is to give the states the ability to amend the Constitution as needed, as long as at least three-fourths of the states supports it.

  • NotSoFast November 1, 2016 at 8:50 am

    I understand where your coming from Ed. Eliminating the time and making it equal for both congressional and the senate is a no brainer. Adjustments to the perks they voted for themselves is warranted also. By sending them back to their respective states, where they can rejoin their neighbors as humble Americans,
    where they can offer future state reps, insight on what works, what doesn’t for the benefit of home front.

  • eddantes56 November 1, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    Ed, again, you do not see the root of the problem and that is simply the idea that our country is fundamentally flawed and thus needs to be “fundamentally transformed”. This is your view and that of the Progressive Left and you all have been working on this transformation for 100 years.

    There is no equivalence between Trump and Clinton. She truly is unfit to lead this nation in character, competence and every other measure.

    We have sowed the wind and now we are reaping the whirlwind. The Progressive Left with the weak-kneed so called Conservatives have turned the moral order of our society upside down. Practicality, right and wrong, Christian moral principles that founded this country along with our Anglo culture have been denied, denigrated and we are left with a populace of many many citizens with no moral or historical compass outside of the what has happened in this country since the Civil Rights Act.

    Regardless of who wins, we are in for turbulent and violent times…..simply put, we are in the “Fall” of the soon to arrive “Demographic Winter”. After killing 50+ million babies because it was inconvenient for the mother, allowing 3-50 million legal immigrants that have not assimilated but have at best “integrated” into the American gravy train, allowing 30+ million illegally to bring their cultural dysfunction to our country with divided loyalties at best and the final nail in the coffin………..your kids, my kids and our neighbors kids were handed the legacy of “NO KIDS”. They were taught there is little personal gain in having children, children are a pain, a huge expense and they get in the way of lots of “self actualization”.

    No nation can survive the Demographic Winter that is coming. When the third world controls huge swathes of the political and economic landscapes of the U.S., it is going to get real rough; the tensions and the conflicts will arise and people like you will have another feeble excuse of the lack of tolerance, inclusivity….ad nauseum.

    The Progressive Left has no model they can point to where a vibrant culture and economically prosperous exists. Your principles are fetid, just like the ideas of Hillary Clinton. Look at Venezuela, the latest “socialist paradise”….a complete basket case.

    Our country was great and inspired as founded. Not perfect but great with the potential to slowly work on our issues. I fear it’s too late to retreat from our internal rot. The moral decay, the economic immorality, et al are deeply entrenched. I truly hope that I am wrong.

    BTW, stop calling our system of government a Democracy. We have a Constitutional Republic…..Geeesh, the Founders disliked Democracies and in the Federalist papers and other recorded debates, they abhorred the mob mentality of Democracies.

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