As I see it: we have unfinished business
On September 11, 2001, we experienced a foreign attack on symbols of America. On January 6, 2021, we experienced an internal attack on our very republic. We have unfinished business.
Our founders had hoped to avoid faction, political division into parties. Unity ended with the second Federalist President John Adams. The third, Thomas Jefferson, was troubled by the conservatives of his day. The Conservatives had formed a party called the Federalists. Jefferson’s party used to be called Republican, but it is the ancestor of today’s Democrats. For a while, they were called the Democratic Republicans. Today’s Republican Party was formed when the Federalist’s successor Whig Party collapsed. There was a lot of conflict at the start, fights broke out in Congress, Alexander Hamilton was killed by Vice President Aaron Burr in a duel.
Conservative has had different meanings historically. The Jeffersonian Conservatives did not trust the ability of the people to govern themselves. Some believed that only a king would have the necessary strength. There was even a faction that offered to recruit a prince from one of the royal houses in Europe. Some wanted to name George Washington King but he opposed it and set the precedent of two terms. This precedent lasted nearly two hundred years and only Franklin Roosevelt was elected more than twice. He was given credit for ending the Great Depression, which made him extremely popular. He presided over the Second World War that we were winning. War presidents tend to be re-elected. The 22nd Amendment prohibits being elected president more than twice.
Four of the first five presidents were slave owners in Virginia, but they were also those who committed to a democratic republic under the Constitution. The Adams had doubts. Southerners strongly believed in state rights, arguing that states could override federal laws they disagreed with, like some governors today. They particularly disagreed with the efforts of the North to end slavery. The slave owners had the power. Many in the South believed that their citizenship and loyalty was first to their state and only secondarily to the United States. Some still do. They got so far that in 1860 South Carolina declared secession from the union, and on April 12, 1861, fired cannons at Fort Sumter, igniting Civil War. Even after the war, the Texas planters ignored the 13th Amendment until Grant sent the army to enforce it on June 19 (June 19, 1865).
A small faction in our country supports the idea of something like a monarchy. A president with more extensive powers, perhaps absolute, perhaps without term limits. Some even propose a virtual dynasty or hereditary succession, a system that has worked so well in Europe from the Dark Ages to the Marshal Plan; except perpetual wars. In traditional wars, victory seized the enemy capital. January 6 was such an attempt.
Our system, with all its imperfections, has lasted since 1790 despite slavery and abolition, the invasion in 1812, a civil war, Jim Crow, two world wars, countless minor wars, recessions, the great depression , the cold war, six impeachments, four assassinations plus a few failed assassinations, contested elections, ban, 9/11 and so far, January 6.
Perhaps the most serious threat to the Constitution was the invasion of Capitol Hill. The insurgency was so chaotic that the number of insurgents was not reliably estimated; perhaps 10,000, mostly armed with improvised or requisitioned weapons, plus a few firearms. Hundreds of Metropolitan Police officers responded to support the Capitol Police and other federal agents. They felt completely outnumbered and overwhelmed.
A few members of Congress deny the reality of the hours of video we’ve all seen. Let them answer why. If it was a normal day, why were they hiding under furniture or being escorted to safe rooms? Why are people dead? Why did not a single legislator try to reason with the invaders? Can they explain the $ 30 million in damages? The apparent goal was to undo a system that we took 232 years to perfect and install as “president,” someone favored by an angry mob. There is no constitutional mechanism to accomplish this. If they took control, what was the next step in the plan? a coronation, like that of Napoleon?
Ken Obenski is a forensic engineer, now an advocate for security and liberty in South Kona. Send your comments to [email protected]