Cassandra Smernoff

turkeys

I’d had been on the whole right pleased to see the whole shebang gone down like an old steamship sunk in the Mississippi. Why, with all the screaming and all the hollering and all the old sexpots of Egypt doing what they all had been doing, it was the devil’s due. If old Ben Franklin, he’d had had his way like he wanted it, it wouldn’t be any useless eagle taking up more than a hundred acres of good fertile land to be the bird of the country, but the other one. And that ingenious Jefferson himself who wanted the folks to talk in Greek, though it’d be hard to believe he’d have wanted that for his roughly three hundred and fifty or something slaves he kept downstairs working in the kitchen, while he wined the folks visiting upstairs quoting Cervantes. Anyhow, more than two hundred and forty years later with all that nonsense of the two or three royal families of America turning the Lazy Susan by themselves now, without any help besides a few hundred millions of dollars on either side pushing in first the one, and then pushing in the other, trading off being in charge of the supper table, now four years this king, now four years that queen, and so on again, the system couldn’t have been made any smoother than butter left out in the summer sun an hour in July. And now all those November folks lined up like stiff ants crossing the river to die for themselves like it all mattered to them. But it wasn’t any different either when Diomedes eventually lost his sword and shield, and all excellence was cast away like a dead body in the river nobody, neither party, could then claim as their own anymore.

What’s wealth got to do with it?

hanging crow in lilac blooms

In a statement, campaign officials called overturning the controversial decision a key part of Clinton’s plan to “challenge the stranglehold that wealthy interests have over our political system.”

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2016/07/16/hillary-clinton-push-constitutional-amendment-overturn-citizens-united/87186452/

It is important to remember that every media appearance by any person involved in elected government is a self-promoting advertisement. That these may double as platform positions is really secondary. Primary is the purpose to get you, the viewer, the “consumer,” to buy the product—be it potato chip, corn chip, potsticker, or politician.

The potato chip offered in Ms. Clinton’s media appearance in which she vows to, in effect, overturn the Supreme Court’s decision over Citizens United is troubling in three basic ways. The first and most obvious is the mordant irony of a presidential nominee whose candidacy is the direct result of unlimited millions and millions of donor dollars rolling in from super-PACs, today decrying the role played by millions and millions of dollars rolling in from corporations and unions. While it can be argued quite fairly that these are not the same thing, that these are apples and those are oranges, one must also remember that the hand that writes the check from the pile of apples is more often than not the same one that has its fingers in the pile of oranges.

While this talk from Ms. Clinton is somewhat yesterday’s news from 2015, it is also today’s front page headlines. It must be. It has got to be headline news because among the vast swath of the disaffected and on the fence Bernie Sanders supporters, Ms. Clinton has got to sell them her potato chip. She has got to make his potato chip sound as though it is her own chip. By the millions, there are still millions of burned Bernies. Their skin is scorched; the little hairs on their forearms singed; their revolutionary minds are smoldering, if not still aflame.

To get them to buy her potato chip, she has got to offer them something that sounds like a replica of Mr. Sanders’ one-note exhortation throughout his honorable yet vestigial attempt to secure the Democratic nomination. Less money! No money! Money out of politics! Even though, as noted, Ms. Clinton’s presumptive nomination is a direct result of huge sluices filled with gobs and gobs of side-tracked money flowing to her campaign from all directions, from $33,000 dinner plates to similarly priced per capita fundraisers, her verbally disavowing the high stakes role big money plays in the presidential elections, is a salve to the spirit of the millions of sidelined grass-rootsy [sic] American folk, a poulstice on their wounds and bruises, especially the younger under 30 crowd, whose sense of betrayal, abandonment, and their probable ontological guilt of what-to-do pointlessness remains in many of them so itchy all over. As an anti-dote to their nagging consciences, this appeal might make them feel better about themselves again. Hey, she sounds like Bernie! So, I guess I can, despite my misgivings, I’ll vote for her. . .

These, however, are the lesser two of Ms. Clinton’s pandering and self-promoting evils. They are not surprising whatsoever. They are wholly to be expected. They are tactical. Calculated. Predictable. The third and most egregious problem is in the suggestion of the proposal itself. Not thirty days into office, Ms. Clinton is promising to change the U. S. Constitution. This is not just a rebuke to the political process of how laws, for better or for worse, come into being; it is to wipe it right off the table the paper and the document with her arm.

Supposing one feels that there is too much corporate money in politics, one may very well be supportive of what Ms. Clinton as president is declaring she would do within her first month in office. In spite of one’s feeling perhaps the rectitude of this, one must, in order to go along with this “feeling,” overlook a gross error within the mechanism behind what she is proposing. If, she is implying directly, a president does not favor a law which has passed through the review of the Supreme Court, and that law is found by the Court to be constitutional, she will take charge herself and seek to have the meaning of that Court’s holding obliterated.

Obviously, in the country’s past, the Supreme Court has found in its review laws constitutional which in later times were seen to be—gladly and thankfully—repugnant, embarrassing, foolish, reprehensible. Still, the process by which they came to be seen as such was largely through the same political process that had found their mistaken, short-sighted, and ill-advised holdings to have been constitutional in the first place. For the most part, they were undone by the same political process that made them.

Changing law through an immediate act of aggressive political or suggestive presidential fiat is not the way to go about making such change. That this particular issue might to some people pass muster because, in principle, they agree with it, is entirely besides the point. Its danger is that because the notion of limiting campaign financing seems to hold public approval in the way that mobs seem to generally approve of things, it conceals almost entirely the imperious intent Ms. Clinton has to push things whichever way she feels fit, with contempt and disregard for the process that brought such things—whatever they be—into existence, however odious they might in reality sometimes be; rather than allowing for the political system itself to democratically work some of its mis-guided or erroneous decisions out through the prescribed set of powers divided and allocated to the representative branches of government. Instead, she seeks, in effect, to amass all such powers, and would seek to execute them from the seat of the presidency itself.

Again, it might not be obvious because few persons would, on the face of things, be very agreeable to the continuance of huge amounts of money being funneled into presidential politics. That this be not right or that it be undesirable does not offset her underlying willfulness and her outspoken intent to walk into office, take a seat, and start off her administration by abusing in its core and in its political foundations the very system in place for creating or reviewing law. The danger is not in this particular proposal itself, which might very well be a good thing. Rather, the danger is the danger of precedent, the writing of whose presidential narrative would be like the ringing of a dinner bell for further actions to be taken in the future.

She may mean to be pleasing the people. She may mean to be pleasing the Bernie supporters. Tucked under her wing, however, is a barely concealed tyrannical disposition—nestled among the night’s soft feathers—that spells out with greater certainty an intention to disregard, upend, overturn, abuse, and blunt American Law.