By Nina May
Now that the dust has cleared, we can examine what the unruly gang of GOP members demanded from Rep. Kevin McCarthy and why their stand is ultimately good for democracy.
The less than a week-long raucous debate on the House floor stood in stark contrast to the sanitized and orchestrated January 6th committee hearing that the networks fed the nation for months.
Everyone knew the J6 was a show trial, an echo chamber of people with a set narrative. The real purpose of the show trial was not to get to the bottom of what happened that day.
The J6 hearings were conducted to seduce the American people into believing it was the fair way to get to the truth about what happened. In reality, it was the opposite of truth finding. Only allow witnesses that can reinforce your position. Only show evidence that proves your point. Only let one hand-picked producer have access to 14 hours of security tape to help make your fabricated case.
The speaker debate, in contrast, was refreshing on all counts because it was a pure reflection of a democratic republic. The descent reflected what America was created to be and will cease being if we silence this type of raucous interplay by our elected officials. They were all doing what they knew they had been elected to do. They work for their constituents, not the Republican Party, not the speaker of the House and certainly not the president.
The first couple of days of flying spitballs and rotten tomatoes caught America off balance because we only read about that kind of conflict in the history books. Truly dark days in the halls of congress were when Preston Brooks stormed from the House side to the Senate side with his ire directed at Senator Charles Sumner, one of the founders of the Republican Party. Sumner was also an outspoken abolitionist and spoke against slavery every chance he got. His anti-slavery speech ticked off Democrat Preston. Preston stormed into the Senate chamber and began whacking Sumner over the head with his weighted cane that he used to hit people who opposed slavery. He almost killed Sumner while Democrats stood around applauding.
The bright days in the halls of congress are those when debate is applauded. We are used to seeing the manicured and scrubbed tyranny of leaders who control with an iron fist, with absolute compliance and a healthy dose of fear for challenging the party leaders.
Where there is no conflict, there is no liberty, but where there is liberty, there is great debate and discussion about everything all the time.
The debate was democracy in action, a front-row seat to the making of sausage, and from that point on, what we thought was the real paradigm of governance would be turned on its head.
The challenge for the speaker displayed for all to see the age-old battle of freedom versus oppression, rights versus privilege.
National news networks tried to write their narratives. They trotted out their paid talking heads to regurgitate the same talking points that anarchy, not democracy, was on display. While Democrats mocked Republicans, you can be sure that they secretly wished they had the freedom to question their self-appointed leaders and offer suggestions to help their constituents.
The concessions that the unruly band of malcontents fought for, are not so outrageous after all.
Each duly elected Republican can “motion to vacate” or challenge the speaker and begin proceedings to remove him as their leader.
The Holman rule was reinstated. The rule gives members of Congress the power to propose amendments to spending bills to cut a federal bureaucrat’s salary and to cut spending on specific programs.
The 12 appropriation bills will receive a separate vote. They will not be grouped in a mammoth omnibus spending bill.
To balance the federal budget within 10 years, discretionary domestic and defense spending was capped to levels they were at the beginning of the Biden administration.
In a concern for individual privacy, a committee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government was formed to study how the executive branch of government collects information, investigates citizens of the United States, and shares that information with private organizations.
House members are given at least 72 hours to read bills before votes.
In the end, those whose party vilified them for standing on principle proved that spirited debate is healthy for the life of democracy. They will be remembered with the remnants of many other historical battles as the ones who didn’t blink, back down, cower or capitulate.
They were the ones who stood firm in the face of total annihilation and did what their conscience entreated them to do. History will remember them for this battle because they have distinguished themselves as the true, loyal, worthy opposition.
And who doesn’t like a good food fight every now and then? Certainly more entertaining than the dishonest ramblings of a manufactured Star Chamber show trial.