Sunday, May 08, 2005
If George W. Bush had said it...: Sen. Chuck Schumer on "Fox News Sunday" had the following to say when outlining why "democracy" in America is under attack:
What's happened is that a number of extreme groups have attacked judges, almost threatened them. For instance, Pat Robertson said judges are worse than terrorists who fly buildings into airplanes...
Yes, that quote is 100 percent accurate -- flying buildings into airplanes. If President Bush had made this verbal stumble, the loonies on the left would be giggling like little schoolgirls. But we know Schumer's a smart guy, so his gaffe will be forgiven...
...after I roll on the floor a few times.
Just for the record, I'm not sure that Robertson's actual statement is all that outrageous -- certainly no more outrageous than anything said by Ward Churchill, Susan Sontag or Noam Chomsky -- I know I'm setting the bar quite low -- that is defended as noble, free speech by the likes of Schumer's constituents.
I think the gradual erosion of the consensus that's held our coutry together is probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings.
Robertson is making the argument that activist judges (read that as legislators in black robes) are a greater threat to our democracy then the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11. As I pointed out a couple of months ago, if the Congress is prohibited from reigning in the judiciary -- despite the clear "check" the Constitution gives the legislative branch -- then what we really have in America is not much different than Iran's "democracy," where the legislative and executive branches are allowed to make laws as long as they don't offend the reigning mullahs.
If all of that is true -- and I don't believe it is, yet -- then surely this oligarchy is a greater threat to democracy than foreign terrorists. Terrorists are a threat to our safety, but they can do little to truly bring down our democracy -- despite the breathless calls of "If we do A" or "If we don't do B" the "terrorists will have won."
And what about the idea of consensus among Americans? Roe v. Wade is the perfect example of judges tearing apart the social fabric of America. It's clear that most Americans think there should be limits on abortion. The exact limitations are something that would have been properly hashed out in legislatures across this country. Instead, we're the only nation to have abortion-on-demand (except maybe China where it's really: "We demand you have an abortion) right up to birth because seven judges found a "right" in the Constitution that had never been there before.
Is there really any serious debate that the politics and rhetoric over abortion would be several decibels lower if the opinions of that vast middle on the issue was where the law was?