Recently Rep. Jim Clyburne (D-SC) claimed that Sen. Joe Machin’s refusal to scuttle the filibuster and sign off on HR-1, which would federalize elections and make voter fraud easier than ever, was a direct attack on our democracy and akin to the process that led to the fall of Rome.
For this seemingly erudite comparison, he was lauded by the media suck-ups for providing proper historical context to the perfidy of Manchin’s malign actions.
I know our schools don’t really teach history anymore, but now I have solid proof of it!
What Manchin did was precisely the opposite of what led to the fall of Rome, inasmuch as it came about through political disintegration. By refusing to tear down a long-established mechanism in the Senate (the filibuster has been around for 200 years) to ensure a check against mob rule and the tyranny of the majority, Machin was preserving the fundamental principle of the checks and balances established by our constitution and subsequent parliamentary procedure.
Until November of 2020, in fact, Democrats were very passionate defenders of the filibuster. Sen. Dick Durbin (D) from Illinois said in 2018, when Republicans still controlled the Senate and House, “I can tell you that [ending the filibuster] would be the end of the Senate as it was originally devised and created going back to our Founding Fathers. We have to acknowledge our respect for the minority, and that is what the Senate tries to do in its composition and in its procedure.”
In fact, the filibuster was used in ancient Rome by Cato the Younger to resist the power grabs of Julius Caesar, who succeeded in transforming the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire by weakening the power of the Roman senate and instituting the permanent dictatorial powers of the emperor. This usurpation of one of the key founding principles of the Roman Republic not only ushered in the death of republican governance, which had lasted for nearly 500 years, but also put in place the forces that ultimately led to Rome’s fall 400 years later.
You see, Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor did it fall in a week. It took centuries and a multiplicity of forces to finally end the nearly one-thousand year reign of this most powerful ancient city state. One of the main forces of that demise was the gradual dismantlement of the foundational principles of republican government, up to and including the filibuster.
And indeed, the imperial forces in Rome continued their efforts to weaken the senate by gradually removing the various procedures, precedents, and mechanisms that made Rome great in the first place.
This was combined with a gradual and continuing decadence of Roman society, which after becoming rich and powerful, slowly sank into greater and greater moral depravity. The great virtues of sacrifice, family, and hard work were replaced by selfishness, pleasure seeking, and laziness.
Although Rome’s fall was precipitated to an extent by barbarian invasions and attacks, she had always faced such threats and in the past was able to fend them off. But as the structures of the state and society were weakened by corruption, it could no longer defend itself and did eventually, after many centuries, whither away.
Which party seems to be bringing about such decline in our own country? The one which wants to trash the filibuster, pack the Supreme Court, weaken election integrity, banish the electoral college, limit if not eliminate certain constitutional rights, and generally accrue ever more power to the federal government?
Or the party which seeks to affirm constitutional and traditional governmental principles, restrict government power, embolden personal liberty, and ensure the constitutionality of new legislative initiatives?
The latter, of course, are the Republicans, and they are now joined by one single Democrat who sees the stormy waters of true democratic chaos on the other side of the various proposals put forth by the Biden administration and the congressional Democrats, even though they won power over the executive and legislative branches with thin majorities and little to no mandate for the kind of massive changes they are seeking to impose on this country.
So no, Rep. Clyburne, Sen. Manchin is not ushering in the fall of the American Republic as did the corrupt politicians of latter centuries of the Roman Empire. He is in fact holding back, single-handedly, the kind of chaos and destruction that will surely be upon us if our country ceases to uphold its hallowed traditions of representative, limited government with checks and balances to preserve the rights and interests of political minorities.
The Democrats seemed to embrace this idea when they were in the minority. Their sudden and vicious turn against those same notions now that they have a bare majority speaks to the depravity and shamelessness of both their character and their policies.
Yes, yes I know many readers will be saying, “But Trump!” Sure, he said many foolish things and encouraged many foolish things, but his more extreme antics were not supported by the Republican Party in general, and his more prosaic challenges to constitutional norms were rightly and properly curtailed by the judicial branch.
The Democrats, on the other hand, seem strangely and sadly united in their desire to dismantle various impediments to the tyranny of the majority because they know they only have a small window of opportunity to put our country in a chokehold of progressive wokeism, one which was created by the blowback to Trump’s personal excesses (not his policies), not by popular support for Democratic policies.
Alas, all would be relatively well if both sides just played by the same rules and agreed that whatever resulted would be accepted. But that unifying conceit has been thrown out the window and now we indeed do face the fall of our own dear republic unless we can resist the firestorm of Democratic attacks. Isn’t it ironic that that resistance now comes from one of the Democrat’s own?
I pray for Joe Manchin and hope he can withstand the slings and arrows, the angry condemnations and personal attacks by his own party members. He is a man who is willing to sacrifice, like the noble Romans of old, in order to defend a country he loves while those who hate it seek its destruction.
Peachtree City, Ga.