Lawmakers must do what is right, not what is politically correct
Today, members of Tennessee’s congressional delegation have a crucial duty. They along with the congressional delegations from the other 49 states must validate the state-certified results for the presidential election, safeguarding the orderly transition of power that lies at the heart of American democracy.
Both of Tennessee’s senators — Marsha Blackburn and newly-elected Bill Hagerty along with newly-elected First District Congresswoman Diane Harshberger have said they will join more than 100 House Republicans and a dozen Senate Republicans and challenge the electoral votes of at least one of the battlegrounds state.
Monday, Republican parties in several states had Ronna McDaniel, who chairs the Republican National Committee, deliver letters to Vice President Pence encouraging him to reject the legally selected electors from Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania.
We beg the question: Are these representatives and senators doing it because they are Republicans? Do they feel loyalty to President Donald Trump?
It does not surprise us that Tennessee’s Republican senators and Congressman Harshberger were quick to jump on Trump’s bandwagon to overturn the election results as Tennessee is about as red as it gets when it comes to politics.
Elections are how a democracy elects its leaders. In every election there is always a winner and a loser.
And, federal lawmakers — Republican or Democrat — need to understand their obligation to uphold the Constitution, putting duty to country above loyalty to their political party or a particular political figure.
If Congress were to vote to overturn the results certified by state authorities — a needless stunt doomed to fail — our country would take a dangerous step toward the type of anti-democratic machinations routinely seen in countries such as Russia, where electoral integrity is shamelessly sacrificed for the sake of preserving control by a political party.
It’s regrettable enough that, given our volatile political culture, all living former secretaries of defense felt compelled to sign a letter saying the military must stay out of political processes.
Today, Tennessee lawmakers must demonstrate that they understand their constitutional duty. Hysterical social media chatter, conspiracy mongering and partisan politics must not be allowed to circumvent the integrity of our nation’s electoral process.
Perhaps, there’s something to be learned from former Vice President Al Gore, when he conceded the election to President George W. Bush in 2000. He said: “Almost a century and a half ago, Senator Stephen Douglas told Abraham Lincoln, who had just defeated him for the presidency, ‘Partisan feeling must yield to patriotism. I’m with you, Mr. President, and God bless you.’
“Well, in that same spirit, I say to President-elect Bush that what remains of partisan rancor must now be put aside, and may God bless his stewardship of this country. Neither he nor I anticipated this long and difficult road. Certainly neither of us wanted it to happen. Yet it came, and now it has ended, resolved, as it must be resolved, through the honored institutions of our democracy.
“Over the library of one of our great law schools is inscribed the motto, ‘Not under man but under God and law.’ That’s the ruling principle of American freedom, the source of our democratic liberties. I’ve tried to make it my guide throughout this contest, as it has guided America’s deliberations of all the complex issues of the past five weeks.
“Now the U.S. Supreme Court has spoken. Let there be no doubt, while I strongly disagree with the court’s decision, I accept it. I accept the finality of this outcome.
“And tonight, for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession. I also accept my responsibility, which I will discharge unconditionally, to honor the new President-elect and do everything possible to help him bring Americans together in fulfillment of the great vision that our Declaration of Independence defines and that our Constitution affirms and defends.”
Al Gore lost the presidency — fair or unfairly. But, he was a gracious loser.