Thoughts On Humans #41 : Barbara Jordan

Barbara Jordan

1936-1996

Continuing the theme of disappointment in our government for the past few years, I have to mention the Republican hold on Congress that was finally alleviated in January.  I miss principled conservatism, Republicans who wanted the best for our country, even if they wanted to arrive at that goal in a different way from how I would want to.  I’m thinking of people like John McCain and my grandparents.  They were people who believed in fiscal conservatism and smaller federal government, but there was never a sense that they harbored resentment for those who did not share their politics.  I don’t know how we ended up in an America where those conservatives are silenced in favor of the obstructionist wing of the Republican Party.  These aren’t even Republicans in fact, but simply infiltrators who found it easier to rise to power through a hostile takeover of the Republican Party.  If they were truly Republicans, they would perform their function as a check against a president who is out of control.  There isn’t a need to oppose the president for everything, but when he is clearly out of line and acting beyond his role as the people’s representative, he needs Congress to remind him of his place.  We currently have a man in power who sees himself either as dictator or CEO of America.  Neither is an appropriate analogy.  The government works for the people, and Congress is equal to the president.  He is not their boss.  I look forward to getting back to the way things should be.

We have had out of control presidents before, and those presidents received their push back.  Most famously, Nixon believed himself to be above the law and acted outside of it.  At that time, there were members of Congress who stood up and fought back.  Barbara Jordan, representative from Texas was one of these American heroes.  She was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement and a giant of the House.  But one of my favorite things about Jordan was her statement about impeachment, delivered in 1974.  She so clearly articulates what impeachment is and is not, and makes a strong case for impeaching Nixon.  It feels incredibly relevant today.

Also noteworthy, and fantastic, is Barbara Jordan’s keynote speech at the 1976 Democratic National Convention.

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