Bob Franken




Surely you have heard complaints before about how holidays like Memorial Day are treated as just another day off. That we don’t give much thought to what the day means commemorating the millions of Americans who have lost their lives defending this country in wartime.
As commander in chief, the president must send soldiers into harm’s way, some never to return. Joe Biden did not lose a child in combat, but he certainly knows the intense agony of outliving a son or daughter. His son Beau Biden succumbed to brain cancer. “I know how much the loss hurts,” Biden said to Gold Star parents. “They’re the guardians of us, and we’re the guardians of their legacy.”
Another president, Abraham Lincoln, summed up their legacy in his Gettysburg Address this way: “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”
The mechanism for that is the vote. Our founders left us an imperfect election system; only white men started out with voting rights. It took a bloody civil war to free slaves to participate, and then that promise was broken. Strict Jim Crow laws denied Black people the right to partake in the exquisite fruit of democracy, the vote. Then a century passed before Jim Crow blockades were dismantled. Before then women were granted suffrage, and our nation has not been suicidal enough to attempt to reverse that. But when it comes to minorities and other have-nots, there is a direct and successful attack on the fundamental ingredient of that democracy. That fundamental ingredient is the election. It defines the United States.
Regressive’s claim that they are making polling less fraudulent, but that’s a fraud. In fact, the Republican Party has betrayed the millions of troops who have given their lives to protect our elections.

“One man, one vote” has given way to one man, Donald Trump, the former president, who has paralyzed the GOP as a political party and turned it into an instrument of his authoritarian whims. His blatant lies have led the party, which historically was the anti-slavery leader. These days it is the institution that has taken us much of the way back toward re-establishing Jim Crow voting rules in Georgia, Florida and now Texas, wherever the Republicans hold power.
Actually, though, through some dramatic Democratic Party maneuvering, the changes in Texas have been delayed a little bit. Statehouse Democrats suddenly walked off the floor and literally fled the state Capitol building in Austin. They left the state House of Representatives without a quorum, which is a temporary procedural impediment to passing voting restrictions which deny fundamental rights. There are ways to get around quorum requirements, and GOP Gov. Greg Abbott is already announcing his intention of doing just that.
But it’s Donald Trump who apparently won’t be satisfied until he has swept away basic guarantees and will then take over in what amounts to a bloodless coup with him as our leader. He’s really shameless about it. His insistence about having the election stolen from him flies right in the face of all the evidence. But so many of his millions of supporters lost all rational judgement, that thousands of them stormed the United States Capitol and trashed the building — and trashed democracy in the process.
Now the Republicans in Congress, who feigned such outrage at Jan. 6, have joined Trump in his lies. They cravenly refused to investigate how the mob pulled off their insurrection. Why? Because the mob was them, a bunch of frightened mice. Where once they were proud men and women, they have become willing participants in the doublecross of all who fought and died for the ideals that turned out to be a big lie. As Biden warned on Memorial Day, “Democracy itself is at peril.” Turns out all those heroes of war were sold a Republican con.

© 2021 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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