Bob Franken


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Maybe it’s time for a civics lesson. In the United States of America, we elect officeholders. Those we choose have a specific term in office, during which they are supposed to make decisions. At the end of that cycle, they can run again if they want, and the voters can express whether they approve of the actions or whether to choose a replacement. In any case, the idea is to allow a full tour of duty for the victor to run things the way he or she thinks best. That’s how we’ve managed to maintain stability in our country all these centuries, just as the Founding Fathers designed.
They also provided an escape hatch to interrupt severe bad conduct. In extreme cases, an offender can be removed or his or her egregiously bad policies overturned. Also pretty cool. Or it would be were it not for the fact that all too many refuse to accept the ballot winners, immediately question their legitimacy and try to sabotage the winners along with any action they take, even after rigorous legislative debate. Putting it another way, we’ve become a nation of sore losers.
Let’s take gun control. In Colorado, the state legislature added some restrictions and responsibilities for the owners of deadly weapons — mild restrictions. Nevertheless, they infuriated those who have a passionate love affair with their rifles, pistols and ammo clips. So they have immediately started recall campaigns — encouraged, of course, by the National Rifle Association. The NRA believes the nation should be an armed camp and will try to destroy anyone who stands in the way. It’s also worth mentioning that the organization gets much of its funding from those who make and sell these munitions, but we all know that and simply accept the fact that they are able to use their ill-gotten gains and whip up enough gun owners to back recall drives to get rid of their adversaries. It’s easy to do. Too easy.
On the other side of the political spectrum we had Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker, who had just been elected when he took on organized labor, trying to relieve public employee unions of a huge amount of their bargaining power. After a sometimes-bizarre legislative battle, he succeeded. What did labor and the Democrats do? As we all know, they forced a recall election. Walker survived it, so nothing changed, but millions of dollars were spent.

Let’s not even get started about what’s happening in Washington, D.C. Actually, let’s, because it’s outrageous. Republicans refuse to accept the agony of defeat in the presidential race. They’ve decided to overlook the reality that their guy lost and Barack Obama won. To the victor go the spoils, remember? Except, the also-rans are acting like spoiled kids. They’re undermining the president of the United States every which way they can. Cabinet and department-head nominations are blocked routinely by filibusters and other parliamentary shenanigans. So are the judges the president wants to appoint. The opposition comes up with all kinds of contrived excuses. In the case of the judicial hopefuls, it usually has to do with their legal philosophies. It’s certainly true that most of them don’t match up with prevailing Republican viewpoints, but let’s say it again: Barack Obama won. The voters had ample opportunity to understand his perspectives about government and law.
We can see it in the run-up to the full unveiling of Obamacare, which passed after a full-fledged war. Now, Republicans are trying to gum up the works so the rollout is a huge embarrassment. It’s the same way they tried to block any cures for the fiscal catastrophe they caused. That didn’t work; the economy is improving. But the obstructionists are not. Their entire mission is to wrest back power, starting with the next election. But then it raises an intriguing question: Why bother with elections if no one will abide by them?

© 2013 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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