Monday, February 28, 2011

AWOL Democrats Defy Ballot Box

American-style democracy holds together because no matter how nasty the political game gets, the players honor a few inviolable rules. We obey the laws, even the ones we disagree with. We respect the ballot box. And after even the most bitterly contested election, the loser accepts the results, works within the system and awaits another chance to prevail with voters.

These guidelines kept the nation from shearing apart in 2000, when supporters of Al Gore (wrongly) believed the presidential election was stolen by George W. Bush. A tense period of uncertainty ended when Gore, in perhaps his finest moment, conceded and urged his backers to work to heal the country.

But what's happening in Wisconsin and Indiana breaks that tradition and puts a crack in our democratic foundation.

Democrats in those states, as in most others, were shellacked in legislative races last fall, giving Republicans majority control of their legislatures.

Republicans interpreted their overwhelming victories as a mandate to change the course of the states. Specifically, they set about undoing decades of laws put in place by Democrats to favor labor unions over taxpayers.

Instead of staying on the field to defend their positions, Democratic lawmakers in both states fled to neighboring Illinois, where they hope to win with their absence what they couldn't at the ballot box — namely, the right to control policymaking. (emphasis mine)

Read the full article here.

No comments: