Editorial: The irredeemable and the indispensable

photo by: Journal-World Photo Illustration

Lawrence Journal-World Editorial

The election results aren’t quite done yet.

No, this isn’t about whether Joe Biden is going to be president. If anyone is ever going to get tired of winning, it will be Biden. He wins in the popular vote, he wins in the electoral vote, he wins in the courts, he wins when you count the votes in English, he wins when you count the votes in Spanish, he wins, he wins, he wins.

No, the results that are still piling in count who is irredeemable and indispensable. The tallies on both sides are significant.

First, the indispensable. Those include every judge and justice who struck down lawsuits challenging the legitimacy of the election because there was no credible evidence to support the claims of widespread fraud or conspiracy. Those indispensable servants of the public include every justice of the Supreme Court appointed by President Donald Trump and several lower court judges who were appointed by him as well.

Perhaps the most important result from this election is that Americans can disagree on tremendously important issues — guns, abortion and many others — yet still agree on the bedrock principles that the country was built upon. Judges throughout the system protected the fundamentals of democracy and a peaceful transfer of power, which continues to be the defining trait that makes America the greatest country in the world.

This current U.S. Supreme Court will disappoint, frustrate and infuriate liberals on many occasions. But liberals should think long and hard about demonizing those members ever again. The justices and liberals have different views, but not different allegiances.

Now, the irredeemable. Any person in a position of political power or leadership who made claims of election fraud without evidence should be written off — not as humans, mind you, but as political leaders and servants of the republic. Some acts cannot be forgiven. Willfully damaging the foundation of our country for naked political gain is one such act.

The list of leaders who have done that is depressingly long, and the most egregious are well known. Of course President Trump is at the top of the list, but little more needs to be said about him. The most important fact to remember about the president is that there soon will be a day in this newspaper where the word “Trump” most frequently will be used in the bridge column. Sometimes the best way to squelch a fire is to deprive it of fuel.

Instead, we should focus on important change that is within our grasp. This election can be significant for more than just ending the Trump presidency. It can be the beginning of a new era of moderation. There are Republican leaders who are appalled by how some of their fellow members so casually tried to delegitimize the election results out of fealty to a single man.

Democrats — led by Biden, a man of true moderation — now must work to form not a new party with these Republicans, but rather a new coalition. The idea of a true, third, meaningful political party is still a long ways off in America. Instead, moderates in each party should keep their labels of “D” and “R” and agree to focus less on that which they disagree about and more on their commonalities.

They could go so far as to formalize their coalition. They could call themselves the Foundationalists, in reference to a belief in the foundational principles upon which the country was built. Yes, those will have to be defined, but now it is probably easier to define what the group won’t be about. There won’t be litmus tests on abortion, guns, tax policy or the evilness of corporate America for example. Those are important issues, but not building blocks of our country’s foundation.

This recent election showed that a political rot that has been ripening for decades has sunk into our foundation. Principled men and women can halt its advance. It starts with Republicans saying they are under no obligation to support fascists, and, yes, Democrats are under no obligation to support socialists. Bet on the belief that America wants neither.

Then, those principled men and women must do the unthinkable in today’s political world: work together. Leave their differences on mere causes at the door, and focus on the doable. Produce results. Results will rid us of the rot.

America’s putrid politics can change, and it will do so one positive result at a time.

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