If you read the news, you would think the American Constitutional Republic is in danger of collapse. All this fear is in the wake of the Speaker’s chair being vacated. Let’s “get a grip” with a few facts.
First, fear sells news.
Second, fear of our Republic dying sells news.
Third, fear gets your attention in an election season.
Headlines that scream our democracy is in trouble are wrong. We are not a democracy. The USA is a Constitutional Republic. We have a pool of talented people ready, willing, and able to pick up the Speaker of the House mantle and go with it. As a matter of fact, back on January 6, 2023, we talked about how the U.S. Constitution does not require that the Speaker be an elected member of Congress at all! This means the door is wide open for potential candidates to run for the Speaker’s chair.
Undoubtedly, it’s easy for us to get into a political discussion about the personalities involved in this sudden turn of events. However, we don’t do personalities or politics here. Common Sense Civics and Citizenship discusses principles. So, we will avoid the ins and outs of power struggles. You and I must ask, “How does this issue resolve itself?”
Amazingly, I read that this has NEVER happened before. Actually, history records this very thing happening in 1910 (Speaker Joseph G. Cannon; the vote to vacate the chair was defeated). Our Republic survived. When I read that this latest career-ending squabble is a historical first, I immediately thought of the duels that used to occur to settle disputes.
As a matter of fact, America survived famous and infamous duels. Vice President Aaron Burr, anyone? Or his political enemy, Alexander Hamilton? Or how about the former senator and representative (and years later, seventh U.S. President) Andrew Jackson? He faced off against sure-shot Charles Dickinson. Who remembers that Abraham Lincoln and his opponent, James Shields, fortunately, settled their longstanding issues before their scheduled duel? One man later became our 16th U.S. President; the other, a U.S. Senator.
In fact, all of these men were political enemies whose disdain for each other spilled over into other areas of life. Our Republic went on, even electing them to higher office.
Over the years, many angry altercations have taken place in the halls of Congress in the life of our country. We survived. Our Republic is not determined by an individual’s hot temper. Our Republic survives by the eternal vigilance and the will of We the People.
Furthermore, there is a timetable to fill the Speaker’s chair. The various candidates for Speaker will make their pitch to the prevailing leadership party in the House of Representatives. The next day, the voting will begin.
We survived the Brits, duels, brawls, and more. We will survive this, too.
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship. 🇺🇸
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