Connecting The Dots

What follows is a portion of Robert Hubbell’s newsletter from yesterday, looking back at last week and connecting the dots to see the broader picture.

A Reflection On Last Week

Robert E. Hubbell

10 April 2023

Tonight, I offer a reflection on last week—and a suggestion about how we must respond. We went into last week expecting the news to be dominated by Trump’s arraignment. It was—until the GOP-controlled legislature in Tennessee expelled two young Black Representatives for protesting briefly in the well of the assembly. We then received the report of Pro Publica outlining the manifest corruption of Justice Thomas by Texas millionaire and Hitler memorabilia collector Harlan Crow. And then Judge Kacsmaryk issued a thinly disguised religious fiat banning mifepristone for women across America.

Each of the above events demonstrates the GOP’s efforts to achieve its goals by breaking the democracy that guarantees their liberties in the first instance. But we must now add to the sad litany a new item—Governor Greg Abbott’s pre-emptive announcement that he will pardon a Texas man convicted of murder after a jury trial. At trial, the defendant was able to present his argument that he acted in self-defense. The jury rejected that claim and voted unanimously to convict him of murder.

Why does Abbott believe that he is justified in pardoning the murderer even before appeals have been heard? Abbott is, after all, substituting his judgment for that of the jurors who heard the evidence first-hand. Abbot believes the defendant is innocent of murder because he killed a “BLM” protester.

That’s right: Governor Abbott has established a new rule that laws do not apply equally to people protesting police killings and right-wing extremists who are upset by the protests. In a single act, Abbott has altered the law in Texas, demoted protestors demanding justice to second-class status, and told Texas jurors that their voices do not matter when MAGA extremists are on trial. In short, “self-defense” is a MAGA “get out of jail free” card under Greg Abbott’s reign in Texas.

Together, these four instances illustrate a strategy the GOP learned from Trump: If the democratic system does not produce the result you want, then break democracy to obtain a different result.[Emphasis added] That is what the Tennessee legislators did to Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, that is what religious zealots did to all Americans, that is what monied interests did in bending the Supreme Court to do the bidding of the privileged and elite, and that is what Greg Abbott has done in summarily overturning a jury verdict that flies in the face of the facts.

We have been confronting this asymmetry from the very moment Trump announced his bid in 2016, and it has worsened over time. As Democrats toil within the system to forge compromises over competing policies, Republicans break the system to get their way. They simply ignore it (McConnell on Merrick Garland’s nomination), they deny it (outcomes of elections), they falsify it (fake electors), they rig the judicial system to guarantee assignment of cases to a sympathetic federal judge (Kacsmaryk), and they attempt to stop its operation through violence (J6).

There have been scattered calls for Democrats to employ similar tactics. Indeed, some are calling for the federal government to ignore Judge Kacsmaryk’s order if it is not stayed by the 5th Circuit or the Supreme Court. To state the obvious, to do so would amount to “breaking democracy” simply because we don’t like the result. We must not give in to the temptation to adopt the GOP’s anti-democratic tactics. We must fight our battle of resistance from within the walls and ramparts of democracy if we have any hope of saving it.

The truth is that the rule of law continues to exist in America today because one of America’s major political parties remains committed to upholding that rule—despite the efforts of the other party to destroy it. If both parties feel emboldened to ignore the rule of law, our democracy will be gone. All that will be left is a contest of brute force in which dark money will substitute for violence.

I do not believe we will reach that point. I have faith that Democrats will do the right thing despite legitimate feelings of anger, hurt, and despair. In each of the four situations described above, there is a democratic path forward to correct the result. It will not be easy, and we may not succeed entirely. But so long as we have a path forward, we should not set aside our great charter and the laws that give it life. It has endured for more than two centuries during equally trying times; we can make it through the present challenges, as well.

26 thoughts on “Connecting The Dots

  1. Jill, I appreciate Mr. Hubbell’s perspective, but …

    He writes:: If both parties feel emboldened to ignore the rule of law, our democracy will be gone. I most definitely agree in principle. But at the same time, I worry that if the Dems continue to “fight the good fight” with honor and decorum, the end result may not be as positive as many of us hope. No, I don’t wish to see a down and dirty political melee, but I can’t help but wonder just how much has been accomplished by the current administration’s attempts to uphold the standards of propriety.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I see your point, but have to stick with Hubbell’s view … we simply cannot regress to a nation where there is no law, no order, no justice. The Republicans must be stopped, yes, but not by getting down in the mud and wrestling claw-to-claw. Sigh. It’s tough, but we must be the “better angels” as Keith says. We must fight through the courts, through restoration of voting rights for ALL … only then will we achieve a nation of equality, of that famed “liberty and justice for all.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t support, nor am I suggesting, mud-fighting! What I am saying is that to allow someone to continue to slap you across the face just to maintain a certain level of decorum (liberty and justice) is, IMO, not doing anyone any good. Maybe Biden needs to show some emotion … a little anger, perhaps … at some of the ridiculous moves the Repugs are pushing. That’s all I’m saying.

        While “fighting fair” is all well and good … it oftentimes allows the opposition to kick you in the butt while you stand there and smile and say “naughty, naughty.”

        Liked by 1 person

        • I agree fully that we must stop sitting back and taking it. I just don’t know how to fight the corruption and evil that has become the Republican Party. There must be some point at which the good people of this nation say, “Alright, that is ENOUGH … we aren’t gonna take this shit any longer!!!”


  2. And, because the Republican Party members, blindly, support their, party-affiliated, officials, they lacked the sense to tell right from wrong. This is happening, all over the world right now, and, no matter how we the people tried our best, to vote them all, out of office, we couldn’t, because these corrupted political parties had, infiltrated into, other aspects of our, countries, like in the economic growth sectors. There’s just NO end to this!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Another set of floundering steps by the White Privilege caucus.
    But this is not the 1920s. The opposition folk whose nerves and restrains are being scrapped raw will decide they know where to go next.
    MAGA thinks it is ready. It will not be. They never are.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Joe Biden over in Northern Ireland for the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement (the fragile ceasefire which thankfully still holds, just).
        Americans would do well to consider the previous 25+ years in Northern Ireland and consider that the irresponsible folk of the Republican Right could lead them down that road.
        It would have been an ideal time for one of the mature TV networks to have run a ‘Could It Happen Here?’ documentary.

        Liked by 1 person

        • You’re so very right, and I imagine Biden considers that from time to time, too. But, the ‘right’ seem not to care about the future of this nation, seem to care only about gaining power and wealth in the immediate future. I do like your idea of a “Could It Happen Here” documentary!

          Liked by 1 person

          • There have been a few articles on the subject. I used one from the Guardian as part of a post back in May last year on ‘my other’ site.
            These people are not American patriots, they care not for the nation as a whole. If this goes to the proverbial worst case scenario; History will judge them harshly. The majority of the living will curse them and their remaining supporters.

            Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know, my friend. Greed, racism and other forms of bigotry … It seems that today the Republican Party is on a course to overthrow democracy and turn this country into something I cannot live under.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Connecting The Dots | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

  5. It would be okay to stand on the side of democracy IF DEMOCRACY WOULD DO ITS JOB! But democracy is not doing its job. The leaders of the J6 attempt to overturn an election are not only NOT IN JAIL, but some of them are still sitting in Congress, sucking on the public teat, while doing nothing to further the cause of democracy. They are in fact fighting to execute democracy!
    I am not in favour of war, or intentionally killing those who are destroying democracy, but if something is not done SOON to save democracy there will be nothing to save.
    The best way to stop a forest fire, dumb as it sounds, is to start a controlled fire to burn the fuel that the forest fire would devour. If the forest fire has no fuel, it dies.
    Republicans are betting on Democrats not fighting fire with fire, leaving them to freely destroy democracy. How does it help if you use words against bullets? Someone somewhere has to find a way to take the fuel out of the Republican’s fight. Trying to do it at the ballot box is not working very well!

    Liked by 4 people

      • The Republicans gave no idea what could be coming, They cannot see past their their noses what the consequences of their actions will be. Their game is to own the Libs, and install xianity as the state religion. They have no foresight. They think they can control the masses the way the Church used to in medieval times.
        They are wrong, of course. But by the time they realize that, the world will have changed into something unforeseeable from even our present. It might even end up being something better than we have… But more likely it will end up something worse, and that won’t be good for anyone… including them!

        Liked by 2 people

        • Interesting aspect you mentioned there about The Medieval Church, to compare with these times.
          There was often conflict between Church and State (ie The King). Popes in particular being pawns, only in the game of international chess it was they who were to be captured.
          The peasantry were often known to turn against the Church if it concentrated on squeezing them for rents, lands.
          It frequently riven at times with its own internal arguments.
          The current Evangelical caucus in the US are on a fragile ground, their hyperbolic statements are a breeding ground for internecine schisms.
          The American Right won’t of course, but would do well to read Histories beyond their own childish and petulant attempts to redraft it. As you point out rawgod, the warnings are there.
          Like other extremists, they will go down. How that happens is the worrying question, innocents could suffer.

          Liked by 1 person

    • You are right … far too many, perhaps most, Republicans in this nation today are working against democratic notions and attempting to replace our government with an autocracy, perhaps even a theocracy.

      I somewhat agree with you on fighting fire with fire, but it’s a dangerous game and I’m not sure we have the leaders capable of carrying it out responsibly. The ballot box would work just fine if it weren’t for unfair gerrymandering and for Republicans’ attempts to stifle our votes.


      • I know if Democrats were gerrymandering multiple states to prevent Republicans from being elected, they would be screaming about it. Democrats are barely whispering. Why aren’t they screaming? Why aren’t they fighting this tactic in the court of public opinion!
        Republicans are lying their heads off about what they are tell8ng their voters, a la the stolen election. The Democrats should be loudly challenging any attempt to fool the voting public.
        I don’t mind the Democrats not sinking to the level of what the Republicans are doing, but to sit in silence and let the Republicans willy-nilly screw them, that needs to be changed! If the Democrats don’t speak up for regular, WHO WILL?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh hell yeah … they’d be filing lawsuits left and right! I don’t know why the Democrats aren’t doing more to stop the madness that is gerrymandering, rg. They haven’t taken me into their confidence. As for who will speak up for the average John Doe … I’m thinking it’s going to be the young people who do, if anybody does. Meanwhile, the Republicans continue to play dirty pool, the rich get richer, and the rest of us get … well, you know.


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