The Fourth of July is easy; it’s the Fifth, Sixth and there after that are more challenging


Rev. Peter E. Bauer

United Church of Christ minister

We just recently observed again the Fourth Of July, the founding of our American Republic. Many people celebrated with parades, readings of the Declaration Of Independence, picnics, barbecues, and fireworks. The Fourth Of July is pretty easy to like, after all it’s a holiday, a day off from work, a time to be with family and friends.

The Fourth Of July is about celebrating political independence but it is also about commemorating and preserving democracy.

Benjamin Franklin said after signing the Declaration of Independence, when asked what kind of government had been created, he replied “A Republic if you can keep it.”

Franklin’s observation reminds us that our system of governance is fragile. There are always threats, always attempts where others, either internally or externally, will attempt to thwart freedom for all people.

The Supreme Court on June 27 2023 by a vote of 6-3 rejected “the independent state legislature theory” that would have given states almost unlimited power to establish federal election rules, while also allowing them to draw congressional maps with partisan gerrymandering.

“The Constitution does not exempt state legislatures from the ordinary constraints imposed by state law,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his majority opinion.

Proponents of “independent state theory” wanted to focus on the elections clause, which states that the “times, places and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof. No other bodies or individuals can intrude into the authority of the state legislature” (San Antonio Express editorial “Supreme Court Ruling Shields Democracy,” July 5).

This is bad legislation which allows the voices of a few to dictate terms and polices for the many. This would have amounted to a judicial hijacking of the American belief that all have freedom and the right to self-determination to elect leaders and officials per the laws of a constitutional government.

One wonders what Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (the Notorious RBG) would have thought regarding this Supreme Court case.

Sadly, we have witnessed attempts here in Texas, Arizona, North Carolina and elsewhere where attempts were made to overturn the 2020 Presidential election results. I don’t believe that this is a good trend for the United States. This kind of judicial chicanery is something you might expect to see in South America or in other areas of the world where tyrants are desperate to hold onto to power, but not something you would expect to see in America.

The Fourth Of July has been commemorated once again, and now the real work begins,

What will we do to ensure that Democracy continues to survive and that it can thrive to benefit all of us.

Do we want a system of governance that respects, supports and affirms the rights and the dignity of all people or do we turn the other way and allow the system of “the worst government that money can buy” to flourish?

It’s up to us.

May the light reveal the path to Democracy always.

May it be so.

Rev. Peter E. Bauer has been a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and Medium.Com.


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