In many states and many places people believe that elections are the only time participation is required in a Democracy. You show up, you vote, you wash your hands of it until they bother you again. Many citizens vote the way many loosely-affiliated Christians trek over to the local church once on Christmas and again on Easter. Check the block. Move on with life. Never mind that you are being robbed blind and governed dishonestly as soon as your back is turned.
Fortunately for us, regrettably for Republican Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, not all Americans have degenerated into Amerikans. Quite a few people in Alabama found the time and volition to turn away from another riveting episode of SpongeBob. It seems they are engaged in behavior hostile to the continued cavorting of our disingenuous politicians. Fortunately, the GOP rank and file in Alabama did not take kindly to Senator Shelby’s having announced his support of Secretary of Defense nominee and former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel.
You see, according to Senator Shelby,
"He was a pretty good Senator," Shelby said. "I don't like a lot of things he's said, but you've got to think who would come after him."
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Bad nominee sucks less than whoever Obama would nominate next. Senator Shelby is voting for Chuck Hagel because the alternative is probably Meatwad* from The Aqua-Teen Hunger Force. Give it up, Jake. It’s Obamatown.
But Republican constituents are not accepting Senator Shelby’s capitulation. The State steering committee has apparently gotten quite the earful. It apparently hasn’t been a joyful noise. They’ve even taken the rare step of passing a resolution asking Shelby to retract his position before it hangs out there in public and embarrasses other Republicans.
Sen. Richard Shelby to “reconsider and reverse his decision to support Senator [Chuck] Hagel to be Secretary of Defense.” The resolution, passed early this afternoon, blasts Hagel for statements “favorable toward” countries “that we believe to be enemies of the United States of America,” and also criticizes him for “not being a supporter of Israel, the only dependable ally the United States of America has in that part of the world.” It notes, too, that “many Alabama citizens have expressed outrage at Senator Shelby’s decision.”
The citizens are awake. It’s not quite bedtime for democracy down here.
“It has been an outpouring from people across the state,” State Republican Chairman Bill Armistead told me. “There have been phone calls from a lot of people, plus we’ve all been approached by people we know at churches and in our communities. I haven’t seen anything this strong in opposition to something done by one of our representatives in Congress in a long time.”
Oh, and remember how dead The Tea Party was? They apparently were struck by lightning and revived by the recent nominations of Chuck Hagel and Jack Lew.
This is not totally surprising; given the dependence many people in Alabama have on Redstone Arsenal and Ft. Rucker. Yet it still ranks as one of the better pieces of news I’ve read in a few days. People are motivated. People are participating. We can still try. That means Senator Shelby doesn’t get a free six-year Hall Pass just because he wins perpetual reelection in a one party Republican State. This means American voters are doing their jobs. Fight on, Americans! Keep them accountable.
*-That’s nerd humor. It in no way implicates Congressman Nadler from New York.