Proud to break the rules?
Most of us have been in line at the grocery store, wishing people ahead of us would get moving, I suspect. Can’t they tell we’re in a real hurry?
But we don’t push ahead of them. The rules are that we wait our turns. We follow them and other rules of daily life, because, if too many people started breaking the rules, our society would degenerate into survival-of-the-fittest chaos.
Things seem to be moving that way in Washington, D.C. There, a U.S. senator, Democrat Cory Booker of New Jersey, bragged about breaking a rule Thursday — then dared anyone to do something about it.
Booker is among Democrats on the Judiciary Committee who have been engaging in guerrilla politics to delay a confirmation vote on Judge Brett Kavanaugh, nominated by President Donald Trump for a position on the U.S. Supreme Court.
In certain situations, such as that involving Kavanaugh, senators are supposed to abide by rules concerning how and when documents can be made public. Booker, who is running for president, said he ordered his staff to release an email message regarding Kavanaugh, without going through that process.
“I knowingly violated the rules … The penalty comes with potential ousting from the Senate … I openly invite and accept the consequences,” Booker bragged. He said he was engaged in an act of civil disobedience.
So have been some protesters who have disrupted not just the Judiciary Committee hearing but also others in Congress during the past week or so. It got so bad during one hearing that security personnel had to clear the public seating area.
What’s going on, here?
Booker, some other lawmakers and some members of the public boast they are part of “the resistance” to Trump’s presidency.
He is, in a word, a lout, in their opinion. If they can’t remove him from office, they will at least try to keep him from pursuing his agenda.
They think Trump is so bad that breaking rules is merited.
It has been the same on some college campuses, where officials allow — even encourage, in a few cases — people to disrupt speeches. At one university, rioters destroyed property while police watched and did nothing.
But here’s the thing: The “resistance” just doesn’t understand the Trump phenomenon. Millions of voters support him because they see him as a champion against those in “the swamp” who have been disobeying the rules for decades.
For example, one does not disobey the law by funneling billions of dollars to insurance companies to hold down Affordable Care Act premiums. Former President Barack Obama did.
One does not attempt to help the Iranian government launder money through U.S. banks. Obama did (the banks refused).
I could go on — and not all the culprits would be Democrats. It happens at all levels of government.
Even Trump — who certainly is, well, brash at times — understands there are limits. For example, should he decide to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, the president would be in enormous trouble.
What happens if “the resistance” steps up its so-called campaign of civil disobedience?
First, confusion and chaos as people who need to get things — sometimes important ones — done are stymied. Second, confrontation when those who do play by the rules decide they’re not going to put up with those who do not.
There are consequences to telling people you’re not going to comply with rules established for the good of everyone. Very bad things can happen.
Let’s hope it doesn’t get to that point.
By the way, Booker admitted later the email in question had been cleared for release. He was grandstanding — and breaking another rule. You know, the one about telling the truth.
Myer can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.