The United States of America: how things used to be, and are now

James H. "Smokey" Shott

“In September 2016, I called that year’s presidential election contest ‘The Flight 93 Election.’ My thesis was simple: a Clinton victory would usher in an era of semi-permanent Democratic-leftist rule.”

So wrote author Michael Anton, in his new book, “The Stakes: America at the Point of No Return.”

“But I asserted and still believe that one-party rule of the USA — blue-state politics from coast to coast — could, once established, last a very long time and might end only with the country itself,” he continued.

Blessedly, Anton’s fear was not fulfilled by the American people; Hillary Clinton did not win, and blue state politics coast-to-coast did not become reality.

And now we are approaching another election, and concerns are raging. Democrats are afraid that if President Donald Trump loses the election he will not allow a peaceful transfer of power.

In 2016, instead of the blue state take-over Anton feared, we got President Trump. But we also got a group of Congressional Democrats that would not allow the next administration to operate without interference. They spent the next dozens of months and tens of millions of dollars hampering Trump’s efforts to straighten out the eight previous years of Democrat failure with fatally flawed investigations.

Much straightening out was accomplished, despite the Democrats’ efforts, however. For example, taxes and needless regulations were reduced, setting off a long-awaited, but long-delayed recovery from the Great Recession of 2008. Unemployment for every group, especially Black and Hispanic Americans, reached record, or near-record lows, as jobs and companies returned from overseas where they had been driven by past foolish economic policies.

Today, despite the good things that have occurred since 2017, we have a country more divided than at any time in decades. Much or most of the division comes from the emotional reaction to Trump’s personality, and some resulting from the successes he has achieved, much to the Left’s chagrin.

The opposition decries the good that has been done, and proposes to “fix” things with higher taxes, lax immigration policies, killing the fossil fuel industry along with the jobs and economic boost that go with it, and a list of other equally foolish, socialistic concepts.

A major issue this time is the United State Supreme Court, the only one of the three co-equal branches of the federal government that was designed to be non-political. This was done quite purposefully to provide objective, politically neutral legal oversight of the political decisions made in the legislative and administrative branches. The Supreme Court was to be a non-political body to apply the Constitution and the laws, the meanings of which do not change over time, unless change is brought about through established legal and constitutional processes.

Through the years, judges have been confirmed to the federal courts who are not neutral interpreters of legal and constitutional language, but apply their personal, social and political ideals in place of applying Constitutional principles based upon their meaning when ratified, and applying the meaning of laws when enacted. They refer to their activism as providing “life” to the Constitution and laws. The meaning of a “living” Constitution changes with the swirling winds of society.

The encroachment of these activist judges and justices destroys the political independence of the courts, turning them into another political body, the members of which were not elected by anyone. That is not smart, and it is not acceptable.

Which brings us to the confirmation hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett. The Democrats are opposed to her confirmation for one reason: They do not like her because she said, and they believe, that she will not be an activist justice who makes law from the bench, the way Democrats prefer.

Democrats depend upon activists on court benches to create through judicial fiat policies and laws what they cannot enact through the legitimate law-making process.

Judges/justices are supposed to apply the law as written, not rule based upon how they might feel about litigants or issues. As Justice George Sutherland, on the Supreme Court from 1922 to 1938, wrote, “If the provisions of the Constitution be not upheld when they pinch as well as when they comfort, they may as well be abandoned.”

We are not electing a homecoming king next month, or a senior superlative, like Most Popular, Best Looking, Funniest, etc. We are voting for a person to put into effect policies and support laws that move the country forward. This is a person who gets things done, however ill-mannered or offensive he/she may otherwise be.

Donald Trump has filled that role well for four years, and if re-elected he will again; Joe Biden lives in a different universe.

‘Therefore, not only will 2020 be another ‘Flight 93 Election,’ as will every election, until and unless one of two things happens,” Anton continues. “Either the left achieves the final victory it has long sought, and the only national elections that matter are Democratic primaries to determine who goes on to defeat — inevitably — a hopelessly outnumbered and ineffectual ‘opposition.’ Or the Republican Party — or some successor — leads a realignment along nationalist-popular lines that forces the left to moderate and accept the legitimacy of red-state/flyover/’deplorable’ concerns.

James H. “Smokey” Shott, a resident of Bluefield, Va., is a Daily Telegraph columnist. Contact him at

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