Common Sense Is So Uncommon

Post 1,030


It’s been decades of a continuous onslaught of outrages, lies and disinformation, but not just from Trump. It’s also from the toadies, the suck-ups, the cowards, the opportunists, the angry, the power larcenists, the religiously impaired and the intentionally ignorant. They grab megaphones and microphones and aim them straight at our faces and at our democracy.

They’ve told us that the world is flat, that Trump is the new Jesus (or the old one who’s returned to run the Trump hotels), that Covid doesn’t exist, that the Holocaust didn’t happen, that the moon landings were faked and that any election that Trump or any republican lost was stolen. They bray googly-eyed that vaccines don’t work and that they cause autism, sickness and death, and, gasp!, that history books that teach actual history are permanently damaging our children.

The list of inanities is very long and should be embarrassing to everyone. Now they’re telling you that the Constitution doesn’t apply to Trump. That may be comforting to people who are “.  .  .  easy prey of a clever con man, or for normal people unfamiliar with their conscious minds, or for those suffering from a dissociative psychiatric disorder.”* There should be some common sense to inoculate them and us from this crazy.

This madness has been going on for a long time, if you include Trump’s birther idiocy, the Tea Party stupid stuff and Ronald Reagan’s trickle down, voodoo economics lunacy that put your money on the express train to the top 1%. All of it is of a piece with Chico Marx’s character in Duck Soup, saying, “Who ya gonna believe, me or your own eyes?

Millions of Americans refuse to believe their own eyes and instead believe the liars with the megaphones and microphones.

One way to switch from the craziness is to actually enforce the requirements of the Constitution.

You remember that “rule of law” thing, right? It’s the thing that says we all have to obey the law or face the consequences of violating it. But we have to get past the conspiracy zombies and truth murderers to make that work, because the crazies see that laws were broken, but believe that Trump is an suffering victim of the Justice Department and that the rule of law shouldn’t apply to him.

Frightening Fact:

These people walk among us.

That madness why there is so much discussion about attempts to enforce Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. Here it is:

Section 3 Disqualification from Holding Office

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

No advanced academic degree or legal training is required to understand what that says in plain English, even if you have to read it slowly or more than once. An average 7th grader gets it. It says:

Nobody can be a traitor to his/her oath to our country and then hold office.

That ought to be common sense. It was when Section 3 was written.

Nevertheless, some legal fiction writers today (e.g. Trump’s lawyers and some TV blabbers) are challenging the application of Section 3 to Donald Trump. They’re doing so with fatuous (read: brainless) arguments, like that a president is not an officer of the United States, or that there was no insurrection on January 6, 2021, or that Trump had no part in the insurrection, or that he didn’t give aid and comfort to the insurrectionists.

It’s stupid stuff, we know, but those are some of the arguments Trump’s lawyers have presented to lower courts, some of which endorsed their idiocy, like the Colorado District Court judge who decided the president isn’t an officer of the U.S.

Trump’s lawyers will present that same brain rot to the Supreme Court. The justices will sit with due seriousness listening to the drivel from Trump’s lawyers, giving thoughtful, furrowed-eyebrow consideration to what deserves none of that.

Before that we’ll find out if Clarence Thomas has sufficient integrity to recuse himself from this case that is so obviously connected to his wife, an enthusiastic supporter of the insurrection. Low expectations are recommended.

We will be left to worry whether the extremist justices will once again defy the reality we see with our own eyes and will wantonly ignore common sense.

The six extremist Justices might create some fictitious reason why Section 3 of the 14th Amendment doesn’t apply to the biggest insurrectionist of them all. But we have common sense and we know that it does.

From the abstract of The Sweep and Force of Section Three by William Baude and Michael Stokes Paulsen, published in The University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Vol. 172: **

First, Section Three remains an enforceable part of the Constitution, not limited to the Civil War, and not effectively repealed by nineteenth century amnesty legislation.

Second, Section Three is self-executing, operating as an immediate disqualification from office, without the need for additional action by Congress. It can and should be enforced by every official, state or federal, who judges qualifications.

Third, to the extent of any conflict with prior constitutional rules, Section Three repeals, supersedes, or simply satisfies them. This includes the rules against bills of attainder or ex post facto laws, the Due Process Clause, and even the free speech principles of the First Amendment.

Fourth, Section Three covers a broad range of conduct against the authority of the constitutional order, including many instances of indirect participation or support as “aid or comfort.” It covers a broad range of former offices, including the Presidency. And in particular, it disqualifies former President Donald Trump, and potentially many others, because of their participation in the attempted overthrow of the 2020 presidential election. [edited with paragraph breaks for easier readability]

Once again, there is no need for an advanced academic degree to understand the plain meaning of this explainer. You know what it says. So do the Justices of the Supreme Court. This is common sense stuff.

The scary question for us is whether the Supreme Court Justices have sufficient backbone to refuse pressure from the extremist, power hungry mob and from the Justices’ rich and financially generous friends and influencers. We will learn if common sense is common to them and if it is sufficiently compelling to them to refuse insurrectionists the opportunity for office, as they are so plainly required to do by Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

  • “This isn’t a crime scene.
  • “It’s a crime in progress.”
  • – Jeff Sharlet


* Adapted from Carl Sagan’s The Fine Art of Baloney Detection. This is a great and entertaining essay from a fine wordsmith.

** If you are sufficiently nerdy you can download the full 126-page paper from this link.

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One Response to Common Sense Is So Uncommon
  1. Jim Altschuler Reply

    I am sad to report that my confidence has flagged to the point where I seriously doubt that there is either common sense or backbone in the members of the Supreme Court. Further, I have seen little to no evidence of common sense in the bulk of the American public. They also don’t seem to have the spine or the wherewithal to fight back against the lies, the violence and the thefts of our Constitution, our democracy and our personal rights.

    These blogs each exhort those who read them to “be the light.” Do we have the common sense to realize truthfully what has been happening (and seems to be continuing to happen)? Will we speak volumes with our votes this year by voting for candidates who will be more concerned with the needs and the quality of life of We The People? Or will the corporate entities and the 1% (continue to) be Congress’ only concern? 🤔 It’s up to We The People to make the determination.