Mandate of Heaven

Published: December 7, 2021

By Jim Lichtman
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These are the things . . . that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. — President Donald Trump, in a tweet posted on January 6, the day of the attack on Washington’s Capitol building.

REUTERS/Jim Bourg/File Photo

“The Mandate of Heaven was the divine source of authority and the right to rule of China’s early kings and emperors. The divine force known as Heaven or Sky had selected this particular individual to rule on its behalf on earth. An important element of the mandate was that although the ruler had been given great power he also had a moral obligation to use it for the good of his people, if he did not then his state would suffer terrible disasters and he would lose the right to govern.”

In our current context, “Heaven” is in a John Foster Kane Xanadu-like palace called Mar-a-Lago, and the “divine source of authority” is a reprehensible, ego-driven ex-president who continues to hold sway over his congressional minions in a political party where hypocrisy triumphs over truth and most members are cowards to American democracy.

What is it about Trump that millions of supporters are so attracted to—particularly and sadly, devote Christians—that they’re willing to pledge their unequivocal fidelity to him at the cost of reason and common sense?

He blusters, schemes, deceives, threatens, and lies. He’s vindictive. He’s a racist and a misogynist, and he was the ignition switch for the attack on the symbol and primary workplace of the nation’s business.

How miserable are supporters’ lives that they are willing to follow a man whose only interest is in himself?

Couy Griffin is one of those supporters.

CNN reporter Drew Griffin (unrelated) says that Griffin “was a county commissioner in New Mexico, a business owner, husband and father.

“Now, he lives alone in New Mexico — his wife and child have left. His businesses are shuttered. His fellow county commissioners are publicly calling on him to resign.

“Griffin stands accused of disorderly conduct and unlawful entry onto the Capitol grounds on January 6. He has pleaded not guilty, and claims his misfortune is the product of persecution for his political beliefs.”

And Griffin is just one of thousands who rationalized their actions that day.

How desperate are so many Washington Republican lawmakers that they continue to blatantly lie and sacrifice democratic principles in exchange for another two years in office?

And what will be the outcome in national elections where some states’ Republican legislatures are working to pass legislation that would restrict voting rights?

In a June 2021 report, Megan Lewis, Executive Director and Co-founder of Voting Rights Lab, an organization that works to expand voting rights throughout the country, writes “What we are witnessing in real-time across the country is a widening divide, whereby some states are working to expand participation in our democracy and strengthen our tradition of non-partisan elections administration, just as a significant number are working to curtail and undermine these objectives.

“Bills that shift the allocation of power in election administration, in some cases politicizing the election process, emerged as a new and alarming trend this year. This session, 144 bills shifting election authority were introduced, with the most concerning bills enabling partisan state legislatures to overturn election results. Fortunately, no legislation that extreme has been enacted yet, but 11 states have enacted new laws reallocating election administration power,” Lewis says.

“We will undoubtedly see these efforts resurface in 2022. These new laws take a variety of forms. Some restrict executive authority to modify election procedures during declared states of emergency while others limit the autonomy of local election officials.”

Will any of this change? Not likely. Not any time soon. The country will have to limp along suffering the actions of a few over their responsibilities to the many millions.

Supreme Court Justice, Louis Brandeis famously said, “sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.” In writing The Duty of Publicity, Brandeis had been thinking “about the wickedness of people shielding wrongdoers & passing them off (or at least allowing them to pass themselves off) as honest men.” His remedy:

“If the broad light of day could be let in upon men’s actions, it would purify them as the sun disinfects.”

But what do you do if people ignore what that sunlight reveals?

Writing about his legal hero, Justice William O. Douglas observed, “Brandeis was a militant crusader for social justice whoever his opponent might be. He was dangerous not only because of his brilliance, his arithmetic, his courage. He was dangerous because he was incorruptible.”

Where is that incorruptibility in most Republicans in Washington, today? When will they accept their “moral obligation” for the good of the people?


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