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Proud Days as an American


This podcast analyzes the recent, four days, fifteen vote process to elect Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as Speaker of the House for the 118th session of the United States Congress, despite initial opposition from Representative Matt Gaetz (R-Fla) and the Freedom Caucus of the Republican Party.

Read the transcript here

Proud Days as an American

Rarely if ever have I enjoyed a pause to take in American politics as much as I enjoyed the four days from noon, January 3, 2023 until 12:11 am January 8.

Americans were treated to three short days of watching 100s of committed elected officials publicly celebrating the ideals of civil, passionate, sincere debate integrating a torrent of patriotism, personal pride and ambition, and a genuine longing for unity with integrity.

I felt that both the nation and its legacy (and even its avant garde media) reacted wrongly to this beautiful effort on the part of 118th Congressional leaders. The media as it always does did nothing but fuel division and conflict. No imagination. A populace accustomed to parroting the thin gruel of current media “coverage” joined in with ill-placed impatience (aren’t we all impatient about everything these days). The word of the week was “chaos.” When in fact what we witnessed was everything but. Another cheap abuse and destruction of meaning in the English language. Everyone’s a Nazi, everyone’s a terrorist, everyone’s Hitler, and three days of debate over the single most important decision in America at this moment is of course “chaos.” You can read that word in the media literally a million times. Just Google the two words Speaker and Chaos and Google will give you 59 million pages of articles with the word chaos in the headline.

Following the election of Speaker McCarthy, coverage continued in my opinion to be badly built. Mindless obsession over People Magazine type pictures meant to show only conflict. Everything had to be cast in the colors of winners and losers. Who gave up what, who got what. Why not a flurry of articles on how beautifully America was built, that would allow the most intensely committed, passionate and powerful Americans in the country to openly discuss for all the world to see their differences. Pouring out their hearts and their dreams, and then in exquisite rules and environments work round the clock to find ways to work together.

Three groups were on display at this time. Democrats, moderate Republicans, and a new breed of American conservatives, who’ve yet to be properly named. They are the fruits of President Trump’s efforts to return America to bases of normalcy: Universal access to opportunity, universal Bill of Rights protections for all Americans, territorial sovereignty and the protection of US citizens, defense of law and liberty, and corruption-proof elections. This latter group comprised about 20 legislators who had formed what they call The Freedom Caucus, which with the narrow margin of Republican majority were enough to prevent any nominee for Speaker from having the votes needed.

The moderate Republicans voted consistently for Speaker McCarthy giving him around 200 or 201 of the 218 votes needed consistently through 12 or 13 rounds of voting. Freedom Caucus members, led essentially by Representative Gaetz of Florida, considered McCarthy as a figure foreboding “politics as usual,” and of the political demeanor and record insufficient to seize the opportunity to reform Washington corruption. The third group in the room were the minority party, the Democrats who voted as a group without deviation for Akeem Jeffries, who proved himself to be a wearisome, self-aggrandizing cock-a-hoop boor when he finally seized the limelight and abused his responsibility to introduce Speaker McCarthy.

McCarthy represents political acumen and know-how, but for the freedom caucus, his political record was too rife with hints that he would squander the opportunity of the Republican majority to root out corruption, moral disorder, anti-Americanism that contaminates legislation in recent times. In short, for the Freedom Caucus, McCarthy’s political record makes him suspect,  “not conservative enough,” a member of what is often called “the uniparty,” namely people without standards who use their political power for personal gain at the expense of the American people.

Throughout the week, Negotiations happened off the floor, and debate happened on the floor, until Speaker McCarthy could provide Freedom Caucus members sufficient guarantees that they would yield in their opposition and allow him the chance to lead as Speaker.

In my eyes every person in the Republican Party showed honor, dignity, respect, civility, passion, integrity, and sincerity.

We have not seen a debate on the floor for years, and we have not seen our elected officials actually show up to work for days on end for years.

Though the press continues to seek conflict and division following the vote, I for one pray that our elected representatives can work harmoniously to lift up America and help it to become a hope and a servant to people the world over.