Candidates Picking Apart America’s Political System Is Nothing New

- July 12, 2024
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On Friday, a federal judge in New York dismissed 's bankruptcy case.

The proceedings ended without discharging any of Giuliani's debt. He remains responsible for repaying all debts, and creditors, including two Georgia election workers who won a $148 million defamation claim, can resume collection efforts, including potentially seizing his assets.

Bankruptcy Judge criticized Giuliani for his “lack of financial transparency,” which he found “particularly troubling.”

As The Washington Post reports:

Lane's written ruling.

One narrative that's erupted, and seems to be with us for the long haul, since a New York court convicted on 34 counts of falsifying documents and election interference is that Team Biden has “weaponized” the court system against a political opponent, justice has been maligned, and our country has “gone to hell.”

Take that as you will, depending on your team affiliation – inescapable fact, or dangerous hyperbole.  What we should do is accept this for what it is: events voters will have to weigh carefully and then vote accordingly come November.

We should also never lose sight of the fact that criticizing the system, in the purplest of prose, is an American tradition.  As the Supreme Court Historical Society reminds us, no official is immune from public contempt:

Finding fault with men in office was already an old American custom, writes one historian; “indeed, it had become an essential part of the pursuit of happiness.” 

And even in times of national crisis, criticism – full-throated, biting, and vulgar – has been a rule, not an exception.  Consider the epithets thrown at Abraham Lincoln from those in the North:

…his sure-footed leadership during this country's most-difficult days was accompanied by a fair amount of praise, but also by a steady stream of abuse—in editorials, speeches, journals, and private letters—from those on his own side, those dedicated to the very causes he so ably championed. George Templeton Strong, a prominent New York lawyer and diarist, wrote that Lincoln was “a barbarian, Scythian, yahoo, or gorilla.” Henry Ward Beecher, the Connecticut-born preacher and abolitionist, often ridiculed Lincoln in his newspaper, The Independent (New York), rebuking him for his lack of refinement and calling him “an unshapely man.” Other Northern newspapers openly called for his assassination long before John Wilkes Booth pulled the trigger. He was called a coward, “an idiot,” and “the original gorilla” by none other than the commanding general of his armies, George McClellan.

Such words would unleash an endless parade of cable TV pearl-clutching today. Back then? It was the price of doing business.

And let's never forget that some of the harshest presidential critics are…presidents themselves. Teddy Roosevelt was a veritable font of political insults. And how can we forget “the pimp of the White House?”

Despite all this mud, we made it through. Plenty of people thought at various times that the nation had gone off the rails, straight to hell, and would never bounce back.

We always have—not because of our political class, but very often despite it. We rose above—or flat-out ignored—the politicians braying about doom and destruction. Such narratives suit their personal career interests. Rarely do they reflect anything beyond that.

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