While defiance and civil disobedience towards Supreme Court decisions of the past have sometimes been justified- the Dred Scott decision of 1857 immediately springs to mind. But after today’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act, Republicans such as Attorney General Pam Bondi, a former FOX News contributor took their rhetoric directly out of the playbook of southern segregationists following the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision.
Bondi, Governor Rick Scott and CFO Jeff Atwater all left open ended in their statements the ability of Florida to “opt out” or more directly “nullify” this Federal law. Southern hero John C. Calhoun and his 1830 doctrine of nullification immediately springs to mind. Thankfully for our nation, Andrew Jackson crushed Calhoun and the republic survived.
While it may seem extreme to link Bondi and her ilk to the segregationist Democrats of the 1950s the example is not extraneous. Certainly Bondi is nothing like the segregation favoring Democrats of that era but is an uncompromising ideologue much like those Democrats were. In fact, two great Floridians, Senators George Smathers and Spessard Holland both denounced the 1954 Brown decision using similar rhetoric to today’s GOP leadership. While both were segregationists they were relatively moderate on issues of race for the time; Holland, for example was the most vocal southern opponent of lynching.
But moderation is not something that comes easily to Bondi, Scott or Atwater. All three have invoked rhetoric which puts their own political agenda and ideology above that of citizens of the state or the nation. Today’s attacks on the Supreme Court, especially by Florida’s top law enforcement official smack of words that can be interpreted as unpatriotic.
Many Florida Republicans have openly questioned President Obama’s Americanism. Sure he killed Osama Bin Laden, has made America safer with an aggressive foreign policy and has repeatedly shown his love for country in countless ways. But some Republicans remain unconvinced.
It is time for Democrats to sharpen their knives and call a spade a spade. It is the Republicans who disrespect American institutions when they do not favor them, it is the Republicans who impugn the motives or patriotism of anyone who disagrees with them, and it is the Republicans who have sought to systematically dismantle pieces of American Democracy in an effort to maintain complete control much as the Soviet Communists did over Russia and her sister states for 70 plus years.
Florida’s Republicans continue to prove how unpatriotic they are every time this President achieves any success. Shame on them.