Sunday, June 23, 2024

Liberty is in jeopardy because dodging and sidestepping rules is an artform!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     Parliamentary procedures are the rules, ethics and customs governing the meetings of an assembly or organization.  Parliamentary procedure has been around since the 16th century and is used to bring order to meetings and allow for civil debate. 

     In 1876, Henry Robert wrote Robert’s Rules of Order, the most widely used book on parliamentary authority.  Robert wrote it to address chaotic, tumultuous meetings where no order was apparent.  Parliamentary procedure is supposed to protect the rights of the minority, maintain the rule of the majority, and promote efficient proceedings. 

     Often parliamentary procedure is used by a vocal minority to delay meetings, circumvent the will of the majority, and promote disorder.  Rumor is that could be happening at the upcoming Republican National Convention in Milwaukee.

     News sources claim the 43 GOP national delegates from Arizona have hatched a plan to attempt to ‘release’ all 2,429 delegates from their commitment to vote for Donald Trump as the Republican nominee, aka ‘suspend the rules.’  In parliamentary procedure, a suspension of the rules allows an assembly to set aside its normal rules to do something that could not be done otherwise.

     While the Grand Canyon state delegation’s objective hasn’t been publicly revealed, some believe their end game is to have a continency plan should Trump be sentenced to prison.    Reportedly, they want to have retired General Michael Flynn in the queue for nominee should that happen.  They plan to ID each other by wearing black jackets. 

     Under RNC rules, a motion to ‘suspend the rules’ requires the majority of delegates from three (3) state delegations to get a motion and second to move it for a vote on the floor.  Currently, it does not appear other state delegations are signing on to the scheme.   Three observations:

     First, most delegates are bound.  Oklahoma GOP delegates are bound by Party rules and State law to vote for whom they are bound.  Oklahoma held a presidential preference primary on March 5th.  The result of the election binds delegates to a candidate.  40 of Oklahoma’s 43 national delegates must vote for Donald J. Trump at the convention so long as he remains in the race.  They must sign an affidavit affirming that fact.  The three RNC members from Oklahoma are not bound and can vote for whomever they wish.  If the bound delegates refuse to fulfill their duty, they are removed and an alternate then fulfills the will of the primary voters.  Even if the RNC voted to suspend the rules, the Sooner delegates would still be bound until Trump exits the race. 

     Second, the national GOP convention should be about trying to unite, not divide.  Due to the binding of delegates, the modern political Party nominating convention has become a coronation.   But it is an excellent chance for Republicans to point out President Biden’s failed economic policies, which have resulted in record inflation.  Instead of grandstanding and showboating, highlighting Biden’s immigration and foreign policy failures should be at the forefront.  Americans want substance, not sensationalism, tangibility not theatrics. 

     Third, Donald Trump is the 2024 GOP nominee.  He has 2,260 delegates to Nikki Haley’s 97 and Ron DeSantis 9.  Wasting time and energy on a foolhardy plan hurts the cause.  The focus should on winning in November and not aliening like-minded voters in a close election.  But stunts and antics are the order of the day, so watch for the black jackets July 15-18 in Wisconsin to frustrate the process. 

     Henry Robert paraphrased Proverbs 21:12 in the preface of Robert’s Rules: “Where there is no law(rules), but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty.”  Liberty in America is under attack because rules and laws are not considered absolute.  Liberty is in jeopardy because dodging and sidestepping rules has become an artform.  All you need is a black coat.

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