An Open Letter to Mitch McConnell

Above is a cartoon of Mitch McConnell. He is a definite danger to our democracy. Illustration by Oscar Oeding.

Dear Mitch McConnell,

I’m sure you weren’t expecting me, a 17 year old girl, to even know your name, not to mention know the details of your career and the harm you have done to our country. Silly Mitch, it’s time you faced the facts: we angry young women are more knowledgeable and capable than your wrinkled, corrupt face could ever know. We also have a much greater moral capacity, a concept I’m sure is quite foreign to you. 

I could talk for weeks about how much I dislike you, the burning hatred I have only for you, your boy toy Donald Trump, and Davina from Selling Sunset (actually, though, she is the worst). That is not, however, what I would like to discuss today. Instead, I am going to break down exactly why your career should be over. By the end of this letter, if there is any sense left in you at all, I hope you will agree with me that it is time for you to step down. Though I would accept any circumstance in which you no longer hold power, I would prefer to see you in a nursing home with old liberals ready to rip you to shreds (metaphorically, of course).

I’d like to focus on my “favorite” trait of yours: hypocrisy. Let’s take a nice little trip down memory lane, shall we? In February, 2016, Justice Antonin Scalia suddenly passed away. According to the United States Constitution, when a Justice dies, the president appoints a nominee to fill their seat. In order to ensure checks and balances, it is up to Congress, specifically the Senate, to confirm the nomination. But you didn’t do that, did you Mitch? Before President Obama even announced who his nomination would be, you stated that there would be no hearing; the next Supreme Court justice would be chosen by the next president of the United States. 

Your reasoning for this was, and I quote, “the American people should have a say in the court’s direction.” You were, of course, referring to the fact that 2016 was an election year. By waiting to fill Scalia’s seat until after the election, the American people would have an indirect say on the new Justice by first electing their new leader. In blocking Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland, you set a precedent for the procedures concerning filling Supreme Court seats during an election year. 

Flash forward to September, 2020, when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away after serving on the Supreme Court for 27 years. Before her body was even laid to rest, you went against her dying wish, which was to wait to replace her until after the election. By announcing your intent to take President Trump’s nominee to the Senate floor only weeks before the election, you threw your own precedent out the window. 

“It does definitely reek of hypocrisy,” says Constitutional Law team member Nathan Senters (12). “McConnell does have a history of constitutional hardball. The fact that he’s using constitutional provisions to fuel fundamentally anti-democratic ideas is not new.” Senters is correct. You have been a threat to our system of government for quite some time, pushing self-interest and partisan issues in front of authentic democratic values.

This is why most of us expected nothing less than for you to continue this trend. When I talked to my AP Government teacher, David Marsh, about you, he said, “There’s definitely an element of the Democrats not being surprised. I mean of course he’s going to do this. It’s his life goal to stack the courts.” And that’s exactly what this is about, isn’t it? Marsh went on to explain that “the Senate gets to make their own rules. Traditionally, the rule has been a supermajority to get a justice into a court. McConnell changed that to be a simple majority.” A supermajority requires agreement from three fifths of senators, whereas a simple majority reduces the requirement to 51 out of 100 votes.

Your actions could not be more transparent, obviously changing the rule in anticipation of Donald Trump’s judicial nominations. There should be no place in our democracy for such blatant hypocrisy. 

Of course, it would be wrong of me to put all of the blame on you, Mr. McConnell. You are not the source of the decay in our democracy, but a product of it, as much as I’m sure you’d love to get the credit for being the sole cause. Recently, there has been a failure of mainly GOP government officials to hold each other accountable. (Yes Lindsey Graham, I’m talking to you). Mitch McConnell, it is your responsibility to balance the interests of the Republican party with the general good of the nation as a whole. That is the purpose and the beauty of representative government, something the rest of us would like to maintain. So please, move out of the way. 

Not so sincerely,

Grace Curley with the Franklin Post

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