It just happened again.
On June 1, by a 60-40 margin, voters made The Netherlands the second country to oppose the European constitution. That followed a French rejection of the document just days earlier.
In the real world, this constitution would be dead. After all, it supposedly requires ratification by all 25 European member states before it can come into force.
Luckily, Europe isn?t in the real world. ?We want the other member states to have the opportunity to tackle the same debate,? Luxembourg?s Prime Minister Claude Juncker announced after the Dutch vote. So some form of the ratification process will apparently go forward.
Juncker is also the acting president of the European Union, so it makes sense he?d want to ignore the constitution?s resounding defeats. After all, if he accepts that the constitution is dead, he?ll go back to being merely the leader of a small nation, rather than an entire continent.
Juncker should be worried. Nine countries have approved the EU constitution, but it?s just one-for-three in countries where voters have been consulted.
And while a .333 batting average will earn a hitter a multi-million-dollar contract, it?s simply not good enough for a founding document. So maybe the French and the Dutch will get a chance to do it over, or maybe their governments will ignore the will of the people and simply endorse the constitution for them.
But that seems unlikely, since Europeans seem to finally have noticed that their ?leaders? are taking them somewhere they don?t want to follow. ?In the last 10 years, the people in Brussels have tried to minimize the input of regular people in democratic decisions,? Peer van der Wonde told reporters in The Hague after he voted against the constitution.
Europe?s problem is easy to identify but will prove difficult -- if not impossible -- to fix: There?s no such thing as a ?European? citizen.
For centuries, people have been coming to the United States, and we?ve been welcoming them. We?re a nation of immigrants -- legal immigrants. All we ask is that, when they arrive, they assimilate and become Americans. And almost everyone who comes here welcomes the chance to be an American and help us build a better country.
Meanwhile, very few people think of themselves as ?European.? They?re Spanish or Italian or Polish, and they want to remain that way. Many French oppose the constitution partly because they?re afraid it would make their workweek longer, and many British oppose it partly because they?re afraid it would make their workweek shorter. In the end, it amounts to the same thing: Neither side really wants to surrender national power to unelected bureaucrats in Brussels.