(I know I just stated in my last post that I want to do less politics, but I really have to get this off my chest.)
Right now, if we are honest, we must acknowledge that we are a Divided States of America.
And, if we are truly honest, we must acknowledge that it is our fault.
Sure, many people absolutely abhor Trump, but it is equally true that many pledge their allegiance to Trump with unwavering commitment. That would be just a point of disagreement if the American system of government was in place. However, the demonstrable truth is our government is not functioning as it was meant to, particularly in terms of our fabled system of checks and balances, and it has aggressively not functioned properly for at least a decade, arguably longer.
Both major parties are to blame.
The Republicans spent at least 30 years building a heavily financed machine to conquer the US government, including super-rich elites including the Koch brothers financing universities that taught and produced lawyers and politicians who reflected their political preferences (see Dark Money for fascinating details). Then, with support from groups including the Federalists, some of those students were groomed and placed in the judicial system and politics in growing numbers. Between these and many more moneyed, committed efforts over the last three decades (at minimum), the Republicans built what we have now, a one-party majority that, rather than working as a checks and balances system between executive, legislative, and judicial, seem to work in concert to serve the preferences of those financing and influencing their careers.
Meanwhile, as best as I can tell, the Democrats went to lunch on the victories of the past that made us a more progressive, global nation. As the Republican machine rose from the ashes of the Nixon resignation, dems became an isolated machine of its own moneyed influencers. The Clinton Presidency drove the Republicans further to the right. But around that time it seemed the idea of bilateral efforts and checks and balances gave way in both parties to the attitude of “our side uber alles.”
If Clinton drove Republicans nuts, Obama made them rabid. See Mitch McConnell promising to make sure our President “gets nothing done” right at the start of Obama’s first term. Clearly, no legislative effort was going to be judged on its merits rather than coming from “the enemy”. And still, Obama had some success.
Under Trump, most of those successes have been dismantled, defunded, or reversed. Because that is what our government has been reduced to; antagonism, revenge, smearing, denial, and spin unchecked. Facts are now harder to share. Our government is significantly different now, from staffing, to function of departments, to protocol dismantling, to controversies, scandals, and questions on almost every front.
No matter which side you are on, it is clear that now more than ever before, this government is about divisive political parties, not a national whole. Sadly, this country is no longer about We The People, this nation is about We The People in Power.
And while the rich have always had the most influence, the effort to create and sustain a long term healthy nation was once the priority for both parties. At our strongest, we knew a strong middle class helped everyone. At our best, we invested well in the education of our young and benefited from it with new ideas in the arts, the sciences, the progression toward a more perfect union.
We have been turning away from that or decades, and we now must seriously question where we are, how we got here, and whether this is truly the country we want any more.
I know I want to live in the America we were always taught about. The America that had as its maitre de the Statue of Liberty encouraging the world to “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore….” Now our doors are much more closed, and those embracing that dream who have not been naturalized, for whatever reason, are hunted, children caged. That’s not the America my conservative father taught me to love.
Similar changes have gone on in economics, the environment, international relations, business dealings, and law enforcement investigations. This should move all of us to reflect on whether the country is moving forward as We The People intend for it to do.
As a result, America face several serious questions. How do we feel about the condition of our government? Is this truly the way we want our country to be governed? Is it really just about immediate economic upsurge for us, or can we consider a longer vision? Without a true system of checks and balances, are we still a republic? Do we still practice democracy?
From at least two sources now, we discover that people working around our current president keep information and take demanded declarations and edicts off his desk. Is that what we want? Reports suggest that our current leader does not want to follow democratic procedures, wants to just give orders, to the point where his own cabinet has allegedly discussed employing the 25th Ammendment. Is this the government we want?
Add to that alleged Russian involvement even now in influencing our thinking through social media and possibly manipulating our voting system. Are we okay with this possibility?
With all of this swirling around us, how can We The People not feel the need to deeply reconsider where we stand and what we want.
i haven’t been impressed with anyone in Washington, DC or local government, but I remain impressed with the American People. In a few short weeks, We The People have an opportunity to exercise our rights and exert our will on all of this. It doesn’t matter what your politics are right now, it matters that you vote. Check right now that you are registered. If, somehow, you have been taken off the voter rolls (yes this is happening in places across the nation), fight to get back on, and vote.
This mid-term election offers an opportunity to reset our system of checks and balances, to reset what our Founding Fathers meant our republic to be. Voting offers us, We The People, an opportunity to say what kind of government we want.
And make no mistake, this election will change America, either confirming national approval our current government’s behavior and encouraging more of the same, or firmly rejecting that path and instructing our government to change. This election can shift power from Republican dominant to a more balanced mix of Republican and Democrat. It can also re-elect those who have served for a decade or more, or to elect new leaders.
it is our decision, our right, and yes, our responsibility. If we want America to be ruled by We The People, we are responsible for being The People.
Whatever happens, it is on us.