” To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.” George Orwell
Benjamin Franklin famously said,” We have a Republic if we can keep it.” Well, if we look in front of our collective noses we know our Republic is in trouble, that it might not be on life support, yet, but the Doctor is checking for our government’s vital signs. Our pulse is irregular and our breathing has become labored.
Confidence in our institutions is at an all time low. The status quo and inaction is winning. Extortion, intimidation and a coordinated effort to take away people’s rights are underway. Our government is broken and our problems are festering.
It was Bob Dole’s birthday this week and his birthday wish was that partisan bickering ends.
In state after state a sense of chaos exists. The former President Jimmy Carter said this week that Democracy in the old US of A is at an end. Women are angry, as they see state legislatures make it virtually impossible for any woman under any circumstances to get an abortion, regardless of rape, incest or if the life of the mother is at stake. A commentator at Fox News, even posted on a web site, information on where a person can buy hangers.
Our House, our country, will not continue to stand if we continue on the path that we are on. It got so bad yesterday that a veteran in North Carolina who is 80 years old was led off in handcuffs for just trying to speak. We are increasingly divided among ourselves along cultural lines, and along economic and political divisions.
Politics is all about compromise if it is going to work. If the most conservative member of the Democratic Party in Congress is more liberal than the most liberal Republican we have a problem Houston, we have a problem.
Our system of government which is built on a system of checks and balances, is not meant to function if our political parties are more like the British Parliamentary system without any of the advantages of that system. And frankly, I liked the way our political parties used to come together and make decisions based on what was best for the country instead of what was best for their party.
Yes, in prior periods in our history we have had problems somewhat like today but what we are seeing is different. The pendulum has swung back and forth before as we have seen in cycles of historical patterns.
But never have we seen a political party quite willing to use extortion to shut down our government. Never before have we seen members of Congress want us to default on our debt, thereby putting at risk the credit worthiness of our dollar.
These are troubled times when reason and science are denied. We have elected people who want to end government as we know it. We have seen this happen before in history. We have seen the use of the words liberty and prosperity while freedoms were taken away.
The use of the big lie goes on, and as we have seen in the years of fascism in Germany. If you say a lie often and long enough people will believe the lie. The other tactic we have seen in other dark times was the use of name calling. Words like liberal are used like a cuss word. If you don’t believe in God the way they want you to, you are a humanist, or a statist, or a secularist. Those are mild compared to what this President has been called. He has been called a socialist, a communist and a fascist and sometimes both a communist and a fascist. Sorry you can’t be both, those are two ways of thinking.
The media participates in this charade. President Obama’s legitimacy has been questioned, saying he is not one of us. Presidential candidate McCain told a person at a campaign stop that this was not true. But in the last campaign candidate Romney failed to correct a person who was claiming the President was not a citizen. Lies are becoming almost acceptable now, as the media is less and less inclined to say anything for fear of retribution.
We could use a few Walter Cronkite’s and Edward R. Murrow’s these days. Maybe they would still be trusted to tell the truth. It seems to be more about entertainment rather than telling the news that is fit to tell on Cable news.
There is a place for editorial types of news coverage, but to be honest with you, I miss the days when you got the news, just the facts without any opinion tainted comments accompanying the news.
Tactics such as the use of a hold are used to keep a vote from ever occurring on nominations for governmental positions. The use of the filibuster has been used so extensively that the total amount of filibusters since the year 2000 exceed the total of all of the prior years put together in our nations history. A filibuster was intended to protect the rights of the minority, it was never intended to stop all legislation, for fear that their political opponents would have any successes.
During our country’s history we have had our rough patches with the Red Scare and McCarthyism being examples. Now we have a lot of people out of work but we can’t even get a vote on a jobs bill. Bridges are beginning to collapse due to age and fatigue but the No Way House of Representatives won’t budge.
We as citizens need to take action. This is our government after all. They are supposed to work for us and not the Banks or the Oil Companies.
What can we do about it? In the days ahead I will make some suggestions on what we can do to fix what is broken before it is too late. Republics have ended before because of factionalism or in this case we call it partisanship. Extremism in any form is wrong. I hope you all will participate in this conversation to find a better way and to recapture our government from excessive partisanship.