Greetings and Salutations;
Well, one never knows when an interesting topic will pop up. An acquaintance of mine posted a rather thoughtful post on Facebook a bit ago. Dealing with the train wreck of America over the past 18 months, it raises some good points. So, of course, I got to thinking about it and discovered that I had more to say than a Face Book posting should have…So…Here we go. The original topic was on a post about Rick Perry being appointed by the President-Elect to the Cabinet position over the Department of Energy. The original article was pointed out the fact that the D.O.E. does not just deal with oil and such, but has charge of our Nuclear resources…including the weapons. Since Mr. Perry is (like all the Cabinet appointees) singularly unqualified for running this agency, there are a number of people who are concerned about the next four years.
The original comment was this:
Is there no handbook explaining that cronies are supposed to be given jobs as ambassadors to some small tropical or interesting country? And, NOT cabinet positions. Cabinet positions actually require important work.
Ideally we would create some number of official do nothing jobs to fill with friends and donors of the President.
I just learned that Parliament chooses the secretaries filling the cabinet positions in the UK. The Prime Minister is the appointed presiding officer of the cabinet but does not have any official hire / fire role for other cabinet members. As a matter of practice they do have a large influence. Of course, the Prime Minister choice is also driven by Parliament. As a formal matter they serve at the pleasure of the King or Queen. As a practical matter the ruler takes direction from the Parliament on choice of Prime Minister. To do otherwise may be a good way to end the monarchy.
I’m a fan of the Parliamentary system since the President or Prime Minister is then more aligned with Parliament so as to get something done. Reducing the power of the President to be more in line with the UK Prime Minister seems like a good idea. I really like cabinet members being more like peers with the President too.
I find it ironic to think the founders worked to ensure the USA did not have a monarchy. But, in modern times monarchs of major world powers have mostly taken symbolic roles (still important). The USA has a President who wields more power than monarchs and Prime Ministers not just because the USA is a great power, but because our structure of government. We may not call our President ruler or king but they may as well be.
It’s about time for a 2nd Constitutional Convention to fix some of these issues.
And my commentary on it is this:
I tend to agree with the first couple of paragraphs. In the past, this has resulted in folks being appointed to ambassador to Monaco, and such. I would be all for that. In a perfect world, cronyism would not happen…but, as we all learn early on in life…the world is far from perfect.
One of the few good things about the past few months is that it has given me a LOT of topics to discuss in my blog. I touched on ways to change our Federal Government without the pain of a Constitutional Convention in THIS entry – http://beemandave.com/beemanblog/blog/2017/01/10/sifting-through-the-ashes-part-2-a-instead-of-the-electoral-college-what/
However, I am also of the opinion that changing the political process will not address the root problems with America. I see some major issues that will have to be addressed before our Government, and our Nation, will turn back towards a more positive path for the country.
1) The Extremest elements in Congress will have to be voted out and replaced with more moderate views. I am fine with having at least two parties represented, as a diversity of views is the ONLY chance we have of finding the best path for the country. However, alas, since before Bill Clinton almost everyone has evolved to a view that the other side are foul demons from the depths of Hell. They are not Opponents with differing views…but Enemies who must be destroyed before they destroy US. This has, among other things, resulted in a Balkanization of Congress, eroding the concepts of civil discourse and compromise. This has brought us to the point that the attitude of almost all (Elected officials and Voters) is “Our Way Or The Highway”. The Left-Wingers are not without sin here, but, the Right-Wing is FAR more fanatical about this and has proved it time and time again. For example…Look at the way they dealt with the ACA. Not only were there huge delays in the process of getting it to a vote, but, in the process, it was stripped of so many of its provisions, leaving but a skeleton of what it started as. President Obama had a pretty great bill to start with. Yet, for a variety of reasons, the Republicans refused to negotiate on a fair basis. It was “our way or nothing”. What finally got passed was a great improvement, but, it was far from what could have been, and, its gutting has left us with problems that still affect all citizens.
The other example I submit is the Confirmation of a replacement Supreme Court Justice. It has been 11 months that the appointment of Merrick Garland as a replacement Justice. This has been blocked by Congress and allowed NO movement. This is an UNHEARD of length of time that has hurt the court’s ability to rule, and by extension, damaged the country. This blocking happened in spite of the fact that Pres. Obama’s choice IS a moderate, who (supposedly) everyone respected and has a strong reputation as a good Judge. He would have likely been an excellent Justice. Yet, the Congress not only refused to confirm him, but, they would not even give him a hearing to examine his qualifications. Now, in my view, this was one example of many of the Republicans in Congress failing to govern, and failing to do their appointed job. The unreasoning hatred that the Republicans in Congress have for President Obama and the Democrats ensured that they ignore what is best for the country, and instead do what they think is best for their Party.
2) The education of the population in general, and the Voting Public in specific needs to be addressed. the President-Elect did not win on rational debate, nor a solid, well thought out platform, nor, even, a respect for his character. He took the Office because he used inflammatory speech to dizzy and enrage his followers, to the point of being a lynch mob…not a group that should be electing a President. He also used the weaknesses of our Electoral System to take enough Electoral College Votes. He based his campaign on name calling and lies that would embarrass five year old children spatting on a playground. Finally, he had the help of America’s opponents who worked to spread lies and evil stories about his opponent, so as to undercut her reputation, creating mindless distrust.
These factors worked with the fact that (as with Congress), too many Americans have developed Extremest views. They have been failed by our educational system, which has not taught them the concepts of skeptical thinking, and using library skills to verify the truth of the statements made by a politician. The system has failed to teach them the concepts of civil discourse, examining facts, and being OK with changing one’s belief as one learns more about an issue.
Their parents and whatever source of ethics they grew up with (church, etc) have failed to instill a sense of tolerance for others and their views. This means that instead of respecting those people, we look upon them as ENEMIES to be destroyed. It has left us so limited in our view of reality and strength of character that while we may not BE misogynistic, racist, abusive, greed driven people for whom lying is such second nature that we have to WORK to tell the truth, those traits are not a deal breaker because we have convinced ourselves that the ONE issue we believe the candidate will go our way on overrides everything else.
3) The erosion of the roll the Electoral College plays in our system. It has moved too far from Hamilton’s view of its role in the process. In short..it has become a rubber stamp, constrained by (possibly unconstitutional) state laws, and political agendas, moving far from its original role as a firewall to keep a demagogue from using smoke and mirrors to take power in our country. I write at more detail on this in this blog post – http://beemandave.com/beemanblog/blog/2016/12/19/hamilton-weeps/ And in this post – http://beemandave.com/beemanblog/blog/2017/01/10/sifting-through-the-ashes-part-2-a-instead-of-the-electoral-college-what/ Note that these posts also touch on whether we should have to hold a Constitutional Convention or not. I believe that it would not be necessary if the state laws were repealed and the other changes I mention implemented.
Now…what can we, as Citizens who love our Country, what can we we do to keep the events of the day being such a train wreck that America will end up a smoking pile of debris on the great path of history? I suggest that here are some steps we can take.
Understand that anyone that tells you that a communication from you as a Constituent, to your Representative is a waste of time, because the politicians only pay attention to the lobbyists that write them the big checks, is lying to you. They are likely fearful that if you DO contact your Representative, it will destroy their chances for some big score from the Government.
Now…to help change your government and what it is doing, there are some simple things to do.
1) Use this tool – https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members to track down YOUR Representatives.
2) Email or call them to let them know your objection or support for the item of interest. When you do this, be SURE to follow these guidelines:
…..a) Be Clear about what you are talking about.
…..b) Do not write a lengthy, emotional rant. Be polite, and simply tell them whether you support or oppose the issue, and give them a single reason why you feel that way.
…..c) Repeat as necessary.
CLING to the basic truth that “All that Evil needs to succeed is for good people to do nothing” and use that as motivation.
Your Elected officials pay attention when 10,000 emails show up. They pay attention when thousands of constituents call them up. Why? Well, it is fairly simple. They like their jobs! They know that the folks that are contacting them are the voters that care and are paying attention to what they are doing. They are also the people that can vote for someone else if they are sufficiently unhappy with the job the incumbent is doing.
Politicians might ignore a petition with 10,000 signatures, but, 10,000 emails, phone calls, or snail mail notes make a big impact and will get their attention.
Then, contribute to the candidates who represent your views. Small donations are meaningful; time spent volunteering is meaningful; talking with folks about the views of your candidate and why you support them is meaningful. Finally, consider running for office. There are no better ways to get what you want done, than to do it yourself.
Educate yourself and others. Support your school systems, and push them to teach your children the vital skills of life I mentioned above. As for y’all…It is NEVER too late to learn something new. There are online courses available that are self-paced, and cover many of these topics. Most, if not all of them, are free too. Then, there is the alternative of Community College. There are excellent, small Colleges out there that can help us learn new things and they are not scarily expensive. Finally, when online…read and consider the alternative views out there. We all see things differently. Now, this is the Net, so, alas, it is likely that you will encounter a lot of folks who are closed minded, and have no valid arguments, so resort to name calling, and denigrating language. That is sad for them, but, I simply state the truth, and move on. Speaking of the truth…the Net is a complicated and deep Cyber-Ocean that contains truth and lies. When reading a web site, be aware of this, and make sure that any claims are backed up with evidence from reliable sources, and, that you can find at least two independent sources that provide that evidence. Also, read some of the other articles and see if they pass the smell test. If they seem kind of crazy…perhaps everything on the site is without basis.
Work to be tolerant. Try not to immediately reject another person completely because they have different views. Consider the points they are making, even if they disagree with yours. However, be strong in your beliefs, and if a person is being hateful, or basing their opinions on lies, do not put up with it. In a case like that, I will simply state the truth, and move on. Which, gets us back to the candidate question…I submit that if a candidate has many negative, abusive, hateful traits, even if they guarantee milk and honey will flow through the streets…reject them and DO not be sucked in by their lies.
The next few years are going to be a challenge for America. How we survive as a country will depend a great deal on how we, as individual citizens, react to the events that will happen. Will we throw up our hands, and walk through, staring at our Smart Phones and fuming on Facebook and other social media until we fall into a cesspool and drown? Will we end up a fanatical Theocracy that oppresses people whose life does not match ours? Will we live strong, and oppose the flood of Darkness and Evil that is coming? The answer to these questions depend on US as individual Citizens of what COULD be the greatest Country On Earth.
One day to go.
God Help Us All
Bee Man Dave
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