Greetings and Salutations;
This article “Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.” came across my desktop today. It was so relevant to the insanity in the Political World today that I thought I would send it out into the Cyber Ocean myself.
Written some four years ago,, in an opinion piece in the Washington Post, the observations voiced in it are still very true and worryingly relevant. The situation has, alas, gotten so much worse since then. The Republican party has become a collection of raving, mad fanatics, who, like the mindless Zombies in “The Walking Dead” and similar programs are moving towards destruction of our world. Although they claimed they were wanting to “Make America Great Again”, so far, there have been no signs that this is happening. All the changes they are implementing help the 1%ers, and hurt the rest of us..
Can America survive this collection of madness, intolerance, and the lack of governing skill? I fear that the answer is “No”, and that the coming Winter will be one of the worst periods for America that it has ever seen. The Democrats have their problems, of course, but in comparison with the hive of madness that the Republicans are caught in now, they are like a couple of kittens spatting over a catnip toy.
What, then, can we, as Citizens, do about this problem? Let me hit some high points here.
- I have been puzzled by this last Presidential election ever since the campaigns kicked off.
One problem for me was the length of time that the dog and pony show went on. 24 months for a political campaign is just a bad idea. It seems to me that a few months (say 3 months) should be quite sufficient time to allow the candidates to debate each other several times, and to re-enforce the points of the party platform. This last General Election campaign was so long, and so full of hateful rhetoric it simply ended up producing a weary population that would do almost anything to get it to stop.
- We, as a country, should not tolerate the blatant and constant lies presented by the Republicans. The statistics from the fact checkers show that for every single lie produced by a Democratic party candidate, the Republicans produced hundreds of lies and slander. Some time ago, I offered a “Three Strikes” rule to govern the campaigns. It is pretty simple, but, I hope, not simplistic. I said that if a candidate is shown to have generated a “Pants on Fire” lie – a lie so egregious that even his supporters say “WOW!!! I cannot believe he said that!”, THREE times…they should be banned from the current campaign and not allowed to run for office for at least 10 years.
- We must, as a Country, elect politicians who have principles, and yet are not so fanatical that they will reject the tool of compromise. For me, compromise is defined as “the art of horse trading so that both parties walk away feeling as if they have gotten the best of the deal” I am sure I do not have to give examples of how this art has been crushed to death, burned and the ashes scattered to the corners of the world by the Republicans over the past 20 years or so. Giving up a little bit in order to get a majority of one’s agenda is a smart way to live.
- Speaking of Principles, we, as a People, must be willing to keep an active view of our Representatives. We need to keep track of them, and if they are not truly representing our views, we need to vote them out and replace them. We are pretty terrible at this, though. Even in the last, highly contested, election, where emotions ran high, and there were continual screams about “Cleaning out the Swamp” and “We want CHANGE” and such, the fact is that nearly 100% of the incumbents were returned to office. That is not cleaning out anything, or making changes. It is sucking up to the status quo as if it was the only life-raft in the middle of the ocean!
- As Citizens, it is vital that we stay engaged in the political process. In the last election, the president elect got 24% of the total possible votes. He LOST THE POPULAR VOTE by 2.8 million votes…and only took the Office because he and his team knew how to play the system. Nearly half the possible voters did not even bother to go to the poles! It can be challenging to vote, as life can be difficult and complicated. but it is vital to make that effort if we truly love our country, and want to improve it.. This huge pool of non-voters is one of the major reasons that we have a clown in office that is turning America into a focus of mockery all around the world and working as fast as he can to destroy all social progress made in the past 40 plus years.
- We need to ensure that the results of the Election represent the will of the people. There are three major changes that need to happen for this to be true. 1) the massive gerrymandering that perverts the ability of voters to register and vote on an level playing field needs to vanish. All districts in America need to be re-drawn, preferably by computer, according to the population in an area…NOT by political parties. 2) The State Laws which hobble the Electoral College need to be repealed. 3) The Electors in the College have GOT to understand what their job is. In this last election the College Voters failed to uphold their Mandate, as expressed by Hamilton in the Federalist Papers #68. They have become a rubber stamp for the election results and this is NOT right.
Will this happen? I doubt it, because Americans are liars. They lie to each other, and they lie to themselves about what they really want. The claim was that they wanted change in this last election. Yet, what they voted for was a crazy combination of clinging to the status quo, and wanted to burn the house down…never mind the fact that they are locked in the living room of that house! The Republicans are not likely to support such change, as they benefit from it. After all, they took control of the government in the last election thanks to those weaknesses in the system.
We do not have to be the “perfect activist”. We do not have to be out chaining ourselves to construction equipment; or being arrested at protests; or chasing down our Representatives all the time and pressuring them to support or oppose a given issue. It can be as simple as spending five minutes sending an email or calling one’s Representative, and letting them know what your feelings are on an issue when we see news of something important to us.
It can be learning the skills to talk with people of opposing views, and not simply end up in a screaming match. One of these is to start the conversation with the understanding that neither of your is going to change the other person’s mind! A good technique is listening to what they say, and then restating it back to them. In theory, this shows them that you ARE listening to them and their concerns, and are not simply dismissing them. This is pretty difficult to do these days, alas, as there was so much emotion in the past election, and the chaos that started with that unexpected result is still stirring up a really deep and dark pool, that it is too easy for the conversation to deteriorate into taking stances, and name-calling.
I hope I am proven wrong, of course, but, one of my rules for living is “Hope for the best, but expect the worst”. So far, my expectations have been met.
God Help Us All
Bee Man Dave