The Real Problem With America

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The insults hurled about in what passes for our politics are flagrant judgments that polarize us. As harmful to our republic are the insidious accusations buried in attack speak by those seeking to steal power for themselves.

Just the other day Republican candidate Marco Rubio (R-FL) went on another robotic rant, saying that one of his first acts as president, should he become that, will be to cancel all of the unconstitutional executive orders of President Obama. That, of course, was raw meat dripping blood for his angry followers and it was a great power trip for all. The only problem with it is that President Obama has not invoked a single executive order that is unconstitutional. Not even one. Perhaps Rubio doesn’t like any of them. That’s fine. His declaration of their unconstitutionality is not fine, and for more reasons than that he knows that what he’s saying is not true.

That kind of attack is exactly what puts more gasoline on the fire of distrust in government, which is now at 81%. So, too, are the repeatedly invoked descriptors of incompetent, loser, feckless, unlawful and others. When former senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) was interviewed on MSNBC last week she sneaked in a barb – really an assumptive “everybody knows” comment – about the unlawful Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). It might have been politically useful to make that accusation, but it was just as wrong as Rubio’s false accusation, as Obamacare has been challenged all the way to the Supreme Court repeatedly and with only one narrow exception, has been found to be quite constitutional.

These statements, along with the googly-eyed blathering of talk radio wing nuts are powerful forces for anger, hate, distrust and dysfunction. They represent the Big Lie told so often that people hearing it truly believe the anti-government, anti-anybody who disagrees with them talk. It polarizes our country even more, making it next to impossible for our government and our country to work and even for us to be civil with one another. It incrementally destroys America.

Read David Brooks’ essay The Governing Cancer of Our Time. His explanation is as insightful and powerful as any I’ve seen of the political polarization we’ve endured for at least three decades. Note especially his final point about what all the dysfunction leads to. Then come back here and offer your comments about what we can do to stop us from going further down this self-destructive path.

Late addition to this post: Read Paul Krugman’s piece, Twilight of the Apparatchiks for greater understanding of the institutionalized undermining of government and politics. Click through the despise government link and listen to the audio, too. Prepare to be shocked, but perhaps not surprised. JA


Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

ACTION STEP: Please offer your comments below and pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe.  Thanks!  JA

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One Response to The Real Problem With America
  1. dominick Reply

    “Then come back here and offer your comments about what we can do to stop us from going further down this self-destructive path.”

    It seems that Brooks promotes “political compromise”, a clear example of outdated thinking – letting politicians talk with each other, and making decisions without listening to their constituents. This ignores our 21st century technologies where citizens no longer need political brokers to represent their interests – especially ones that do not listen to their constituents. Isn’t it obvious that political polarization is the result of political parties fighting with each other to gain or maintain power?

    Like religious institutions, our political system is a faith-based institution. The politically faithful listen to the speeches of their politicians seeking promises of a better future for themselves. When these promises are not fulfilled, most of the faithful continue to accept voting as their only option for civic responsibility. Republican and Democrat voters alike continue to make self-destructive decisions based on promises, instead of challenging the accountability of politicians – before they vote for them. This can be done with a simple honor pledge.

    Therefore, what you can do is to stop fawning over a political candidate you think will represent your interests. If you have personal contact with a candidate running for office this year, hand them a copy of my pledge of honor to be accountable to you. Send an email copy to others, and their responses, or lack of responses, will clearly identify if they intend to listen to you after they are elected.

    Unfortunately, no presidential or Congressional candidates in this years’ election may sign this pledge, even though it could guarantee they would win their election. I have no doubt that Bernie would be our next President if he did. Thus, we will likely be stuck electing the lesser of two evils in our higher levels of government this year. However, if you want to step off the path of self-destruction, will you start the process of electing accountable representatives this year, or continue to listen to promises?