We Must Re-establish Standards for Government
Before I begin, let me first state that I am not a big proponent of anything being “normal.” In fact, I don’t think “normal” even exists, meaning there is no actual “normal.” However, when it comes to government and the services we ask that they provide us, we have all come to depend on the stability of said government to keep things on an even keel and create reasonable expectations.
For example, we expect the people in government to honor their oath of office and hold the Constitution in high esteem. Therefore, we have always been able to expect the government to protect our rights. We also expect everyone in government to understand the importance of decorum and adhering to a standard of behavior that doesn’t cast the country as a whole in a bad light. Most of all, we expect the people we elect to understand that THEY work in service to us, and not the other way around.
That’s all been shot to hell in the last few years.
For the purposes of this column, let’s just say “normal” is what most of the government accepted and adhered to for the first 200-plus years of this country’s existence. The government ran smoothly and we became the most admired nation in the world in many ways because the government worked well. Consider: we once sent men to the moon and returned them safely to the Earth just because we wanted to. More importantly, we once built a society in which nearly everyone worked and in which one head of household could work and make enough to support everyone else in the family. We once had a rapidly and solidly expanding middle class and we were at least acknowledging our failures in the areas of poverty and civil rights and addressing them. We were truly a “can do” nation who met every challenge head on and usually found solutions to problem.
Unfortunately, at some point, we took a “right turn” and allowed the wrong people to win election far too often, and we stood by and watched as the Republican Party collected the dregs of society and became a political party that in no way reflects how most Americans think about anything.
I have written this before, but it’s worth repeating; the current incarnation of the Republican Party has essentially turned us into a “can’t do nation.”
And let’s be clear; Trump is less a problem than a symptom. A healthy political party with the best interests of the American people uppermost in their mind would never have allowed an idiot like Trump to get their party’s nomination in the first place, and they sure as shit would not continue to support this monster.
Everything Trump says and does is because he pays close attention to the current Republican base, which is dominated by racists and white supremacists, and morons who imagine that the country has been overrun by their cartoon version of “liberals” and all they really care about is one-upping us “libtards.” Seriously, everything about the current GOP is completely binary. There are “conservatives” and there are “liberals” and nothing in between.
We used to have a vision. We used to envision a country in which everyone had flying cars; now the very idea of a bullet train scares the shit out of too many people, even though other countries have had them for years. We love our smartphones, but we have allowed huge corporations get bigger and bigger and dictate to us what we can do with them. That’s an example of the extent that we have allowed the far right take over our country.
We used to see the possibilities of certain things. For example, look at what New Zealand did in the wake of the worst mass shooting in the history of the country. They banned certain guns and THE PEOPLE accepted it and happily turned in their guns. Compare that to here, where doing background checks on every gun buyer was supported by more than 90 percent of the people, but the politicians running the government did nothing about it, even when some mentally ill monster shot up an elementary school and killed 20 babies between the ages of 5 and 7, or when some asshole broke a window in a Las Vegas Hotel and gunned down hundreds who were watching a country music concert. Even though the assault weapons ban resulted in the first significant reduction in gun deaths we had seen in years, the Republicans running Congress let it lapse in 2004 and the numbers have been climbing since.
And no, the culprit is not the Second Amendment. There is nothing in that Amendment that allows any individual citizen to keep an armory full of whatever gun they decide they want. In fact, it has been well settled by the courts that all levels of government are within their power to regulate guns in any way they see fit. But Republicans read about one-third of the Second Amendment absolutely literally, and ignore the other two-thirds, and treat the right to bear arms as absolute, which no right is, actually. And we allow it because it has seeped into our politics that we can do nothing about guns. That has to change.
Then there is the privatization of everything. We have allowed our government to fuse itself into private industry and we have allowed ourselves to become extremely vulnerable in the process. We keep hearing how the Russians and the Chinese have hacked into our power grid and can shut it down anytime they want, and yet, the current government is more concerned with putting up a wall on our southern border and jailing children who happen to be from another country.
At some point, we have to grab hold of our democracy and take it back for ourselves. After all, we own it. The 2018 election was a good start, but if “we, the people” are going to take this country back for ourselves, we absolutely MUST replace every possible Republican and re-establish standards for our society that ALL politicians must follow.
It’s time we take back this country for the people. That involves a lot more than getting rid of Trump and the GOP. When we had standards, we became the greatest country in the world. Since we started electing too many Republicans, their bullshit lack of “vision” has gotten into the water. A lot of people think like right-wingers, including many left-wingers, and it will take a long time to counter that. If you wonder why so many people seem to vote against their interests, well, that’s the right wing talking. The right-wing Republicans have been telling us what our interests should be and it’s seeped into the political ether.
It will take a lot of patience and we will probably have to go through a lot of politicians in the next decade or so, but we have to return to the standards that made us great.
Originally published at The Pragmatic Progressive.