“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it.” – Mark Twain
The title of this blog is a bit misleading, especially to my friends and family who know my political views and how passionate I am when it comes to certain topics. Those who have been subjected to my rants, (whether they themselves caused them or a headline fired me up and they happened to be around me) will find the title of this blog and it’s content vastly different from what they would expect. Sorry in advance.
Revolutions have taken place in different countries throughout history for a variety of reasons. They can be social revolutions, vastly changing an aspect of society, to armed revolutions, changing a form of government through force. While they can differ in execution, the one constant behind every type of revolution is people being unhappy with the way things are, and seeking a way to change it.
The founding fathers of our nation took on the burden of a revolution against a world super power. Their grievances against the overreach and tyranny of the British Empire went unheard and ignored by those in power in England. The Colonials tried to find a way to remain British citizens but to ensure they got treatment as such, but when the King and Parliament ignored their requests, revolution was the only way forward. They were reluctant revolutionaries; they didn’t want to break away, but it came to a point that they had to act. A people can only go unheard and overlooked for so long before they decide they need to make a change.
In my opinion, that is where we are now in American society. 244 years after we decided we were not going to be ruled by a group of elites, we now have allowed a different group of elites to rule us once again. We the people have decided through our inaction that our futures and the future of our Republic are in the hands of career politicians who work only for two things; their own wealth, which with that wealth comes power; and the interest of the party that got them in their position of power.
American politicians during elections cycles will talk of how they know what’s best for their constituents and the country. They will play up what their role is, the voice of the people, stating their way is the way forward. They will state how hard they will fight the “other side” if given the opportunity to. This is the basis of where our political system in general and the country as a whole is right now; us versus them.
Two Parties to Rule Them All.
We have two parties that control what happens in the nation, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. Let’s not pretend that the other political parties have any real influence. They are always at odds with each other; both sides will always state they are willing to “work across the aisle” with the other side when in reality the opposite is true. These two parties value nothing beyond what is best for their party, the donors to their party, and how best to maintain control in different political offices. If one party controls a majority of the House or Senate, and the opposite party holds the presidency, they continually block anything the president does, and that president will veto most anything the other party puts forth.
Further, if a member of a party is seen working with the “others” that member is ostracized, shunned and the power from the party pushes them out come the next election cycle. Even if that issue is what is best for the nation, party loyalty is valued above all else. One party can do something that the other says is wrong or ridiculous, only to see a similar issue arise and then the roles reversed and both sides now holding opposite views because of the actions of the other.
The best example I have of this is when Supreme Court Justice Scalia passed away in 2016. Then President Barack Obama planned to nominate a justice to fill the vacancy, which was met with resistance from the Republican Party. Their grievance was that it was an election year and Obama was on his way out having served his two terms. In their eyes the appointing of a justice by an outgoing president was wrong and they would not vote on such an appointment.
Fast forward to 2019 and Senator Mitch McConnel was asked if there was a vacancy in the Supreme Court in 2020 (an election year) would he have the Senate hold a vote on a nominee and he stated yes they would. Partisan politics at it’s finest.
Another example is what we currently have going on in America with the divisiveness. In 2014 a group of cattle ranchers that had grazing rights on Bureau of Land Management(BLM) land were threatened to have their cattle removed due to a change in grazing rules. I’m not going to go into the politics of this particular case, but what followed was an armed stand off with the ranchers and their supporters who took over federal buildings on this land and federal agents. Democratic politicians, to include Senator Harry Reid, called the ranchers and their supporters domestic terrorists, while Republican politicians like Nevada Senator Dean Heller called them Patriots and freedom fighters.
Now, following the tragic death of George Floyd on 25 May 2020, protests in various major cities have led to riots and violence, including the occupation of the now infamous Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone in Seattle. Federal buildings, police precincts and other buildings have been destroyed or occupied by rioters. True to form, the support or admonishment of these acts fall along the partisan fault lines. Democratic leaders, including those who run the cities that these actions have taken place at, call them peaceful demonstrators who should just be left alone, while Republicans called them, you guessed it, domestic terrorists.
Death of Discourse by Social Media.
Our society’s dependence on social media is another reason why we seem so divided anymore. Click-bait articles and memes have replaced independent thought and critical analysis. Social media is where many on our society get their news from, which is an unfortunate circumstance. I say that because anyone can create and post anything on a social media platform and by and large a majority of people will not fact check it, or will rely on Facebook “fact checkers” to do it (give me a break).
We are an instant gratification society. If we can’t get the answer we want in the first few lines of an article posted online we move on. Hell I’m surprised you’ve made it this far in my blog. So now supporters of the parties can post a meme or headline to fire up their base, and it doesn’t even have to be true and people will share it. My favorite people (sarcasm) on social media do not put their own belief out there but will repost a meme without any context or not having fact checked it’s validity. This leads me to believe that social media is a propaganda tool for the two parties (and also as we discovered following the 2016 election, a useful tool for our enemies to fuel divisiveness).
We as a society place way too much validity on social media. We use it as a news source, we can block or unfriend anyone we don’t agree with and corner ourselves into echo chambers with like minded individuals and never have to hear a dissenting opinion. It is easy to then look at those we view as “the others” in a way that dehumanises them and validates that our way is the right and just way. The two political parties know the power of social media, and they use it to it’s full potential to ensure we are divided. Social media is a mental disease that our society has, and our political leaders are our enablers in ensuring we stay focused on using it.
The Poison of Career Politicians.
Probably the biggest issue in our political system is that we have a large number of what is termed “career politicians”. These are individuals who have served in office for decades, sometimes in the same position they started in all those years before.
When the Founding Fathers established our form of government, the central idea was that the leaders were elected by the people, to represent our interest. It was seen as public service; the idea being you go to Washington and serve a term, then return to your former life having done your service. This kept the representatives close to their electorate.
Today, we have officials who have been in politics for decades, who have long since forgotten what it is like to live as a private citizen. Many of those who currently serve graduated college and went straight into politics, not having a real job. It shows in their actions and how they speak.
The above individuals are just two examples of what is completely wrong with our system. Individuals serving for decades in a role that is supposed to be public service. They may enter the political arena with the best of intentions; but through the decades they have become the system they set out to join. These senior leaders in our system make the rules; they know how all the political games are played and thus have the control. This isn’t just an issue from the Democratic Party or the Republican Party; BOTH sides are infected with multiple examples of this.
Everyone looks to the president as to why the nation is in whatever condition it is at any given time. In reality, a person serving, in the best case scenario, two four year terms has little impact, whereas these career members of Congress hold the true power. They can choose to override a presidential veto on bills, they can fire up their base, and the only time the two sides work together is to vote on their own raises. Remember, WE the people elect them, yet they can decide how much of a raise they deserve. What other job can you hold where those that put you in your position have no say in your pay raise? They are supposed to answer to the electorate, yet once they have secured another term they go back to their partisan games at our expense. The only time they even acknowledge their constituents is during an election cycle.
Their positions were never intended to be decades long career posts. They have created an environment where they run the show, at our expense. The average member of Congress has a salary of $174,000 a year, and the House Majority and Minority leaders make $193,000.
While their salary is on paper that amount, their own personal net worth is exponentially more. Using the two examples above, Mitch McConnell’s net worth is $22.5 million, and Joe Biden’s is $11 million. Being in public office for such an extended time, combined with their net worth, makes them so far removed from what the life experience of the average American they claim they represent.
I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it; these careerists are at a point where they need to be reminded who they work for. They need to be made an example of by the people, reminded that their percieved power is limited by those who they are supposed to represent. Until that happens, our system will still be a cycle of corruption and severe partisanship.
Responsibility of the Electorate.
As much as I clearly loath career politicians, in the order of fairness they can not take all of the blame. Trust me it hurts to admit this, however it is true. The way this whole political system is supposed to work requires the electorate to be active participants in the process.
That doesn’t mean to just show up and vote and then we are off the hook until the next election. It means that we need to research candidates, understand their policies and then holding them accountable if they are fortunate enough to be our representative. If they act in a way that we don’t agree with, we the people should be contacting them and making our voices heard. If there is a piece of legislation that we support, we need to let them know that as our representative they should be representing our interest by voting for it.
In our current society, that is severely lacking, yet people always complain about the government and how it isn’t working for them. Well it’s not working for you because you don’t make your voice heard. Bottom line, we the people need to stop being lazy when it comes to deciding who is sent to represent us. Voting isn’t enough, holding them to their word, to what they said they would do if elected, is critically important.
Lastly, a big issue in how these careerists maintain power is people voting straight ticket. People go into voting booths and look for an R or a D next to a name and choose the person accordingly. This is a terrible way to exercise your right to vote. Knowing nothing about a candidate, yet you select them based on their party affiliation is why we are where we are in our system. It’s plain lazy and not how you make a functioning government. Bottom line, the electorate holds the power, and more importantly the responsibility in determining the path the nation goes down. For too long we the people have failed and taken the path of least resistance. Enough is enough.
A Call to Arms.
Every revolution has a call to arms, so here is mine. We need to remind the politicians running our country who they work for. It’s time to enact term limits on all politicians from the local to the federal level.
People want term limits, and honestly they are necessary. But you will NEVER get legislation requiring term limits passed by the current office holders. Guess what? We don’t need them to enact it. We the people vote, and yet somehow the same long time office holders continue to hold those positions. The electorate has the ability to enact term limits, whether those in power want them or not.
If you are disenfranchised by what has happened to our nation, if you feel change is strongly needed to fix the political situation in our country, then it is time to be part of the solution instead of continually contributing to the problem. Here is what I am doing and I urge all Americans to do the same; find out how long each candidate for office has been in politics, it’s as easy as a google search. Then, if they have been in office for ten years or more, vote them out. I don’t care if you like the individual or not. It is time to shake up the political system and show these career elitists that we the people have had enough of their bullshit. It is time to have the electorate take back the power that the founders intended. We can start now. We the people get the government we deserve. Think about that. Unhappy with the way things are? Well you put them there. Whether you voted straight ticket, for a name you recognized, or didn’t vote at all, your actions contributed to the current situation. How about we rectify it all and do the right thing. It’s time for a revolution.