Friday, April 22, 2011

Have We Become Ungovernable?

O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, for purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain! America! America! God shed his grace on thee. And crown thy good with brotherhood. From sea to shining sea!

~America the Beautiful           

It appears some of our greatest strengths have now become some of our greatest weaknesses.  There was a time when I sincerely thought that no matter what, we were ALL Americans.  That was our great strength.  We were a melting pot.  Yeah, I know... it sounds kinda sappy - I KNOW - but it's true. 

For the amber waves of grain in the Nebraskan cornfields, to the purple mountain majesties in Colorado, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, we were brothers (and sisters).  And outside of the EXTREME minority, we all wanted to see each other succeed and prosper.

Not so much anymore.

Not only does the American public feel that Republicans and Democrats can't work together, but that they won't work together.  To make matters worse, the rift between the two parties has trickled down to the public and now the under-informed, strictly ideological, single-issue voters are wrecking havoc with one another.  Is this the first time our country has regressed to such a point?  NO, but the last time it went past the point of no return, it ended with a war between the states, the "formation" of a separate government, and the death of the president of the United States.

While I hope and pray we NEVER get to that point, it still feels as though we are at a place where truth and common sense, absolutely do not exist in our public discourse.  Literally, EVERYTHING is spin.  Everything is about gaining and advantage.  Everything is about the polls and the next election cycle.  What's even sadder is that we accept it, and write it off as "politics as usual."

Leader John Beohner said the Democrats wanted to shut the government down - since they didn't want to defund Planned Parenthood.  As if defunding PP had ANYTHING to do with the desire to shut the government down.

Earlier this week, Paul Ryan hosted a town hall meeting and said that raising the taxes on the Uber-rich would hurt job creation, knowing full well that a 3% bump wouldn't change their hiring potential.

Not to be outdone, even President Obama was called out by Jon Stewart when he called raising taxes a "spending reduction in the tax code":

What? “Spending reductions in the tax code”? The tax code isn’t where we spend, it’s where we collect, and that…. ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I guess what you said is tax “code”, code for raising taxes. You managed to talk about a tax hike as a spending reduction. Can we afford that and the royalty checks you’re going to have to send to George Orwell? That’s the weirdest way of… just say “tax hike”! That’s like saying, “I’m not going on a diet, I’m going to add calories to my excluded food intake!”
But this is where we are now.  Our presidents are bought by the Uber-rich, our Supreme Court is loaded with ideologues, and the idea of compromise is a sign of weakness in our legislative branch.  Let's see, that is the Executive Branch, the Judicial Branch, and the Legislative Branch!  Well hell, that's the damn Triple Crown. 

Our Government policy isn't black or white, it is the "gray area" tying the "waves of grain" to the "purple mountains."  Today, if you settle in that gray area, you are crucified and ridiculed in the media (even here on our own blog), voted out of office, and your supporters turn against you.  As a result, there is no compromising.  There is no middle ground.  It's Sun Tzu, and the first one to give up ground, loses.  Our politics have eroded to such a point, we've had elected officials run from their state and legislation rammed through with hardly any pause to find common ground.  In D.C. we narrowly avoided one governmental shutdown, with potentially two more on the horizon (with the debt ceiling and FY2012 budget) if the Republicans don't get their way 100%.  Gone are the days where the citizens picket because of the war.  Now, we simply picket because we don't like the other party. 

Is this where we are today?  A government of Ike Turner style negotiations?  "Eat the budget plan, Sen. Reid"

Can democracy hit a wall?  Is it possible for it to get to a point where it is basically ineffective - strike that - destructive.  We are on the verge of collapse simply based on ideological differences.  When Obama was a senator, he voted against the raising the debt ceiling, now, of course, he is demanding it.  And, holding true to partisan form, on the other side of the isle, under Bush, Republicans were demanding to raise the debt limit.  Now, under Obama, they "will not support an increase."  Well which is it damn it?  It's like little children taking their ball home when they don't get their way!  Can everyone grow the hell up?  It's as if the "amber waves" are saying "to hell with the 'purple mountains,' we will shut this bitch down if we have too!" 

Of course, when we aren't holding our standing in the world for ransom, then we are shoving ideology down each other's throats.  Even with the full understanding that when the other party has complete power, they will undo everything they don't like.  How is that any way to run a government?  We've literally shrunk to a government of recalls and repeals.

I don't know...something makes me feel as if our rights may be fueling the destruction of our government.  Just like our differences made us a great country, so have our rights.  Don't get me wrong, other countries look at the U.S. in envy over our freedom of speech, religion, and press.  But our freedom of speech has turned away from a constructive critique of government officials - including the president.  Our freedom of religion has turned into Qu'ran burnings, and our freedom of the press has turned into corporate talking points for the left and the right. 

We've pushed our rights to such a degree, it is as if we have no respect for the presidents anymore.  We've evolved from constructive criticisms and holding them accountable, to a full out assault on them personally.  Its as if the opposing party doesn't give a damn about the people.  They only care about the power and money (again, I'm not shocked - just irritated).  It has become mainstream and acceptable to call President Bush a war criminal or President Obama a Muslim-Socialist.  Never mind the fact that the weaker we make him look on a global scale, the weaker our status becomes.  We are willing to sacrifice our role in the world, if it means MY candidate can get into office!  Rush Limbaugh said he hoped President Obama failed!  Why?  Because you disagree with the means?  Shouldn't you hope the results are good?  I may disagree with the Paul Ryan budget plan, but if it is adopted and it succeeds - GREAT!  That's a GOOD thing!  Not a bad thing simply because it made a Republican look good and a Democrat look bad!  That's not politics, that's narcissism, and you need to get that shit professionally checked out.    If it isn't the end game we are concerned with, then why the hell are we playing at all?

Sure, the debate on the role of government is as old as the government itself, but if that debate grows to the point of federal paralysis, then it isn't governing.  It's a pissing contest played with tax dollars.  How about we put aside the petty bullshit issues and find that common ground.  And hey, while we're at it, why don't we incorporate things that we learned in kindergarten.  Like sharing, and compromising.  If my 5-year-old niece can do it, then I damn sure expect a grown ass man/woman too.  And it doesn't involve forcing your personal agenda onto the opposing party.  Historically, even with our differences, for better or for worse, we've been able to move forward.  Can we NOT be the generation that regresses.... please? 

Can our government reach a point of diminishing returns?
Can our rights be abused to the point were we regress as a nation?
Are our ideological differences making our government ineffective?
blog comments powered by Disqus