Both the Democrats and the Republicans have changed positions of power in our government several times since the end of the Clinton presidency. Both parties come into power acting like they have this huge mandate behind them – they have not had this or even close.
Think back to the presidential election between Al Gore and G.W. Bush. This election was finally decided by some questionable analysis of hanging chads on votes cast in Florida. If there ever was an election that deserved to have an insurrection like this past January 6th, that was one, but Al Gore stepped aside and the 2nd Bush presidency began.
There was no mandate backing this presidency, yet Bush and his administration ruled like they had one. We got an Iraq War and worse from this gang. Tax cuts continued for the most wealthy Americans as well as doubling down again on Trickle Down Economics.
Next we get President Obama, and again changes that would make one think the election was this overwhelming mandate – it wasn’t. The Affordable Health Care Act came out of the early part of the Obama presidency and then we got six years of Republican obstruction thanks to Mitch McConnell et al. Yes, our health care system was and is crying for help. Starting with more than partisan support for change would be a better beginning and build on that. And, it is about time everyone knew that the health insurance industry wrote the Obama Care legislation – we got what the insurance industry wanted, not what we needed.
President Obama was followed by Trump, another loser in the popular vote, but the voodoo math of the electoral college puts Trump in office. We get additional tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and large corporations. The argument was all kinds of profits banked off shore would be returned to the U.S. and we would get investments in our economy as well as good jobs – nope, did not happen.
Trump backed us out of any kind of a commitment to working with other nations to help solve the world’s problems. His was a world of one, us, and nobody else mattered. There never was an admission that we share this planet with anybody.
Now, with President Biden, there is another attempt to push through too much legislation – legislation that speaks of an overwhelming mandate behind it which there is not. Yes, there are many good points to the Biden agenda, but the sharply divided country is not accepting of a flood tide of Democratic talking points come to life in legislation.
It seems like both parties are guilty of trying to ram down the country’s throat their agendas when they change positions of power. What is wrong with meeting each other half-way? To borrow some lyrics from a song, “…sometimes you cannot get what you want, but you can get what you need…” Sorry, I do not know who to give credit for this, but the verse fits.
Our government is plagued with gross dysfunction. The Congress is bogged down with rules created by the two parties that really deny any debate or even raising issues that need to be addressed. If this continues, these two parties will bring the entire system down around our necks in wreckage. It is close now.
It seems like a starting point is mutual recognition of some problems, any problem would do for a start. Yes, there are two sides to a solution, so find a middle ground and work with that. The key here is mutual recognition of a problem.
We are locked into a struggle for the future. One side wants to unwind the country and government that grew out of World War II. The other side wants a federal government that works and is the platform for building a better future for all Americans. In many ways, the side that wants to undo the government of the last 75 years or so wants to return to a system that resembles the country in its first years under the Articles of Confederation where each state was really a country of itself. If not that, then there is a desire to return to the post Civil War country that allowed the South to ignore the outcome of the war and create a social system that allowed for a perpetual sub-status for the nation’s black Americans.
If we unwind the government that came out of WWII, we revert to a system where some states will go back to allowing and fostering inequalities that were common prior to the civil rights movement, some already are doing just this with voting rights restrictions. It is not just coincidence that these divisions can be graphically demonstrated with a map that shows the Confederacy and the border states that provided support to the Confederacy. It was not without meaning that the Confederate flag was paraded through our Capitol building last January 6th.
And then there are the big problems like climate change and how to tax ourselves fairly and provide for the needs and challenges of the 21st century. There are long lists of subproblems under these two categories that beg for our attention and need bipartisan work. Yet, we are locked in a struggle for the nation’s soul and if it is to have a soul at all.
Sorry, but there are no good outcomes here if this continues. We have real problems that need to be addressed, not party driven nonsense, and it is about time somebody was charged with a crime and prosecuted.