What’s happening across America is fascinating, disturbing, compelling, and confusing at the same time. People of all different political positions share one thing in common: conviction. They truly believe in their hearts that their particular ideology is what’s best for the country. Their candidate will bring peace, harmony, security, and justice. The reality is  we will never have a perfect world, no matter who is in charge.

When you look across the political spectrum from far left to far right there is another commonality. At the extremes there is always a small group of people who take advantage of the population. There is also a tendency for all governments to increase control and power. We, the people, have been so comfortable and apathetic with our way of life that we have abandoned our government. We have left it so much on its own that over the years it has become a meme running on its own. We have succumbed to corruption and tolerated it to the point that we no longer consider character to be necessary in a candidate. We are willing to accept criminal behavior and a lack of civility as normal in our candidates and lawmakers. It is the ideology, right or left, that must be victorious. Nothing else seems to count. The left portrays itself as the party of the poor, the underprivileged, the persecuted. The right portrays itself as the champion of capitalism promising a better life for all by increasing businesses, creating more jobs, and thereby advancing opportunity for all. It promotes individualism (the individual is responsible for his own success or failure). The left wishes to level the playing field so that the earnings of all citizens are equally shared by all citizens.

The government of the Unites States was brilliantly founded upon the concept that “all men are created equal”. Although not originally equal for women and minorities, the principle has stood until recently.  Movements are working to correct these injustices. History is replete with the stories of the “have nots” overthrowing the “haves,” followed by a new group of “haves” in need of overthrowing by the “have nots”.

Currently, the left represents the “have nots”. The right represents “the haves”. However, the truth is a little more insidious. On the left, there are leaders and candidates, who in reality, have significant wealth which they use to attain power. They pander to the “disenfranchised” in order to attain their vote keep leaders in power and retain their financial interests. An occasional idealist will arise in the ranks who sincerely wishes to promote the ideology at no particular benefit to himself. He will subsequently be challenged and eventually replaced by the more avaricious leaders. This situation establishes the need for control of the populace by the courts, the police, and/or the military. They are needed to enforce the laws they will pass to prevent anyone from rising out of the population as a challenge to the system. Ultimately, the majority of people will live a meager life style as individual wealth will disappear, except for the leaders. Taxation is necessarily high for everyone and ambition becomes nonexistent.

On the right, there will arise industrial barons who will amass great wealth by providing products and services to the masses.  The result is a tolerated level of poverty with a preference for the dominant social group. With the extreme wealth of individuals and organizations, corruption develops and political candidates line their pockets from the support of wealthy interest groups. This results in a corrupt government in which laws are passed– not for the general good– but to bolster the already wealthy and powerful. It is for this reason that necessary expenditures may be bypassed while legislation is passed that may not be meaningful (e.g., failure to address needed improvements in infrastructure while some monument to a local figure in a small city is approved).

Until the present, our political system, although flawed, has worked exquisitely well because the leaders have viewed themselves as Americans first and party members second. There was a sense of friendly competition allowing for negotiation across the aisle frequently allowing for decisions supportive of the country as a whole. But, in the last two to three decades a serious political divide has developed in the United States. I believe this has occurred as a result of the political need for the support of large interest groups. On the left, African Americans, Hispanics, women, and homosexual groups have arisen to demand equal treatment. The political need and the growth of entitlement have forced the left to move further to the left than previously. The response of the right (e.g. the tea party) has been to perceive these movements as threatening to the traditional way of life in this country. Large corporations, especially with international ties, have become more loyal to their bottom line than to the country and its people. Elections are bought and lobbyists drive lawmakers to support profitable legislation. As a result of these systems, true statesmen seem to be disappearing from the scene.

It is my opinion that ultimately this is an economic battle in which the average citizen is a pawn in a war for power and wealth on both sides of the spectrum. Both sides preach about the need for campaign financing reform but I doubt they really want it as both liberal and conservative leaders would be deprived of income from supporters. It is for the same reason that we have talked about tax reform forever, but nothing has happened. Lobbyists would be out of work as tax advantages would be lost by their constituents.

Entitlements could be more effective and efficiently administered if lawmakers would be making decisions based upon the needs of the people rather than the needs of their wealthy owners.

Ideology would still be present but more honest and intellectual than financially driven.

What if rather than media driven we developed a system in which there would be no advertisements allowed. Instead there would be publicly funded debates or town halls. Only the candidates allowed to speak and limited to a specific time. These could be as frequently as the governed area wishes. Some of these could be a neutral presentation of civics, the constitution, or any other relevant topic to our nation. People would get a tax credit for each session attended. Based upon some of the “man on the street” interviews this public education is sorely needed.

Just My Opinion

Tom