The Best Way to Determine Leadership? Or a Corrupt, Divisive, Failed System?
This is about why we need to share political power rather than fight for power over each other, because we cannot have a truly united nation, and we cannot have a government that is truly of the people, by the people and for the people, as long as we are perpetually divided by a partisan political system and competition for a throne of power.
Instead, since our government does not serve our interests and instead favors and entitles the wealthiest few, we should fulfill our right and duty to alter and reform our government, claim our divine inheritance as equal joint heirs, and establish government that is actually of, by, and for the people at long last.
Remember, in 1861 U.S. President Abraham Lincoln said: "A house divided against itself cannot stand."
Lincoln said that as the national union was being broken by Southern states, which led to the Civil War. And Lincoln was of course quoting Jesus of Nazareth, who was speaking not only of a house as we think of it, but also as a nation (as Isaiah did speaking of the Jewish nation being the "House of Jacob").
Lincoln and The Civil War (1861-1865) are relevant to this discussion because that war changed America. Its impact and repercussions have been felt ever since. It made partisan political conflict and division worse, and it set back rather than furthered progress toward real democracy in America.
Granted, the great American experiment in trying to establish democracy has produced some successes in getting the people to pull together democratically toward the common good, but those successes were only partial, and they have not lasted long.
For example, in 1800 Thomas Jefferson's and James Madison’s Democratic Republican Party won a fiercely contested election over very wealthy banking and corporate interests, but gradually and steadily the power of money prevailed again.
In 1932 Franklin D. Roosevelt's Democratic Party won an easier election over a very corrupt wealthiest few and their banking and corporate interests, but even though his successes were more concrete and gradually made America and its middle class great, it wasn't very long before Roosevelt's legacy began to be damaged and put in jeopardy. In fact, right-wing ideologues have been trying to destroy it for the last 60 years, and particularly for the last 30 years.
In other words, even though conscientious democratic ideals prevail once in a while, the political pendulum of partisan politics keeps swinging back, because right-wing partisan political demagogues keep figuring out how to dupe enough of the American people to get elected. They have become more and more clever and cunning at misleading, dividing and conquering, simply ignoring what is true and good and instead appealing to the ego, pride and prejudices of gullible people, and pretending to serve all the people when they actually serve the wealthiest few.
That is why America has become terribly and bitterly divided and in conflict, and partisan politics merely exacerbates and perpetuates the conflict and division, rather than resolving it. That's why the people are divided into two opposing sides and are prevented from standing together on common ground, and it's why there seems to be no hope for peace, or harmony, or cooperation, or collaboration.
That is where we stand now, apart and at odds, and it's time to realize why.
It's because too many people have either not learned the lessons of history and cannot see the truth, or simply refuse to face it. They have been misled by corrupt, self-important, self-righteous political and religious leaders who cling to a dominionist imperial world view distorted by falsehoods and greed, while masquerading as religious patriots.
Is it partisan to say that? Perhaps. But truth must prevail over half-truths and falsehoods that are sold as truth. Good must prevail over evil that masquerades as good. And when good people are silent, scoundrels taking refuge in patriotism and hypocrites taking refuge in religiosity take over and rule. That's why we are in this terrible predicament.
Fortunately, humanity has evolved significantly beyond prehistoric times when men fought with clubs to become chief of their tribe. However, since the modern form of democracy based on partisan politics became well established by 1800 in America, Americans have not advanced much in that regard, and in certain respects Americans have regressed.
Americans are divided and ruled by partisans who wage a war of words to defeat their competitors and gain power over them. And we still don’t have free choice. Not really. We are faced with choices, and we have to choose sides and join opposing political camps. And, after every election we are still hopelessly divided and become either winners or losers in a winner-take-all battle for the “throne.”
Now we should realize why that is problematic, and why Americans are fortunate when the lesserof the two partisan "evils" that divide us prevails --- because there is a very good reason why Webster's Dictionary defines a Partisan as "an adherent or supporter of a person, party or cause, especially one who shows a biased, unthinking allegiance."
The problem is that most people think partisan politics and competition and battle for political power is the most civilized and reasonable way to determine who wins the power to rule, even though it is not. In fact, it is usually neither civil nor reasonable, and it produces a nation and a house divided and in conflict.
Regardless of which partisan party wins, our worst problems are not solved. American is not a nation united by truly representative democracy with government of, by, and for the people. Instead, we are ruled by the wealthiest few and by a partisan presidential form of monarchy, with a plutocracy and oligarchy in Congress and a partisan Supreme Court with a majority that was appointed by right-wing partisan presidents.
In fact, the political economic system has increasingly been rigged by the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the U.S. Government during the last 30 years. Consequently the only real winners are the wealthiest few, since financial wealth is now the biggest factor in determining election outcomes and in influencing legislation by bribery (which they call "lobbying").
Because the almighty dollar rules, partisan political warfare usually causes even good people to become corrupt, unreasonable, uncompromising, dishonest, and even deceptive. That is why we are so polarized and divide, and the U.S. Government fails to serve the interests of the majority of the people.
That's why we should remember the words of Abraham Lincoln, who also said "The principles of Jefferson are the axioms of a free society."
Lincoln said that not merely because he loved Jeffersonian Democracy. Lincoln also admired Jefferson because even while Jefferson loved the core, universal spiritual teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, he rejected certain doctrines and dogma and demanded freedom of religion, denounced theocratic political action, and wrote that the the First Amendment religious freedom clause was intended to build a "wall of separation between church and state."
Some right-wing Christians in America today ignore or deny that, but they do not realize that Jefferson's view was consistent with what Jesus said -- that we should give government its due and give to God what is God's; that we should value God-given spiritual treasures over the material treasures of Mammon, and that we cannot serve both God and Mammon.
These are important facts to consider today, and Americans should remember the words of Jesus, Jefferson and Lincoln, because right-wing partisan political ideologues who claim to be patriotic and religious simply ignore those words and facts.
That is why conflict has been building for 30 years and has grown sharper, because while theyclaim to serve God and Country, they actually serve Mammon and the wealthiest few who fight for greater material wealth, power, and domain.
Since 1981 they (the Reaganite Republicans and Reagan Democrats) have gotten away with it because of Reagan's charm and ability to sell Reaganism as patriotic and religious. They have virtually had their way concerning politics and the economy, and the terrible consequences of that have become increasingly clear during the last three decades.
Of course, in the 1990s President Clinton managed to do some good (like balance the budget, produce a budget surplus and avoid committing American troops to battle on foreign soil). But Clinton tended to do what was politically expedient and colluded with Republicans in certain instances at the expense of many Americans (as he did with the so-called "Welfare Reform" in 1996).
President Obama and the Democrats have also done some good. But, even though Mr. Obama has talked a lot about advocating change and promoting ethical and democratic values, and despite the fact that his enemies on the extreme Right accuse him of being a "Marxist" and "Socialist," it is clear that he to the right of center and caters to those who have the most money. It is clear where the power lies, where the power is held, and who wields it -- the wealthiest few.
Granted, Americans actually made the best choice they could in electing Mr. Obama, but he has so far been unable or unwilling to get to the root of our problems. In fact, in far too many case Mr. Obama has simply sold out or allowed himself to be extorted by Republican deception and obstructionism, particularly with regard to so-called health care "reform," Social Security and Medicare. The Obama administration still caters to the wealthiest few and betrays the vast majority.
Still, electing Obama was a step in the right direction, albeit a very small step, because Mr. Obama has been reduced to doing what is politically expedient. He has unable or unwilling to address the root causes of our problems, using rather ineffective band aids rather than using needed medicine to cure the underlying infection.
When the right-wing Republican appointed Supreme Court Justices gave the wealthiest few and corporations free rein and license to try to buy elections, Mr. Obama did voice his criticism of it in a speech before Congress. But he's really done nothing about it.
It seems Mr. Obama merely pays lip service to being a democratic advocate of the people, because health care in America is more expensive than ever -- to the point where millions of somewhat elderly working Americans are paying more than half their income in out-of-pocket health care costs -- in premiums, copays, cost of medication and medical equipment, and other costs insurance will not pay. (The son of man knows because he's one of them.)
Considering that and Obama's willingness to make Medicare cuts and make it even more expensive to the insured, it is easy to suspect that his actions are caused be a believe that "I've made it. Why can't you?" That may be a bit harsh and perhaps unfair, but at this point, it seems to be a valid suspicion.
But the main problem is that because corporations and the wealthiest few finance and bribe both Republicans and Democrats, they get the best government that money can buy to suit their purposes.
That is the consequence of 30 years of Reaganism, but it wasn’t always this way.
“[T]his government is your government. It is not the property of the elected few. We consent to be governed. We do not elect to be ruled. But if your interest as an American citizen is confined to the tuning of a television set, the scanning of an editorial or column, without careful study of the issues and the answers offered — then it may well turn out that some day your actions will indeed result in electing to be ruled." — Republican Presidential Candidate Barry Goldwater,1964)
Goldwater was wrong about a lot of things, and he was vehemently disliked by anti-war activists because he was a proud and militant “hawk” (as opposed to the peace-promoting “doves” of the 1960s). However, Goldwater was correct about citizen responsibility, and he would have been horrified by the so-called “conservative” Reaganite Republicans of today who have made such ahorrible mess of things and turned so many Americans against their government.
Why is that? Well, it mainly because Ronald Reagan falsely claimed that: "There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts."
Reagan even said: "We must remove government's smothering hand ... to reinvigorate those social and economic institutions which serve as a buffer and a bridge between the individual and the state." And "Through more and more rules and regulations and confiscatory taxes, the government was taking more of our money, more of our options, and more of our freedom."
Reaganites have been repeating such rhetoric ever since. But the fact is that Reagan's rhetoric was simply misleading and even deceptive corporate and banking propaganda -- designed to prevent government regulation of commerce and enable corporations and banks to operate with free licence.
If you read Ronald Reagan's Real Legacy, you will see how and why he erroneously claimed, and probably even believed, that private institutions like big businesses, corporations, religious groups and other private interest groups were the real providers of our freedom and liberty, not government.
However, as the Founding Fathers said, government should promote the general welfare, ensure domestic tranquility, secure the blessings of freedom and liberty for all the people, and exact justice for all. And, in fact, only good government can do that.
Good government does that by ensuring there is sufficient internal revenue to properly regulate business and commerce, build and maintain the infrastructure, establish and enforce laws, provide for the common defense and safety of the people, educate the people, ensure the people are informed by ethical objective journalism, and actually promote the general welfare of the people.
Unfortunately, right-wing Reaganite Republicans, Libertarians and "Tea Party" extremists claim otherwise, and they even deny that government should promote the general welfare.
In fact, they have misled Americans by claiming and acting as if Social Security, Medicare, and Unemployment Insurance are "Entitlements" and gifts provided by the wealthy to people who are simply not "self-reliant." But that is simply not true. They are in fact insurance policies that all workers pay for with lifetimes of hard work and paying the premiums in taxes. They are not “entitlement” programs. They are insurance programs.
However, the wealthy do receive entitlements in programs that benefit the wealthy just for being wealthy and privileged, which wealthy people receive in interest payments, government subsidies, bailouts, tax write-offs and refunds, tax breaks, tax loopholes, tax shelters, and other welfare for the rich.
James S. Henry, an economist, lawyer, investigative journalist, Edward R. Murrow Fellow at Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Fellow at the Institute for Global Leadership, and contributor to The Nation has written: "Indeed, if there is a class that is truly dependent on government subsidies, handouts and protection that it doesn't pay for, it is this new American aristocracy. So it is no accident that we may soon come very close to electing a president whose sole passion and preoccupation is to serve and defend the interests of this ruling, avaricious, tax-dodging class."
He was speaking of Mitt Romney, who certainly did represent the wealthiest few and yet received a lot of votes from Republicans. And even though President Obama is far better, he also very obviously caters significantly to the wealthiest few and the Wall Street powers, because they were the main funders of his campaign as well as Romney's. They've made sure that they win regardless of which party wins, and consequently neither Democrats nor Republicans can or will fix the problem. Money rules.
Therefore, this comprehensive article is intended to show you how and why partisan politics is so divisive, counterproductive and damaging to the public and the nation because it is so totally driven by money -- which is why we must progress and advance beyond it.
Dirty Partisan Politics
We are plagued by many blatantly biased, misleading and even deceptive partisan political diatribes and claims because they work by appealing to our lowest nature -- the nature of the beast, of the lynch mob, the witch hunters, the hatemonger-demagogues.
Many gullible people are easily deceived by demagogues who appeal to fears, anger, biases and prejudices, and because most of the demagogues serve the forces of greed and self-interest they even fight dirty to maintain the status quo, kill regulation and reform, and slander their critics and opponents.
Unfortunately, the corporate commercial news media has become less ethical as it has become more like the sensationalist titillating tabloids, and it fails to keep politicians honest. It fails in its duty to work at investigative journalism, and it often covers partisan mud slinging more than they cover ethical, honest, reasonable and fair political dissent or debate, because they know tabloid sensationalism and scandal sells.
That is one of many clear indicators of how corrupt and unscrupulous the partisan political system has become, and that’s one of the biggest reasons why about 40 percent of Americans eligible to vote do not vote because they are sick and tired of the dirty political partisanship (and because they realize that whatever party wins, the richest few win).
Furthermore, many Americans merely listen to the misleading commercial attack ads on television and then vote influenced by those that were most successful at appealing to their fears, anger, biases and prejudices, and do not bother to take the time to learn what the candidates actually stand for.
Instead many Americans believe what they want to hear. A recent example was that Mitt Romney, who in the past had spoken a lot about the importance of religious diversity and tolerance, instead resorted to misleading and hypocritical rhetoric in his campaign, saying: "I don't think we've seen in the history of this country the kind of attack on religious conscience, religious freedom, religious tolerance that we've seen under Barack Obama."
That remark was simply absurd, and it revealed much about Romney, Republicans, and dirty partisan politics in general. And it's probably one of the least obvious reasons why he lost.
Demagogues vs Good Public Servants
In spite of the tendency toward thoughtlessness, bias, dishonesty and deception that usually emerges in partisan political campaigns and competition for power, American partisan politics has produced some good leaders who were good thinkers.
In fact, many partisan politicians have been drawn to public service out of a sincere desire to correct what’s wrong, make life better for all citizens, and improve our infrastructure, cities, states, nation and world.
For example, President Franklin D. Roosevelt did that between 1932 and 1945 when he overcame the very wealthy forces of greed and self-interest, provided a New Deal for all the people, and set in motion the things that provided widespread prosperity and enabled the middle class to grow large and great.
The problem is that many presidents have only claimed to serve all the people but actually served the rich forces of greed and self-interest. Their legacy is the opposite of Roosevelt’s, and they made things worse by heavily favoring the wealthiest few at the expense and to the detriment of the vast majority of people.
Notable examples were the three Republican presidents from 1921 to 1931 who had negated successes made in a preceding progressive era, and other examples were the three Republican presidents who gained power in 1969, 1981 and 2000, who negated many successes and benefits achieved by Roosevelt's New Deal.
Republicans Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush took advantage of the fact that many Americans by then had forgotten or simply did not know that it was the Democratic New Deal that had enabled the middle class to grow very large and made America so very great in the 1940s and 1950s.
Because too many Americans had not learned the lessons of history, those three Republican presidents were able to serve the wealthiest few who financed and supported them, while merely pretending to serve all the people, and that’s why America is so unfair and ruled by a privileged, entitled, wealthy few.
Many Americans have become aware of their legacy, because fair and objective scholars and historians have reported that the actual records regarding violations of legal laws and precedents by the Nixon, Reagan and Bush administrations were remarkable. Thus in the last ten years more and more people have realized that the political economic problems that plague us were 30 years in the making.
Most Americans are fed up with the politicians in Washington D.C. Even back in July 2010, when Americans were asked in a poll how much confidence they have in various leaders to "make the right decisions for the country’s future," Barack Obama got 43 percent, congressional Democrats got only 32 percent, and Republicans got only 26 percent.
It is because during the last three decades Democrats have, in far too many instances, become merely the "lesser of the two evils" that divide us, and too many Republicans have become far more corrupt and deceitful. And the so-called "Tea Party" is, for the most part, made up of right-wing partisan ideologues, some of whom tend to be extreme ultra-right-wing versions of Republicans. And the so-called "Tea Party Patriots" even resort to spreading paranoid conspiracy theories designed to instill fear and create hate for humanitarian humanists while spreading thinly disguised propaganda touting "Christian" Dominionism.
The “Tea Party,” while claiming they support and defend Christianity and the U.S. Constitution, actually violate both. Poll data reveals that that "nearly half of respondents who consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement are also part of the religious right." (And anyone who doubts they are wrong should read Why the "Religious Right" Is Wrong.)
Moreover, an article on the Tea Party by George Monbiot of The Guardian states that: "We now have powerful evidence that the movement was established and has been guided with the help of money from billionaires and big business. Much of this money, as well as much of the strategy and staffing, were provided by two brothers who run what they call 'the biggest company you've never heard of,' David and Charles Koch.
In fact, the modern “Libertarian” and “Tea Party” movement really had its origins with the radical right-wing John Birch Society, and Fred Koch (founder of Koch Industries and the father of David and Charles) was one of the founding members along with Robert Welch in the late 1950s. But while moderate conservatives like William F. Buckley Jr. managed to diminish the status of the John Birch Society for a good while, it has come back stronger than ever in the form of the “Tea Party.” And it is backed by Billionaires who claim to be constitutional, patriotic and religious when they are far from it. They are driven by greed and self-interest, and merely masquerade as good to pull the wool over people’s eyes.
The poor gullible stooges who demonstrate and do their bidding feel "righteous" because they have been misled by demagogues who have distorted and twisted not only the Constitution and the intent of the Founding Fathers. They have also twisted and distorted the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, and they simply ignore the Golden Rule and the Universal Divine Imperative common to all religions.
The right-wing Republican "Tea Party" claims James Madison as their champion, but they misinterpret Madison and the Constitution and attempt to rewrite history. They ignore the fact that Madison was a leading advocate of the Commerce Clause, which gave the federal government broad powers to regulate interstate commerce. And they ignore or deny that such programs as diverse as Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, Dwight Eisenhower's federal highway system and Barack Obama's health-care reform are in line with Madison’s thinking.
In spite of that, the right-wing Reaganite Neo-Conservatives, the “Federalist Society,” and the “Tea Party” berate, slander and denigrate liberal progressives and “federal bureaucrats” --- even though they too are, or seek to be, federal bureaucrats themselves.
They claim that certain federal programs are "unconstitutional," and they claim that Madison would agree with their argument. They even claim that “states rights” trump federal authority, even though in the Constitution the Founding Fathers realized and established specific powers of the federal government over the states, as was reasonable and necessary to prevent any state from violating universal human rights and moral codes of justice and fairness that are to the benefit of all the people (as Abraham Lincoln realized).
Consequently, because of the Reaganite "Conservative" twisting of truth, the gullible, misinformed Tea Party activists have been dressing up in Revolutionary War costumes claiming that the Founding Fathers were hostile toward a strong federal government.
They even still cling to the words of Ronald Reagan, who claimed that: "As government expands, liberty contracts." Reagan also said: "Through more and more rules and regulations and confiscatory taxes, the government was taking more of our money, more of our options, and more of our freedom."
That was merely very cunning corporate propaganda. And it's false.
Keep in mind that George Washington wrote to James Madison, saying: "The [commerce] proposition in my opinion is so self evident that I confess I am at a loss to discover wherein lies the weight of the objection to the measure. We are either a united people, or we are not. If the former, let us, in all matters of a general concern act as a nation, which have national objects to promote, and a national character to support. If we are not, let us no longer act a farce by pretending it to be."
Both Washington and Madison, like Jefferson and most of the other Founding Fathers acknowledged the need for a strong federal government to keep the peace, promote the general welfare, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, and ensure justice for all the people of the nation and union.
Furthermore, Abraham Lincoln later echoed their ideas as he fought against the Southern forces of greed, self-interest, racism and injustice who claimed they were merely demanding “state’s rights” as they insisted on extending the institution of slavery Westward on "religious" grounds.
Madison, in fact, wrote: "If the new Constitution be examined with accuracy, it will be found that the change which it proposes consists much less in the addition of new powers to the Union, than in the invigoration of its original powers.” "The proposed change does not enlarge these powers; it only substitutes a more effectual mode of administering them."
It is the height of hypocrisy for the Reaganites to condemn the bureaucracy of the federal government on one hand, and on the other hand fight to be in control of the federal bureaucracy as well as our public schools, institutions, facilities, etc.
If you examine the actual writings and intent of the Founding Fathers, it is only reasonable to conclude that the political agenda of modern right-wing Reaganite Republicans is simply hypocritical and wrong. And the state of the Union since 1994, and particularly since 2001, reflects just how wrong they have been. And in fact, they still are as they persist in fighting reform and refuse to balance the budget in a fair, equitable and reasonable manner, preferring to keep enabling and entitling the wealthiest few at our expense.
That is ironic, because the meaning of the word “liberal” is: “Favorable to progress or reform; advocating individual freedom of action and expression; advocating representational government as opposed to aristocracies or monarchies; advocating freedom from bigotry and prejudice; open-minded and tolerant; characterized by generosity,” etc.
Stopping the Partisan Conflict and Division
We can stop empowering deceptive hypocrites who claim to be patriotic and religious, and we can make partisan politics obsolete. We can prevent any person from being able to sit on the monarchical "throne" of the presidency, and put an end to the divisive competition for the throne.
After all, why should we be divided and fight for power over each other?
Why should we follow, support and empower egocentric individuals who seek power over those who disagree with them? Why should we be either winners or losers in a continuous, winner-take-all partisan contest for power? Why should we perpetuate an unstable partisan political system that creates, fosters and perpetuates corruption, conflict and division?
Why should hundreds upon hundreds of millions of dollars be wasted on commercial television for political campaign advertisements that are generally misleading, offensive, and terribly annoying, when all that money could be far better invested in our country and in our people?
It is a very sad commentary on our system when more money is spent on misleading, deceptive, slanderous mud slinging at political opponents than are spent on advocating a positive, constructive political platform. And it’s tragic that such dirty politics work to get deceptive candidates elected.
Even if the "best man" wins, at least half the people usually lose. And even a relatively good democratic president like Barack Obama cannot do what must be done to unite us.
Even if Obama were not attacked and slandered by deceptive attacks and impeded by obstructing tactics, as a politician he does what is politically expedient and fails do do what must be done. That's partly because Reaganism is still dominant in politics. But, for whatever reason, Obama's promise for greater transparency and accountability has not been fulfilled. He obligingly chose Wall Street insiders for his economic team. He has not mapped a proper path to peace, and has not yet learned how to effectively deal with his enemies, either foreign or domestic. He hassurrendered to Republican intimidation and permitted cuts in needed human services while not seriously demanding increased revenue to reduce the debt. He is either unable or unwilling to demand that corporations and the wealthiest few pay their fair share of taxes.
Of course, part of the reason he's been prevented from doing that is because Republicans claim that "we cannot spend more than we take in," claiming that spending is the problem, not the lack of sufficient revenue. They simply ignore or deny that except for military and police spending, government programs have been cut to the bone, and corporations and the wealthiest few payfar less than their fair share of taxes, to the point where some pay little or none at all.
Obama has also continued the military and foreign policies initiated by the Reagan Administration, as well as those initiated by the Bush Regime (even though they violated U.S. and International Law). Obama apparently accepts the Reaganite and Bushite idea that almighty police and military forces are the only way to establish law and order in the country and in the world.
Unfortunately, that ignores these crucial facts:
1) Good leadership recognizes that establishing fairness, equity and justice for all are crucial in establishing peace and tranquility in the nation and in the world; and
2) Leadership that thinks it must resort to armed military and/or police forces to control the people has failed to do that.
Reaganism ignores that fact, and the hegemonic Reaganite and Bushite world view is that the U.S. Military must be the Policeman of the world, at any cost, which is why Reagan’s 1986 budget included $553 Billion for the military. In contrast, Bill Clinton's last budget called for $371 Billion for military. But then George W. Bush's last military budget was $771 Billion. And now, even though Americans elected Barack Obama because he promised change, his defense budget has called for spending $813 Billion on military.
Furthermore, it must be repeated that it has become very apparent that in spite of Obama's rhetoric he tends to appease the rich and powerful who are still robbing us blind.
Granted, Obama was able to get some health care reform legislation passed, but it falls way short of what’s needed. Equally inadequate is their so-called banking and financial reform. It was a weak slap on the wrist of the forces of greed and self-interest.
Obama has also failed to correct many other wrongs, such as correct the "security" culture fostered by the Bush Regime, which was just as interested in spying on Americans who dissented from and criticized Bush’s policies as it was in spying on people who actually posed a threat of violence and destruction.
But, even if Obama could succeed in correcting wrongs and establishing some needed reforms and regulations to stop enabling the greedy and favoring the wealthiest few, his success would probably not provide the reforms and regulations we really need. And what he does manage to establish could be short-lived and negated by another right-wing pretender.
That’s why it is now crucial and imperative that we significantly reform our political-economic system. For unless and until we put a stop to it, the partisan political pendulum would probably swing back to the right. It’s happened many times before, and it would happen again.
In fact, now it’s worse, and it’s even more likely that yet another arrogant, hypocritical, right-wing demagogue could rise to power waving the flag, thumping his or her bible and rattling his or her sword, claiming to serve God and Country but actually serving Mammon and the wealthiest few (even more than Democrats do).
Therefore, it is imperative that we reform our political-economic system, but we must understand what the basic partisan political divide is really about.
The Basic Partisan Political Divide
Those who sit on the right side of the political isle operate on the belief that right versus left means right versus wrong. However, they the word "right" in this case does not mean correct. And, as is explained in the article about Sheep vs Goats, Jesus foresaw and explained the conflict and division two thousand years ago, and the modern son of man provides further clarification.
It’s somewhat like the political divide in 1800 between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. Their conflict was similar in some very basic ways to the present conflict.
Reaganites, like the Hamiltonians, believe in "Meritocracy." They believe that people should be self-reliant; that government should not need to promote the general welfare (despite what the Declaration of Independency says); that private charitable organizations alone should provide help to those who need it; that government is best when it regulates least; that big businesses, corporations and banks should be free and unencumbered by government regulation and oversight; and that legislation and laws should enable the wealthy to get even wealthier without restraints, because their "earned" prosperity will naturally trickle down on those below and benefit the whole country.
Unfortunately, their Laissez Faire right-wing political ideology wrongly assumes that the wealthiest few and their large banks, businesses, corporations and insurance companies will operate honestly, ethically and fairly. But, the truth is that unregulated and given free rein, they usually do not earn their income honestly and fairly. Furthermore, private charitable organizations cannot possibly provide all the help that is needed.
These truths have been painfully evident many times, especially in 1920s and early ‘30s, and increasingly again during the last 30 years.
History has shown time after time that the Republican claim is deceptive and their logic is flawed. After all, our current economic crisis was caused by three decades of Reaganite policies, legislation and deregulation, because they didn’t learn the lessons of history.
That’s why the rich have gotten so much richer, the middle class has shrunk, the working poor population has grown, and poverty, hunger and homelessness increased. It is similar to the historical consequences of Republican dominance in the 1920s, when the rich got richer and corrupt and caused the financial crisis and stock market crash of 1929, followed by the Great Depression.
Unfortunately, Right-wing Republicans, Libertarians and the “Tea Party” love laissez-faire government. That’s why Ayn Rand has become a cult hero to many of them (along with Ronald Reagan, who was a champion of laissez-faire government). Some of them even consider Rand a prophet. However, Americans should understand that even though Ayn Rand was surely well-meaning and had some good insights, she was sadly mistaken about some very crucial issues.
Rand was an author born in 1905 in Russia, and her family was financially ruined after the Russian Revolution of 1917. She grew up hating Russian Communism, and she moved to America. Then, when the wealthiest few and the capitalist economic system became so corrupt in America that it caused an economic collapse in 1929 followed by the Great Depression, she simply misunderstood, and therefore feared, the New Deal of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Ayn Rand did not recognize how needed and necessary Roosevelt’s reforms, regulations, safeguards and protections were, and she feared his regulations would be like those of Soviet Communism in Russia. And, since she hated government control because she had seen what it had done in Russia, especially under Stalin, she supported laissez-faire government that left capitalism unregulated. She believed it was the only social political economic system that "protected individual rights" and ensured “free enterprise.”
In the 1980s Ronald Reagan and the Neo-Conservatives revived that Randian ideology, touting “free enterprise and free markets” and claiming that “big government” was antithetical to freedom. But, unfortunately, all that was propaganda and rhetoric designed to make the American people forget or ignore the lessons of history, and forget or ignore how and why laissez-faire government had almost brought about the ruination of America before Roosevelt saved it in the 1930s and ‘40s.
That is why real Democrats and real Christians believe in Jeffersonian Democracy, and inRoosevelt's New Deal. They believe that government must promote the general welfare, ensure justice for all, and properly and sufficiently regulate and oversee big businesses, corporations and banks; that we must provide an adequate safety net to provide for those who need financial assistance and other care; and that we must legislate to make the vast majority prosperous, because widespread prosperity will benefit the whole country in many ways.
Roosevelt's New Deal and Democratic success in the 1930s and ‘40s enabled the Middle Class to grow very large and great by the late 1940s and ‘50s, making it very clear that widespread prosperity produces widespread well being. Moreover, it produced more prosperous taxpayers who contributed more to make the whole country better.
Unfortunately, during the last 30 years both Democrats and Republicans have been responsible for enabling the rich and looking the other way as the middle class steadily shrunk and more and more people falling into the working poor population. And that is because Reaganism led to the American partisan political system being far more corrupted by greed and self-interest than it has been since the 1920s.
But that’s just one symptom of the partisan political system. It is corrupted by the self-importance and self-righteousness of partisan politicians, and it is especially corrupted by the bribery of corporate lobbyists and corporate influences.
It has enabled the greedy to gain and abuse power to the detriment of the majority of the people, and to the detriment of the environment, the infrastructure, and humanity as a whole, while enabling the wealthiest few Americans to increase their wealth exponentially.
We need to advance beyond partisan politics, because as it is, most people think there is no better way to determine who shall have the power and authority of leadership. Each party chooses a competitor-candidate and hopes theirs will win the "throne," and even the losing party hopes they will win "next time," so the divisive, polarizing, counterproductive, winner-take-all contest for monarchial presidential power continues.
One of the things that most Americans don’t realize, however, is that it continues even though very few people actually determine who the winner is.
In the 2000 presidential election, only 60 percent of eligible voters in the U.S. voted, and far less than half of them voted for George W. Bush. In fact, Democratic candidate Al Gore won the popular vote by at least 400,000 votes in 2000, and he would have won more electoral votes (and even more of the popular votes) if all the ballots in Florida had been hand-counted as the law called for. But, Bush got five right-wing partisans on the U.S. Supreme Court to overrule the democratic Florida Supreme Court in order to halt the vote count and put him in the White House.
That was a crucial turn of events and it inevitably proved disastrous, so we should realize how and why it happened. After the 2000 election the Gore-Leiberman team was working with the Florida Supreme Court to ensure that state law was followed to resolve the disputed election in that state. The problem was a faulty machine count that rejected 179,914 Florida ballots, most of which were undoubtedly in Gore's favor because they were in heavily Democratic regions. But, the Bush-Cheney team got the hand-vote count stopped by resorting to "legal" partisan maneuvers, and to misleading street theater with goons in the streets with signs, chanting "Sore Loserman."
This is important because George W. Bush actually lost the election in 2000 but managed to gain the presidency by hook and by crook. And yet Al Gore graciously accepted the Supreme Court’s decision that enabled Bush to do it.
This point is important also because when Barack Obama won the presidency fair and square in 2008, Republicans quickly started demonstrating what sore losers they actually are. They have been the opposite of gracious and have resorted to slander and character assassination, trying to label Obama as a "socialists," and even a "Nazi."
Of course, as Republicans point out, in 2004 Bush won the election with a little less controversy about the election process. However, even then only 64 percent of eligible voters voted and only32 percent of them re-elected Bush for his second term.
Furthermore, even though Barack Obama was the best choice for president in 2008, he was elected by only 52 percent of the popular vote. And 43 percent of eligible voters did not bother to vote — probably because they are totally disgusted with partisan politics. (And, by the way, in the 2010 election that situation was worse. Only 11 percent of eligible voters under 30 years old voted, which means that 89 percent of them did not even bother to vote.)
That reveals how damaging to democracy the partisan political attack ads on television were. The vast majority of young people are even more sick of it than the rest of us are, and they don’t trust any politicians.
This is not the way to run a country.
(Continued at Partisan Politics, Part 2, about how and why things got this way.)