The Best Way to Determine Leadership? Or a Corrupt, Divisive, Failed System?
(Last edition of this article: 12-21-2016
This article was originally published in March of 2002 on the author's first blog and in his first two books published just prior to that, and it has been edited from time to time since then.
The 2016 presidential campaigns and election are really beside the point, which is that the U.S. political electoral system was already a corrupt, divisive system that has served the interests of the wealthiest few to the detriment of the middle class, the working poor, the infrastructure, and the environment.
The 2015-2016 campaigns and election merely made the situation worse. It proved the system is a corrupt failure and it brought the political electoral process down to a new low in terms of a lack of principles and ethics, and demonstrations of bad behavior. It reduced the campaign process to a rather juvenile demonstration of demagoguery and narcissism, and, even worse, it revealed just how many Americans can be misguided and fooled by a hypocritical, dishonest pretender deluded with self-importance.
This article covers how and why the great majority of Americans and many other people in many other nations have been deeply betrayed, misled by people who claim to serve all the people but instead serve the wealthiest few. This is the case in America and in other countries that have sham "democracies" but do not have government of, by, or for the people. Instead, rich plutocratic forces that serve "Mammon" and sanctimonious theocratic forces actually control the governments, while creating the illusion of honoring constitutional democratic values to placate the people.
The truth, as Abraham Lincoln and Jesus of Nazareth said, is that a house or nation divided against itself cannot stand. It is absolutely true, and a fact.
Unfortunately, those fighting for power ignore the truth and they operate according to the false and misleading idea that partisan politics, which is inherently divisive, will somehow "unite" the country. But that is not true. As we see and will continue to see if we perpetuate this system, it divides and polarizes us and pits us against each other, as the recent campaigns for the presidency revealed so disgracefully.
But that's not new. The partisan political fiasco in Washington, D.C. is merely one indicator of how corrupt, divisive and counterproductive partisan politics is. But then, that is inevitable. After all, the Dictionary defines a Partisan as "an adherent or supporter of a person, party or cause, especially one who shows a biased, unthinking allegiance."
Furthermore, the sad fact is that the U.S. Government is actually ruled by a Plutocracy of the richest few that pull the strings. Consequently, the change we were promised in 2008 did not happen, both because of Republican obstructionism and because of Democratic acquiescence to Wall Street, bankers, corporations, financial institutions, large companies, the U.S. Religious Military Industrial Complex, etc.
Now granted, it may be true that many if not most politicians begin their careers with good intentions, and certainly the 2016 election was complex and involved many aspects. Many shades of Reaganism colored the right-wing ideology that gives demagogues power. But power corrupts, and those in power are tempted by those who bribe and flatter them. And inevitably any partisan politicians must be hypocritical to the extent that they claim to serve all the American people when they actually serves their party and the very affluent and wealthy people, organizations and institutions that fund and support them.
Moreover, while one of the two major parties, the lesser of the two evils, does pay lip service to trying to serve the interests of the middle class, the working poor, the elderly and others who need our help, the worst party clearly serves and caters to the wealthiest few and must resort to misleading and deceptive rhetoric in an attempt to appear to serve all the people, and to masquerade as "religious and patriotic." And, when that is not enough, they resort to unreasonable obstructionist tactics and even extortion to get their way and block efforts at real reform and progress.
Therefore, this is to say that we really need to alter and reform our political economic system in order to share political power and create a government that is actually of, by, and for the people, 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, by and for the people, as long as we are perpetually in conflict and divided by a counterproductive partisan political system with its divisive and polarizing competition for the throne of presidential power and control of Congress.
The U.S. Government Does Not Serve Our Interests
Obviously the U.S. Government does not serve our interests. Instead it favors and entitles the wealthiest few (regardless of which party wins). Therefore, 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 actually represent all of us, at long last.
Again, we must remember that 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 (particularly in the last half of the 20th Century to the present). It originally made partisan political conflict and division worse and it set back rather than furthered progress toward real democracy in America -- and it still does.
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 over time 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 main opposing sides, and even into more extremely partisan factions, and are prevented from standing together on common ground. And that is 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 we all should realize why.
It's because too many people cannot see the truth because they have not learned the lessons of history, or simply refuse to face it. They unwittingly repeat the mistakes of the past because they have been misled by corrupt, self-important, self-righteous political leaders who have colluded with hypocritical right-wing “religious” leaders. They cling to and push a "Dominionist" imperial world view. They believe their political party and their religion entitles them to rule, but while they masquerade as religious patriots, they actually serve themselves and Mammon, betraying both God and the Founders of their nation.
Is it not partisan to say that. It is righteous truth exposing greed, hypocrisy and bigotry. The 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, greedy scoundrels taking refuge in patriotism and hypocrites taking refuge in religiosity take over and rule. That's what has happened, and that's why we are in this terrible predicament.
Even though humanity has evolved somewhat beyond prehistoric times when men fought with clubs to become chief of their tribe, now the greedy, self-important, power-hungry few use money as their club. And 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 recently, 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. Rather, we are faced with choices, and we have to choose sides and join opposing political camps. Thus, 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 so problematic and counterproductive, because 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. Money still rules, and the people are exploited and taken for granted. 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. The partisan Supreme Court has enabled the greedy of the wealthiest few to use enormous amounts of money to try to buy elections by paying for misleading, dishonest and even deceptive TV ads. Gerrymandering has rigged state voting districts to favor Republicans (which is largely why they control the House). State voting eligibility and qualifications are rigged to prevent poor or under-educated Americans from voting. And deceptive right-wing "journalists" and pundits also mislead people in favor of corporate interests and against progressive, populist candidates who serve the average American. 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 and drives political action, partisan political warfare usually causes even good people to become corrupt, dishonest, and even deceptive. That is why we are so polarized and divided, 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 though Jefferson loved the core, universal spiritual teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, he rejected certain church doctrines and dogma that he considered "corruptions." Moreover, Jefferson demanded freedom of religion with freedom from theocratic imposition and Theocracy, denounced theocratic political action, and wrote that 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 material treasures, and serve God rather than Mammon, because we cannot serve both God and Mammon. Despite that, the "religious right" serves Mammon while claiming to serve God.
That does not mean that being rewarded for good work and being prosperous is wrong. It means that greed and lust for money are wrong.
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. They are driven by self-interest, and care little about their fellow human beings who suffer.
That is why conflict has been building for 30 years and has grown sharper, because since 1981 the Reaganite Republicans and Reagan Democrats have gotten away with claiming to serve God and Country while they fight for greater material wealth, power, and domain.
They've been able to relish in Reaganism 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. The vast majority of us are suffering because of it.
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 is a brilliant, extraordinarily reasonable man and remarkably restrained (considering how maliciously and outrageously he has been attacked by misguided fools who accuse him of being a "Fascist" and a "Socialist"), he has failed in some very significant ways.
Mr. Obama has talked a lot about advocating change and promoting ethical and democratic values, but it is clear that he expediently moved to the right of center and caters too much to those who have the most money. He chose Wall Street insiders and former executives of the biggest banks as his economic advisers, which revealed that he bowed to the powers and forces of greed and self-interest rather than choose progressive economic reformers to advise him. That's why even though we drastically need economic reform, we are still mired in the status quo and the majority keep getting worse off financially while the rich few keep getting richer.
Nevertheless, Americans actually made the best choice they could in electing Mr. Obama, since he is very bright and for the most part very reasonable. But he has so far been unable or unwilling to get to the root of our problems. He settled for a health care act that benefited insurance companies and turned out to be less affordable for patients than before. It could even be said that in certain cases Mr. Obama has simply sold out or allowed himself to be extorted by Republican deception and obstructionism, particularly with regard to the insufficient health care "reform" act, Social Security and Medicare.
Still, electing Mr. Obama was a step in the right direction, albeit a very small step, because he has been reduced to doing what is politically expedient. He has unable or unwilling to address the root causes of our problems, and he has been forced to using rather ineffective band aids rather than using needed medicine to cure the underlying infection that has led to Plutocracy and the inevitable giant income gap between the richest few and the working poor. (See Poverty: America's Greatest Shame.)
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 apparently he's really done little more about it.
Mr. Obama speaks of being a democratic advocate of the people, but even his health care act is terribly insufficient. Health care in America is now more expensive than ever -- to the point where millions of elderly Americans are now 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 still not pay.
Considering that and Obama's willingness to make Medicare cuts and allow health insurance companies to make health care even more expensive to the insured, it is easy to suspect that he bows to the wealthy who proudly claim that because they've made it, everyone should be able to, and unashamedly think that "You must be self-reliant because it's every man for himself."
The main problem, however, 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. And that is the consequence of 30 years of Reaganism.
But, it wasn’t always this way.
“This 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 a horrible 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 misleading rhetoric ever since. But the fact is that Reagan's rhetoric was simply deceptive corporate and banking propaganda -- designed to prevent government regulation of commerce and enable corporations and banks to pay little or no taxes and operate with free license.
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 that keeps politicians honest, and actually promote the general welfare of the people.
Unfortunately, right-wing Reaganite Republicans, Libertarians and "Tea Party" extremists claim otherwise.
In fact, 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 that we pay for.
Ironically, it is the wealthy do receive entitlements.
They benefit from programs designed to reward the wealthy just for being wealthy and privileged, and the wealthy receive a lot 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."
At the time 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 was far better, he also very obviously catered 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 and we lose.
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, and of the lynch mob, the witch hunters -- the nature of hatemongers and 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.
They are significantly successful at it too. There is an enormous amount of false information and misleading misinformation that is accepted as truth by the audience of Fox News and/or the extreme right-wing politicians that make the same false claims. For example, their audiences (or blind flocks) have been led to believe that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and that he was a player in causing the terrorist attack on America on 9/11/01. They also believe that climate change and global warming is not real or caused by Man; that Barack Obama is Muslim and was not born in the United States; that all Arabs are Muslim and all Muslims are terrorists; and that immigrants are out to steal your job and yet are too lazy to work.
All of these claims and beliefs are proven absolutely false by real facts. And yet, Fox News audiences and the blind flocks of extreme right-wing political and religious leaders insist they are true, and they even insist on it with aggressive zeal.
Why are they so aggressive and zealous? Because they feel justified. And that’s because right-wing deceivers and demagogues appeal to the ego and the emotions and prejudices of bigots, racists, imperialists, and greedy, selfish, self-righteous people who have no respect for people of other races, religions, cultures, nationalities, or lower financial status.
The demagogues are successful at gathering and misleading their blind flocks because they indulge in the tactic of fear mongering, and many of them even want to induce panic. They also resort to character assassination, which has been so evidence since November 2008 when they started to label president-elect Obama a “Socialist,” and have since even accused him of being a “Fascist,” a “Communist,” and a “Tyrant.”
Demagogues have other often-used tactics as well. As is mentioned in the article titled Why the Religious Right Is Wrong, they attempt to revise and rewrite history, claiming that their political and religious beliefs are in tune with the Founders of America and with Jesus even though their beliefs are actually the opposite. And in fact, Thomas Jefferson and Jesus of Nazareth would call them bigots and hypocrites who serve not God, but Mammon.
Unfortunately, the corporate commercial network news media has become rather complicit, in that they do not refute the falsehoods. They have become less ethical and more like the sensationalist titillating tabloids, and they too fail to keep politicians honest. They fail in their duty to work at real investigative journalism, and they often cover partisan mud slinging more than they cover ethical, honest, reasonable and fair political dissent or debate, because they know tabloid sensationalism and scandal sells.
In fact, the corporate network media has been and is biased to the right. Just consider all the coverage by the corporate media of Republicans in Congress quick to accuse President Obama about misconduct of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in 2012. Then consider that during the Bush presidency neither the Congress nor the corporate network media had much (if anything) to say about the Bush administration's use of public resources against its political opponents and its actual use of the IRS in the same way the Obama administration allegedly did.
Of course, scrutiny and investigation of the IRS’s activities is certainly warranted when allegations are made. However, the point is that there is a huge difference between the behavior of the media and partisans in Congress depending on whether the president is a Republican or a Democrat, because practically no one in the commercial media said anything about the Bush administration's false claims and abuse of power during his reign.
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 has surrendered 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 pay far 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.
(Continued at Partisan Politics, Part 2, about the basic partisan political divide, and how and why things got this way.)