Getting informed can be somewhat difficult, however. First, one has to find information sources which actually seem to be reliable. As someone who is married to a news “junkie,” I am probably exposed to more of this stuff than most people. Bonnie not only watches a variety of American news sources, but the BBC and various foreign sources (in English), as well. I watch less, but still get a variety of sources. We also do pay some attention to commentators of various stripes. It’s hard to avoid them since it is no longer required that broadcast news provide “equal time” to opposing opinion. This means that avoiding the pundits is almost impossible. That brings to mind this cartoon which dates from the Charlie Hebdo incident of a few years ago.
All things considered, I suspect it would be much better if politicians were required to follow the advice which the late Robin Williams suggested in the quote below.
Without casting aspersions in any specific direction, I admit that I have had to wonder how one should react to the “campaign” sign shown below:
Anyway, the approaching election has taken more of my attention and brain power than I could wish, but I do acknowledge that elections are how we decide who we are (as a country), what we stand for, and what we are going to do about solving our various challenges. This sort of thing always gets me thinking about a movie of which I am quite fond, The American President, written by Aaron Sorkin. The cast is good, the story is enjoyable and the political views expressed make a lot of sense to me. So, with apologies to Mr. Sorkin, I present my adaptation of the speech which he wrote for his lead character, Andrew Shepherd, to present at the end of that movie (which I recommend as a very pleasant way to spend a couple of hours in any event).
For the last few years, a group of people pretending to be “Republicans” (hereafter referred to as RINOs, as they are certainly NOT what I was raised to think of as members of Lincoln’s Republican party) have been suggesting that only they can speak for “real” Americans. And, since they haven’t been able to control all aspects of government to suit their purposes of white racial grievance, heterosexual male dominance, and imposing what they call “Christian” morality on the country by law, they wished to get even by trying to stage a coup to overthrow the Constitution and establish their leader (henceforth known as “the Orangeman” [apologies to Irish Protestants]) as the only possible person to “save” the country from “those” bad people and restore it to the “rightful few,” who deserve to have complete power based on their faith in the “Orangeman” as the “Savior” of the nation. I take this opportunity to disagree with that notion.
For the record, I have read the Constitution AND the Bill of Rights (including the Amendments) and, while I’m not a lawyer, I think I have a reasonably good idea of what was intended by their authors (sometimes referred to as “The Founding Fathers”). I do NOT believe that they intended to have the Executive Branch as the “master” who would tell the Legislative Branch what laws to pass to achieve the Executive’s desires, nor for the Legislative to boss the Executive around. Nor was the Judicial Branch supposed to make it’s judgements based on the whims of either of the other branches (nor some sort of “supreme leader”), but upon reason, logic, fairness, and the sort of judgement which could be supported by reasonable citizens. No, I think the idea was that the three branches would be populated by reasonable, fair-minded people who would try to work together for the benefit of all, accepting compromise as preferable to autocracy.
However, America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You've gotta want it bad, because it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say, "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours." You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free.
I've been watching these RINOs for a good while. And I've been operating under the assumption that the reason they devoted so much time and energy to shouting at the rain was that they simply didn't get it. Well, I was wrong. If one pays attention to the “Orangeman,” one will quickly discover that the his problem isn't that he doesn't get it (although I could well be incorrect about that); his problem is that he can't sell it to the people who he has spent years convincing that he is “so smart” and “so rich” that he should be telling them what to do and/or think.
We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you the “Orangeman” is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things, and two things only: making you afraid of it, and telling you who's to blame for it. That is how you win elections. You gather a group of middle age, middle class, middle income, mostly white, mostly “Christian” voters who remember with longing what they think was an easier time, and you talk to them about family, and American values and character, and you rant and rave about how the “socialist, non-white, non-christian, liberals” are causing all of their problems and you scream about patriotism. You tell them that “those other” people are to blame for their perceived problems in life. And you go on television and you call them liars, pedophiles, and anti-American. Then you holler that they are out to replace us “good” guys with some sort of all-powerful cabal which will deprive us “REAL Americans” of our right to be superior to others and tell “those people” how they have to behave.
This has provided some of us with the willingness to deny the demonstrated notion that climate change is real; that doctors and scientists know more about medicine and medical practice than lawyers, politicians and other untrained and/or inexperienced people; that an election MUST have been stolen (in the face of a complete lack of evidence to support that idea) because it didn’t come out the way a minority wanted; and, that the purpose of the Constitution should have been to provide us with the right to engage in armed rebellion in the streets to force the country to accept the (probably permanent) leadership of “our great leader,” who appears to be quite willing to have his followers place him in power by force of arms, etc.
Well, that ends right now.
If one examines the facts, the “Orangeman” appears to have a middle-of-the-class Bachelor’s level degree in Economics, which he used to dribble away most of his father’s money on bad real estate deals and other questionable ventures while establishing himself as a rich, playboy, known for lavish spending and many sexual affairs (including what now totals three marriages and numerous law suits). I understand (from credible sources) that the majority of his business ventures haven’t actually made money, although he did have a fairly successful (that is well-rated) “reality” TV show for a while. Of course. It's common knowledge in show business (I am told by a number of people who have worked in television) that there is little relationship between actual reality and any “reality” TV show. The most important consideration being what the controlling producers, think will attract an audience.
Apparently, the Orangeman’s financial records have been widely questioned for many years and numerous experts have wondered how he has managed to find financing for a lot of his projects when few (if any) of the major lending institutions in this country seem to think he’s a good risk (apparently due to his many bankruptcies and a reputation for “stiffing” creditors with considerable frequency). Certainly, it’s pretty obvious that his actual political campaign finances seem to have largely come from raising money from private sources, or getting others to pay for his legal bills, etc. If he’s “so rich,” one does wonder why he constantly needs to raise money from others for his campaigns, his legal defense, etc.
If the RINOs want to talk about “Making America Great Again,” they'd better come at the rest of us with more than an accusation that all of the problems of the country haven’t been solved in the past two years while others are trying to repair the damage done by the RINOs over the last 20, or more. If they want to talk about character and American values, fine. They just need to tell us when and where they are going to stand up for “Equal Justice Under the Law.” I don’t believe that the LAW is supposed to be a tool for “leaders” to punish people with whom they don’t agree. If one looks at the US, we really aren’t doing too well in terms of education for all, health care for all, opportunity for all, decent housing for all, everyone (including the corporations [they are people, too, right?]) paying their fair share of taxes, a low rate of violence (especially GUN violence), etc. Other “developed” countries seem to be doing better in most, if not all, of these areas. One has to wonder what’s OUR problem? Perhaps it’s time to tell the RINOs that, we've got serious problems, and this a time for serious people and their fifteen minutes are up.
Perhaps more us need to stand up and say, “My name is (fill in YOUR name) and I am a VOTER!”
“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”
— Nelson Mandela
“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic; capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.” ― Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows