Sadly, it seems that our current political system is only dividing our country. While we are a nation of great strength, compassion, ability and ingenuity, we are also a nation that has become weakened rather than strengthened by our politics.
When our nation was conceived and the Constitution ratified, the role of government was defined as follows:
to provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.
We seem to have strayed from that principle. It is not the job of the federal government to weigh in on social or religious issues. That is more rightly the province of church, conscious and communities. We have made politics more of a battleground around social mores than a tool for creating legislation that benefits the general welfare of the whole.
According to the Constitution, the federal government must regulate commerce. Should it legislate to stop those who willfully run their companies into the ground while handing out obscene bonuses to a chosen few, thereby robbing hard working Americans of not only jobs, but health insurance, pensions and savings? Should government create regulations to keep competition keen and keep health care and insurance costs down and not exempt from anti-trust laws? Should companies be kept from becoming too big to fail? When is too much enough? Should we give tax breaks to companies who ship jobs abroad? Are we creating legislation that will have all of our intelligence agencies sharing information so that nothing slips through the cracks in our security? During emergencies should all first responders be able to communicate with each other? Should we require that the budget be balanced? Should there be a debt ceiling? How best do we create jobs and support small business? How do we address climate change and create new alternate energy industries? These are the questions we should be addressing.
Our two-party political system has become a vehicle for some to grab power and influence, to foment greed and personal political gain cloaked by self-righteous pronouncements, flag waving and fear mongering. Never before the past decade have I seen all members of one political party bent on destroying the presidency of the other, regardless of the real need of finding common ground to solve the problems that confront us.
America is a nation of great diversity but instead of celebrating new ideas and ways of doing and being, we gather in mini-tribes desperately trying to feel more righteous, more superior, and stronger than others. Where once we came together as Americans to solve problems and help one another, today we are pitted against one another in ideological wars. We let social and religious issues keep us from solving economic, defense and infrastructure needs.
We have become a nation of name callers, of those who label. We put boxes around each other and sort by names
liberal, conservative, straight, gay, Democrat, Republican, Asian American, African American, Hispanic American, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist and so on. We find ways of separating ourselves from others, and in so doing, promote hate and ridicule those that are different from us.
There is much talk today of taking back our country. I would ask what are we taking back and from whom? If we are taking our country back from the greedy, from the judgmental, from the angry, the liars and the haters, then I say well and good. Our freedom has not been lost but we have lost our way. It is up to each and every one of us to take responsibility for those we elect to govern. It is up to us to sort the facts from the flack and to quit relying on the viewpoints of those who seek to inflame us and pit us against one another for their own gain. It is time to evaluate each candidate on merit and not political party. It is not one party or the other who weaken us; it is our own apathy and lack of responsibility.
We must research candidates based on voting records and actions, and how what they say compares to what they do. We can not rely on talk show hosts or cable TV opinion shows disguised as news because they definitely have an agenda that it is not necessarily for the good of the nation as a whole or even for us individually.
Im tired of the claims that one party can keep us safe and the other cannot, of each party distorting the position of the other, of those who obstruct rather than construct. Im tired of the fear mongering and angry rants that prevail because it seems easier to fan the flames of anger rather than find constructive solutions and compromise. Im tired of the lies.
Let us concentrate on working together to find solutions to job creation, affordable health care, protecting our air, water and natural resources, repairing and maintaining our infrastructure and keeping our country strong and safe. Each political party has some good ideas. Let us use them. Let us hold our elected officials responsible for their actions as well as their words and hold ourselves accountable and responsible for electing those who truly serve us.
Let us become Americans first, once again.