It’s time to face it. The nation will be no better under Trump than it would be under Mrs. Clinton. Both are disreputable. Both are people of so little character and honesty that without them we would prosper. Eventually, given our tri-partite system of government, the best either can be is a figure-head, a distant blip on the horizon with no more power than that of a bluebird. Each at best can be a spokesperson for “American values” without managing to embody them. And as blue birds, they are absolved from leadership, from decision-making, from building for the future.
How did this happen? It doesn’t matter, but for our money the blame falls squarely on the Republican Senate that learned, easily, that to say “No” was a winning proposition. For the past six years the Senate has purposefully ignored, sabotaged, deconstructed every decent urge and idea put forward by President Obama. Opposition became institutionalized gridlock. Saying “No” forced Obama into Executive Actions, which naturally enraged the Senate even further. Nothing the President tried, suggested, hinted at, devised could make it whole to the floor of the Senate, could be placed before the voting public as healthy and sound. War, healthcare, economics.
In effect, what Obama became over time was a ceremonial totem.
Now, one might think that the Senate, having destroyed the process of compromise, of bi-partisan concern for the nation and its security, would eventually have been forced to actually take up the tools of governance and produce. Allow improvements to legislation on the floor, seek bipartisan solutions to national problems with its counterpart, the House. No. It was enough to stymie millions of voters who still wanted to, needed to believe in the values on which our nation was founded.
We’ve watched race relations plummet, police forces immobilized, entire cities poisoned by natural and unnatural disasters (see Flint, Michigan). We’ve endured a political season that is by far the worst, and the least promising, in history. We been nicked and slashed by jihadists of all stripes, real and fancied. The wondrous Republican field of seventeen talented men and women was always a fiction. (Worse, it continues to be: see Gary Johnson.)
Power in this nation has devolved onto the shoulders of 100 men and women who cannot decide to lead, follow, or get out of the way. Many were elected in 2010 not to bolster democracy but to bring it down. So, having nearly achieved this, what do they want? They want to stay to finish the job. They seem to believe that they have done such a fine job of tearing down our infrastructure (of all kinds) that Donald Trump’s dark warnings seem to be only too true.
One would have thought that with this record of inactivity and vitriol behind them, Congress would have been forced to work together simply in order to keep the nation afloat. Not a bit of it. One might also have imagined that with such a record of discombobulation, Congress would be forced to bring back into its fold the millions of well-meaning and helpful citizens who – no matter what – still want the US of A to be the shining beacon to the world it has been for more than two hundred years. Alas, no. Congress ignores the wishes of those who hang on by their fingertips to what was good and right and positive about America.
One might think that to defeat the incumbent and destructive forces of 2010 would be easy. Simply look for men and women with the letter R after or before their names, and vote them out. Go right down the slates and pick only representatives who tried to staunch the wounds of the Right. Who despite defeat and degradation, in public and private, made efforts to stop ISIS, bring gun control some measure of sanity, improve relationships between the workers and their employers, increase the minimum wage, believed in science, understood how important education is and will be, believed in fairness before the law. Who believe in charity and good works, as opposed to stiffing the working population or ripping off veterans. Who still believe in helping their neighbors rather than drawing up the bridges and hiding behind their moats.
Folks, controlling the US Senate is the single most important task before us. If we can change the complexion of the Senate, it just may come to pass that the Senate, and the House, will have to face each other and actually do the nation’s business.
Your ballot on November 8th will count whether or not you vote for a presidential candidate. While we hesitate to advocate for the European model of a president who is ceremonial only, we’re not getting anywhere as we are. Our representatives are invested in their own longevity, not the nation’s.
We need a nation of strivers, one where honesty and determination and pride carry the day. We’re not going to get it with Trump or Mrs. Clinton. It really is time for a change.