Once again the system of political change functioned properly in the United States without a shot being fired. This is the third President in a row who experienced a political upheaval from the other party on a mid-term election. But this one was truly major. I liked the observation made in the conservative "National Review" in which this election summary was presented as the proverbial dog that caught the automobile ...now what? Indeed, now what?
The President will now focus more on foreign policy where he will have more of his own authority in tact. The Republicans in the House of Representatives, especially the Speaker, will claim each time they do not get carte blanche that we must remember that it is the President who sets the agenda. Early on, there will be the usual calls for cooperation "by the other side." The Senate will develop its own atmosphere where some old hands prevailed, the tea party has not been as successful, and there will remain more experiece among the membership.
In view of the long mid-term election cycle we just suffered through, perhaps this would be a good time to reflect on what it is, what we call American democracy. Both sides of the American political spectrum claim to hold the true democracy ideals in their camp. After seeing what has happened in politics in recent years, we have lost something. We have lost our way. Here are some views on what Ameican democracy is or what it should be from a variety of people...
"The legitimate object of government is to do for the community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do at all in their separate and individual capacities." -Abraham Lincoln
It is interesting to watch and listen to all the pundits from the left and the right interpreting the results of the recent election. I often wonder how can these people be paid such big money for missing the point, not knowing history, or feeling they MUST give a specific political point of view. Whatever happened to objective and professional journalism?
When I listen to the BBC it is as though I am hearing the news from another planet. Thank goodness for the BBC! To be restricted to the unscholarly and slanted news in the U.S. is like living at the bottom of a barrel. Occasionally NPR offers some journalistic perspective, but they do not have either the staff nor the resources to cover the world the way the BBC does. I try to supplement my broadcast news with periodicals from England also. But it is still difficult to get the straight news from real journalists. The broadcast news networks think they are being principled when they put on a viewpoint from the right and one from the left. Hint: the news should not be presented as "from the left or the right." There is plenty of room for slanted, ignorant, ranting from both political perspectives. And ratings will not always be captured by loud, unprincipled shouting and distortion. Today's broadcast ratings are a little like early TV wrestling matches. Some people believed those wrestling matches were honest. Some people believe that broadcasts by Obermann, Rush, Glenn, etc. are real news, real journalism. It scares me that this is how politics is being played out in America.
Anytime of the year you can serve American military veterans. I remember driving past a huge veterans' cemetery and seeing a young mother lying face down on a grave. She was sobbing uncontrolably. A baby was sitting in a stroller next to her. Imagine the grief and sadness accompanying that picture. I felt guilty that I had not done enough to help. I pulled up my car near the grave and waited for a more appropriate time to talk with her. Finally she got up, I walked toward her and asked if I could help n any way. She again began sobbing. I thought I had made a mistake and only made things worse. But we did talk, and we went to a nearby fast food restaurant and had lunch. I kept in contact with her for a couple of years until I moved to another state. I think of her often. How many stories there are of veterans and their families.
How may you help to serve veterans? There are untold ways. If you want some suggestions, contact a local VFW or American Legion post. If you live in the Milwaukee area, contact Woods, Wisconsin's veterans facility. It was one of the first in the nation and is huge. They have many suggestions for you. Or call and visit the Zablocki Veterans Hospital adjacent to the campus of Woods in West Milwaukee. Talk to a voluteer coordinator or social worker. Perhaps just visiting with a lonely vet. Or a walk around the grounds. Or other little gestures of kindness and appreciation for their service and sacrifice.
OK, I accept the results of the recent election. A Republican landslide? Yep. Now what?
Getting elected was the easy part. Now comes legislating and fulfilling all those promises made. Using amazing amounts of money to run a campaign, using huge amounts of money to advertise, and making promises akin to motherhood and apple pie, Republicans are now given the legislative reins to work for the common good. That is the tough part.
Thanks for the comments to my last blog. Thanks especially to progressives for yielding the floor.
In the midst of a very confused and muddled political climate, I came across a remarkably intelligent essay. Whether you agree or disagree, methinks it is worthy of reading. If is titled "Gone Missing: The country's conscience, brain and heart" by Hal Crowther, and appeared in the November 17th issue of INDEPENDENT, a weekly periodical published in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. Excerpts...
Right or left, conservative or progressive, Republican or Democrat, one thing we can all agree on: this is a horrible attempt at humor. As your family and friends gather around you this Thanksgiving, don't allow your little differences to overwhelm what you have in common. Throw in an occasional zinger that is more or less appropriate for this specific holiday. Here are some very poor suggestions...
Your goose is cooked ... I yam what I yam ... your ideas are like the mashed potatos ... you're full of beans ... are you giving me the bird? ... what a turkey you are! ... shut up and pass the pumpkin pie ... he wants all the gravy ... you get the last part of the bird over the fence ... let's make a wish ...
I am not prone to read the comments following my blog posts, but occasionally I will check and see what is there and if I have been misunderstood about anything. I continue to be dismayed at the uncivil comments that appear from the left and the right. And what happened to the intelligent and educated "middle"?
I've given speeches throughout Europe and North America. Sometimes the audiences are primarily made up of people who have right and left political perspectives. But the questions and comments, even from those who may disagree with me, are respectful, civilized, and well thought-through. I've addressed audiences as large as 10,000 people, but never have had comments at the low level of those here. That is sad. Blogs are new. This specific blog site is new to me, and when I was asked to consider starting a blog at this site, I refused. But I was pressed and the request was offered again. I accepted. Little did I know I would run into this kind of anti-intellectual commentary. It is loaded with negativity, hate, racism, etc. When I read the comments here I feel like I want to take a bath. Those commenting are not even aware of the utter nonsense they present as truth and facts. The level of comments belongs in the gutter.