The Lost Americans

lincoln

I thought today I’d write on everybody’s favorite subject: politics.  I can already hear the groans, but for this country, the impending midterm elections may be the most important for a generation.  I’ll explain.

I’ve never seen a partisan divide like we have today. Ever. Of course the 2 major parties have always had differences in their vision for America, but today, the divide  between the 2 is so substantial, so vitriolic and malicious as to appear to any outside observer that it doesn’t seem to be solvable. If my words here seem dire to you, they should. We as a country have lost the ability to reason and compromise amongst ourselves. If you’re not with me, you’re against me.

The major problem in my opinion is the actual lack of vision for America’s future from either party. In fact, with a few differences, I can hardly tell one from the other. But that problem is caused by we, the electorate because we do not demand responsible government from those we elect. We’ve become apathetic about government, allowing them to act in our name, without consequence.

What our betters (in their minds), those we elect to high office forget once they’re sworn in, is the actual Constitution. For them, it’s all about power, and yes, sometimes, money.  Our refusal to hold any of them accountable, in either party, allows them to do whatever they want – reaping the benefits along the way.

Compromise has become an epithet and today’s politicians are even afraid to use that word in public fearing backlash from voters.  Therefore we witness the daily histrionics on both sides, playing to their base, forgetting about the 60%.  We no longer, as a nation, have representative government in the way the framers envisioned. Sure, we all still vote, so technically it’s called Representative Government, but until we, the electors, hold our government to account, it’s little more than a 3rd world country where those implementing law may do as they please because they know, we’ll just vote party, without conscience. No accountability. No consequences.

There are plenty of people that I know, liberal and conservative, that are perfectly reasonable. We can discuss issues that affect all Americans without rancor, or ugly partisanship. We can disagree. We can, together, come to a consensus on some of the most partisan issues the media like to highlight, in an attempt to further divide this country. It’s great for them, clicks and viewership. Money.

But it’s awful for the majority of Americans that go to work everyday, raise their families, pay their bills. It’s not my father’s country that spent his young adult life fighting for. Nor my mother, who raised her children to believe in this country: in its unique ability to correct it’s wrongs from the past. In the idea that there is a future for everyone, every American.

We’re dispirited, my liberal and conservative friends, because this is not the country we were raised to believe in. It’s not the country our parents, grandparents, fought to preserve. We no longer recognize it.

We’ve acceded to those  whose interests are not ours. We’ve abandoned love of country for love of self-interest. We have lost our identity as a country. We no longer have the glue of being uniquely American to hold us together, an experiment in democracy that has changed the face of this world.

Unless we, the people, decide we want to return to what the founders of this country envisioned, and the framers of the Constitution construed, we will forever be in cycles of despair.

4 thoughts on “The Lost Americans

  1. You’re correct.
    The degree of polarization is frightening.

    Lucky thing the Founders had a balanced view of compromise.
    Without that, the war for independence might have been an ugly free-for-all with the winners tearing apart the losers.

    Most other revolutions were followed by Terrors, but the United States was spared that.

    I hope it’s always so.

  2. Sadly, I think you are correct. The path to our current state has been long and convoluted, and untangling and rewinding it is going to take much time and great effort. For a Constitutional Republic to thrive, we were told that an informed, active and moral citizenry was required. It was the public’s to lose due to apathy, ignorance and lack of self-restraint…and we have come close to losing it.

    I think there has been a start. The biggest problem is that too many wanted to see us well down the path to losing America and their “resistance” to this change is appealing to those who claim to be intellectually and ethically superior. That and the fact that the road back will be long and hard will not play well with a citizenry, which likes instant reward, even if they actually approve of the change.

    Yet, there is always Hope. “I will never give up Hope. He is my favorite radio star” said Pauline.

    From Emily Dickinson, and phooey on any atheist who quibbles with the use of the word “soul.”

    “Hope” is the thing with feathers –
    That perches in the soul –
    And sings the tune without the words –
    And never stops – at all –

    And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
    And sore must be the storm –
    That could abash the little Bird
    That kept so many warm –

    I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
    And on the strangest Sea –
    Yet – never – in Extremity,
    It asked a crumb – of me.

  3. Great post! I don’t know that I’d claim that the American people (or people in general) have ever been particularly reasonable, but it does seem like we are less reasonable today at least in the political arena. I also see that many who once were reasonable have simply checked out. I miss their presence, but I cannot blame them. One can only butt one’s head against the wall for so long. I have heard some talk about reclaiming the mythical center. It is a nice idea, but I find myself thinking of it more in terms of reclaiming reason. There are reasonable liberals and liberal conservatives; there just aren’t nearly enough of either.

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