I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. -- Martin Luther King, Jr.
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I’m Actually Kind of Serious
October 9, 2018Posted by on
Back when the GWB Administration began pounding the drums of war to invade Iraq I predicted that such a war would be the beginning of the end of the American Century, the American Empire, the end of American dominance in the world. Considering that we are still there and still in Afghanistan and have literally wasted trillions of dollars in those efforts, I may end up right.
What? You ask how I could suggest this was a waste? Well, yeah, show me a single benefit to America, the world, or the people of those two countries or their geographic regions have received as a result of our entanglements in Iraq and Afghanistan and we can talk.
Imagine instead that those trillions of dollars were spent here at home or on programs that truly benefited people living in other countries. Let’s start at home — our infrastructure is crumbling, our education system continues to decline, our health care system … well, yeah. The list could go on, but I’d suggest that the internal decay of this country has accelerated significantly in the years since we invaded Iraq. What if those funds were spent to advance the cause of health and well-bring in the Third World? None of that happened — instead it was all sucked, and continues to be sucked, into endless, fruitless wars that serve no purpose and for which our “leaders” have abandoned any discussion of how to end them.
Meanwhile government debt has exploded. We will soon be spending more on financing the federal debt than we spend on the military and defense. Think about it, there will come a day very soon where the combined amount this nation spends each year on debt and the military will be in the neighborhood of $1.3 or 1.4 TRILLION dollars. And every year that number will just keep rising. The result is that what is left in terms of what the federal government has left to address the nation’s other needs is mere crumbs.
And that is what our political parties are fighting over. Crumbs. All this noise and hate and bullying and name-calling and intolerance is over crumbs.
A few weeks ago, I met a friend after work for a beer and to discuss a book we had both read. When I got to the brewery, her husband and another friend were there. The four of us discussed the book and then started discussing the political state of the United States. Three of us are varying degrees of Democrats. The fourth is a Republican. We all agreed that something needs to be done. That there needs to a new movement in this country because the two party system is failing us.
We were at the BikeDog Brewery and joked that we would name this new movement the BikeDog Populist Movement.
In my lifetime, I have seen this idea come and go. The problem is that it is either a high profile independent that draws the attention for a single high profile office — like John Anderson in 1980 or Ross Perot in the 1990s running for President — or it’s just talk — like think tanks and consortiums formed to talk about how to improve things.
As near as I can tell, over the last few decades there has not been a serious effort made to take a third way approach to American politics. To actually identify candidates who are interested in bipartisan approaches to our nation’s, state’s, and community’s problems and who are not willing to participate in the politics as usual catastrophe that has taken over. To find candidates who are willing to diverge from the standard policies and tactics of the two major parties. To fund those candidates and begin the process of fundamentally changing the dynamic. High profile offices alone won’t make it work. Just talking will do nothing. A combination of those two won’t do anything either.
What needs to happen is for the Michael Bloombergs, the Arnold Schwarzeneggers, the Bob Shrums, the Mike Murphys, and all of the others who are talking about this to stop talking and start doing. Join forces and start somewhere. A city. A state. A place that seems amenable to a middle-of-the-road, non-partisan approach and run candidates who will do what needs to be done. Take over a city council with these candidates, become a true third party in a State Legislature and begin to change the way things are done in this country today. Challenge the orthodoxy that says it is only the Democrats and Republicans who can acquire the power to govern (or not). Prove it can be done and the movement could grow.
There is no other way to make this change happen. The two major parties have become mirror images of each other. Too blinded by the passion of their extremes to see the wisdom of their moderates. Too obsessed with the glitter of money and the aphrodisiac allure of power to see they are leading us into the abyss. Too afraid to challenge the unreasonable in their midst to truly and effectively lead.
We are in the midst of the end of our American experiment, only most people don’t realize it and those who have the power to do something about it are too afraid and too blind to do the right thing.
It’s time for those who aren’t to do something about it. Something real. Something meaningful. Something that is more than just talk. This country needs real action and it needs to start now.