Do you know someone who complains about a physical malady, but refuses to go to the doctor? That reminds me of what is happening to our nation. Our maladies are well known in experiential terms, but they continue on an on, because we don’t want to go to the doctor or take our medicine.
Loss of Confidence in Government
Our leading candidates for president could objectively be described by the terms, hate monger, extremist, untrustworthy, and unqualified. People are so dissatisfied with our political system they are looking beyond the fringes of what we would normally consider acceptable for leadership. People are fed up with politics and government dysfunction.
Obvious Prescription: Most people agree that money should not be a factor in elections, there should be term limits, legislative districts should be impartially configured, and legislators simply need to represent their constituency.
When President Obama was elected to his first term there was a lot of hope that change would come. He was on a reactionary mission to change our national image from independent cowboy to cooperative world citizen. As crises arose he made some pretty good speeches, but he did not lead.
We have witnessed a downward spiral in every troubled region of the world because of a huge leadership vacuum created by his pulling back, reigning in, and refusal to decisively stand against aggressive, murderous governments, and terrorist organizations. We have stood back while the greatest humanitarian/refugee crisis since WW II unfolded before us. We have made it clear to our allies, resistance fighters, and refugees; they are on their own.
Obvious Prescription: This nation can take strong action without rushing to war, but we have to be engaged. We have to have a cohesive policy. We can support our allies and we can do our part to prevent people from being slaughtered or misplaced by war. But we have to use our great diplomatic, economic, and military power responsibly, which means, we have to lead.
The great middle class that was the backbone of our nation and proof that we are the land of opportunity has shrank to less than 50% of the population. There are now more people at the highest and lowest income extremes than in the middle. The reasons abound: cheap labor abroad, unfriendly business regulations and tax structures here, untrained workers for today’s high tech jobs, and an obsessive focus on corporate profits. Way too many people have gone from one decent paying job to two lesser jobs in order to survive. Too many people have totally left the workforce out of frustration.
Obvious Prescription: It’s common knowledge that our nation needs tax and regulatory reform and simplification for businesses and families, and that we need an affordable education system that efficiently trains workers for a new generation of jobs.
We are experiencing the most significant racial unrest in fifty years. Profiling and the unnecessary use of force by law enforcement should have been eliminated long, long ago. Yet, I have heard little to nothing about the context of the unrest. Crime, poverty, and family life all play a huge role. If we get things straightened out with law enforcement, but ignore the systemic issues, the problems will continue.
Obvious Prescription: There must be local, solution-oriented conversations about the whole range of issues. There must be help for people who want to change things for the better.
We are a nation of gun totters, and our gun violence rates are exponentially higher than any developed nation in the world. We are also a nation that has abandoned our mentally ill. Bad combination.
Obvious Prescription: Common sense has been over-ridden by lobbyists and conspiracy theorists. Universal background checks, assault weapon bans, and no guns for people on the “no fly” list should not be so difficult.
What We Need
The general pathway to begin to get on the solution side of these issues is widely known. It is the political will that is absent and it is the media who loves to fan the flames to boost their ratings. The compulsion to keep the power base in tact has resulted polarization and paralysis.
We need leaders who represent their constituents, not their party or their mega donors. We need leaders who can talk to talk to people who see things differently, and still move things forward. That’s called legislating.
We need solutions, not finger pointing.