As our government continues to pretend it has an interest in anything but enriching the individuals in Washington, a rather constant refrain of “broken system” has emerged. It heard that phrase repeatedly in conversations in San Diego, on a variety of topics. Now, I’m no stranger to buzzwords, but this strikes me as particularly apt to describe what we’re seeing. A democracy within a republic builds safeguards to prevent the abuse of power, but when abuse of power occurs and one political party insists on enabling such abuse, the system is indeed broken. Not only that, but there’s no will evident to fix it. The GOP glories in it, feeling like it’s somehow winning the game as families and individuals suffer as a result of it. In the past, it seems to me, there was a desire to repair what was an obvious problem.
Self-delusion, it seems, has become very common. That, and some older politicians may not be aware how frequently they’re shown in their foibles on the internet. Information that used to take weeks or months to filter out is now known instantaneously, and everybody’s overloaded and confused. Politicians, instead of trying to show us the way in such a landscape are rather acting like my late stepfather in saying “Do as I say, not as I do.” A fine bit of hypocrisy, that. At least he tried to mend his ways, even if not successful in his efforts. He would’ve known, however, that he had no business being president. I reflect on this broken system quite a lot and I wonder what is next for us. When trust in government is completely eroded, where do we turn?
Many have celebrated the decline of religion. Let’s be more precise here and say organized religion. Survey after survey reveals that we aren’t necessarily becoming less religious, but we’ve been watching prominent religious leaders throw their unstinting support behind a broken system. Many of them continue to ignore the truth to support an incumbent who’s demonstrated that he’d just as soon turn on them as help their cause. And for what? Simply to prop up a tottering system, to squeeze out the last drops of what can be used to make things better for themselves before it all falls down. As I was flying essentially coast to coast, it was evident from the air just how diverse a nation we are. For nearly 250 years we’ve been able to make it work. Now that it’s clearly broken, it seems the will to make it better has vanished. And only politics remain.