Politically Incorrect

We’ve been dwelling so long in the materialist worldview that we’ve come to doubt evil.  Oh, we still use the word, but we don’t really believe it manifests itself in any real way.  I wonder, however, about it’s association with power.  Lord Acton’s adage is appropriately apt, but when the word “corrupt” enters in one has to wonder about whether evil is lurking.  I’m thinking about these things because some friends were recently telling me about “political” machinations of the Republican Party right here in Pennsylvania.  Initiatives that rank and file Republicans object to as being unfair, but are trying to be ramrodded through because they will keep one party in power forever.  Trump, a man with a staggering number of lawsuits against him before he even received the “grand old” party’s nomination, made it acceptable to bring blatant cheating into the political arena.

Credit: Elkanah Tisdale (1771-1835), via Wikimedia Commons

A recent story in the New York Times discussed how the Republican Party has been focusing on winning despite what the people want.  Its own people.  In other words, a planned destruction of democracy.  A hostile takeover bid for the nation.  Here in Pennsylvania, those who understand the legislation say, a variety of bills and propositions are being put forward—particularly gerrymandering—to ensure that the losers of the popular vote will nevertheless win.  We’ve seen this on the national level when the electoral college has elected a couple of Republican presidents who’ve clearly lost the popular vote.  It never elects Democrats that way—they win both popular and electoral votes when they win.  The fact that Republicans are actively trying to make it harder to vote so they can maintain minority(!) rule would be ironic if it weren’t so, well, evil.

I remember my first civics course (which most Republicans, it seems, never took) in middle school.  I remember my teacher—who was a smart man—saying that voters never elect someone who will hurt their financial interests.  This was before Reagan was elected and every Republican president since has favored the rich over their own poor and working class supporters.  I’m not a political scientist.  I find politics boring and I resent having to try to have to learn an entire new discipline just to keep living in the country where I was born.  We would find, I expect, widespread agreement that taking a country by force of arms is evil.  Taking it by shady lawmaking that is the very definition of corruption, apparently, is not.  The Trump administration took corruption to new heights, right in the eye of the public.  Could a Democrat make such a showing in an election after stating outright on television that Republicans can only win by cheating?   And when he lost fairly and squarely to try to overturn that result and still be the favored candidate for a party that’s lost its moral bearings?  We put the word “evil” to bed a little too soon, I fear.


November Dreaming

I recently took part in a non-partisan postcard-writing effort sponsored by Moms Rising.  The idea is simple enough: encourage people to get out and vote.  Such is the state of our country that some people see this as a liberal agenda.  An anti-patriotic act.  Who would object to people voting (apart from the Republican Party, that is)?  Apparently we’re now simply supposed to accept what the present administration hands down, including its desire to retain power legally or illegally.  Those who suggest that people should be given their constitutional voices are considered radicals.  This would be ironic were it not so dangerous.  The only reason the powers that be are in office is because of an election, and one that was “won” by that gaming of the system known as the electoral college.  Now that Covid-19 is ravaging our country, those who refuse to do anything about it want to strengthen their grip.  And their followers blindly say “Amen.”

Postcard writing does not involve telling the potential electorate whom to choose.  The message we’re instructed to write is simply encouraging others to vote.  Gerrymandering and making people stand in Covid-laced long lines have been “tactics” used by current supporters of the modern-day plague to keep their hold on power.  When trying to get people to vote is considered an act of sedition we need to stop and think what democracy has become.  If you don’t believe everyone should vote then you have no right to object—your voice is your vote.  I stand with Moms Rising to test the room.  Let’s see if what’s happening here is really the will of the people.  And I don’t mean that house of lower education, the so-called electoral college.

If you’re inclined to help with the effort, all it costs is a little time.  Check out Moms Rising’s website.  They’ll send you a packet of postcards for free with a postage-paid envelope to mail them back.  All you need to do is write a sentence or two in the blank space on the back, put the cards in the envelope, and drop it in a mailbox.  It costs so little and so much is at stake.  Time is a commodity, I know.  Given that our time is running out, however, it seems that sparing a bit of it to keep democracy breathing is important.  No— vital.  My regular readers know how I often express my wish/need for just a little more time to accomplish what I’d like to squeeze into a day.  I’ll gladly sacrifice ten minutes for the good of the country I call home.


Taking My Marbles

Cheaters, we were told as children, never prosper. It turns out that this chestnut never grew into a tree. Cheaters become Republican congressional leaders instead. What’s bugging me today is gerrymandering. The idea that you can change the rules even as the game’s in play is, well, cheating. We all learned how that felt when we were kids with our marbles, or cards, or pick-up-sticks. Nobody liked to be called a cheater. Now it seems to be the best path to the White House. And the standard-issue Republicans are fine with it. Me, I dream of a country where the people are free and fair. Where the rules that were established centuries before you were born can’t be changed because some lout with a lot of money says he feels the right way about unborn babies. A land where reason is real.

The idea that you can redraw boundaries to consolidate your power is even more insidious than the Electoral College. That’s a game that long ago lost its purpose, but the GOP won’t let it go because it always favors them. Problem is there will never be neutral turf again. Who didn’t have the experience as a kid of playing with someone whose luck had run out and then having them pout, “I’m taking my marbles and going home”? Who hasn’t been on the other end of that scenario? I certainly have. Sometimes it takes years to play out before things start to seem fair again. The point is, most of us grow up and most of us know the rule of law is a good thing.

The rule of law, however, has completely broken down in these Untied States. Any law can be jerry-rigged. All it takes is a mogul with a lot of money and underlings panting for handouts. Plain and simple selfishness. An American classic. There was a time, in living memory, when Watergate would sink a President. Now highly public extra-marital affairs are fine. Bill Clinton was impeached for a, well, I know the rules so I won’t say. Giving secrets to the Russians? A mere trifle. Top government posts for your family? Of course, go ahead. Using high government office to enrich you personally by gerrymandering which countries you’ll exclude from these hallowed shores? What’s wrong with that? Every step of the way the GOP wallows its filthy, cheating face in the dirt. And it wants to change the rules so it can stay this way for all time. Me, well, at least I can still dream, even if I lose all my marbles in this crooked game. It’s the American way.