Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Reverse roles

Hayter’s Article – November 10, 2016

Post Election Time
            I don’t know about you, but I’m glad it’s over. Things didn’t come out the way I expected or hoped, but such is the way with politics. And, do-it-yourself plumbing projects.

You want to know what’s weird? I’ll tell you what’s weird. Less than half of the voting public just used a “rigged system” to select a non-politician as President-elect of the United States. And – get this -- they did it without firing a shot. Is this a great country or what?

            There are two upsides to this election. I heard no one try to make an argument about the Republicans being the party of Jesus. That was soooo refreshing. Also, the Democrats no longer have to suffer the slings and arrows of the opposition. The sides are now swapped as the Democrats get to assume the role of insatiable griper, while Republicans find themselves coming up with reasonable explanations as to why stuff’s not working.  

            Britain refers to the minority parties in Parliament as “The Loyal Opposition.” The parties with fewer Parliamentary members get to ridicule all they want, but, during all the debate, all sides maintain a loyalty to Queen and Country. The U.S. has come close to that notion, but not recently.  

            President Johnson used to call leaders of the two parties in Congress together to drink and deal behind closed doors. After agreements were reached, Republican Senate Minority leader, Everett Dirksen, would put pressure on a few of his own members to vote along with the Democrats on certain hot-button issues like Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act, in order to gain Democratic support on bills with a Republican flavor. It’s called “politics.” Better known as “compromise.”

            Nowadays, it’s near impossible for the President and Congress to negotiate in secret. Keeping a secret in Washington is like keeping green goo off the chin of a child who’s doing all he can to scream, “Enough with the strained peas!” (You should see the analogies I edited out.)

Most constituents refuse to believe that their representatives would ever compromise. In fact, one party in Congress has had members sign pledges they would not compromise on certain issues.  In 2012, 270 members of Congress signed a pledge never to vote on any provision that called for a raise in taxes. WWIII, cluster hurricanes, California falls into the Pacific, the debt reaches 24 digits … no new revenues. That definitely puts the kibosh on politics.

 As long as we have a Constitution that provides for Checks and Balances, things generally get done with the aid of compromise. There are other forms of government that require no compromise. None of them are indirect democracies.

            A direct democracy (everyone gets to vote on all actions of a government) is one of ‘em.  There are no elections necessary in a direct democracy, so you can do whatever you wish. That’s why it’s referred to as the most inefficient government known to man. Fortunately, there is no working model of a direct democracy in the world today.

Our system of government is known as an indirect democracy (voters select people to represent them in government). It is the most inefficient government in practice today. And, as most would agree, it beats the daylights out of the alternative forms. Uh,  for those of us living in the “Free World.”  

            Will democracy work in the Middle East? Those who are experimenting with it at the moment are having fits. When your political parties are based on religious sects, there is little to no compromise on anything. Each side has pledged itself to their vision of what Allah expects of them. The party that gets control is the one that manages to keep all others in check.

            Having one group with all power, makes the government efficient as all get out. Put a stop to crime, force worship, end worship, build a building, destroy a building, eliminate a foe... In the words of Yul Brenner, “So let it be written. So let it be done.” – Beg pardon? Oops. Yul Brenner played Pharaoh in “The Ten Commandments?”  

            So, there we have it. Governing is a bear. Manageable at times, but a chaotic mess at others. And, now we have elected a person who scares the willies out of many of us, but instills hope in the minds of less than half the voting public. Few of the frightened view “hope” as realistic. The other side is giddy with anticipation. It’s a part of the post election spirit.

            That’s why I think it best to end this piece with a quote from a man whose picture is hanging on the wall to my right. After the election of 1932 between Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt, Will Rogers said -- "There is only one redeeming thing about this whole election. It will be over at sundown, and let everybody pray that it's not a tie, for we couldn't go through with this thing again.”

            And the congregation said, “Amen!” – Next time.


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