Political Parties

The Undermining Of Civility In America Long Lasting Damage, Setting Us Back From Progress Which Had Been Made In The 1950s, 1960s And 1970s

Civility is a lost art in America, with the two major political parties no longer able to work cooperatively for American advancement.

We now live in a society in which most people only read, watch, and listen to those who profess their religious and political beliefs.

A dialogue in which both sides respect their opponents is no longer conceivable, and one wonders what event will unite the American people and allow a return to reasonable discourse.

Will we ever have a President who is able to appeal across party lines and party beliefs?

In the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, there was a lot more bipartisanship on many issues, and much more “crossing the aisle”, rather than straight party line votes.

Members of Congress used to spend weekends with “friends” and their families despite different party labels.

That sense of camaraderie and shared commitment to do what is good for the nation is totally gone in 2017.

“Bad Blood” is now the norm, with little interaction, and even basic courtesies and manners are no longer utilized.

From 9-11 To 11-9: One American Tragedy To Another!

The 21st century began with the horrific attack on September 11, 2001 on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, killing nearly 3.000 civilians of many nations.

It ushered in a 15 year period of turmoil, division, and tremendous spending to fight terrorism and wage two unwinnable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It has led to persecution of Muslims in America, and promotion of nativism, racism, and antisemitism.

It has caused the two major political parties to fight each other in a way that prevents any cooperation on just about anything.

And then, in the midst of all this chaos and anxiety, along came a charlatan, a rookie in politics, a crooked businessman, a narcissist to the extreme, who was able to convince working class white males that he was their “Superman”, and would end terrorism, crime, and fight Wall Street, all fabrications.

So from the 9-11 tragedy, we went to 11-9, November 9, 2016, the declared victory of Donald Trump, who has caused more division and hatred than anyone in the past 15 years.

And he won due to the quirks of the Electoral College, having only one serious opponent who won electoral votes, but only winning 46 percent of all votes cast.

And November 9 is also the day in 1938 when we had Kristallnacht, the “Night of the Broken Glass”, when thousands of Jews became victims of a pogrom, as businesses and synagogues went up in flames and ushered in the beginning of the Holocaust in Nazi Germany, which killed six million Jews by 1945.

With the rise of white supremacy, and characters such as Richard Spencer and David Duke backing Donald Trump’s attacks on Mexicans. Muslims, and all immigration under attack, one can sense that we might be moving toward Fascism, with only the scandals around Donald Trump giving us the hope that his agenda may be stalled and prevented permanently.

The Farewell Address Of Barack Obama: Likely To Be One Of Best And Most Influential In American History

Barack Obama will give the 35th Farewell Address this evening in Chicago, where his career began.

All Presidents, except the eight Presidents who died in office, have given farewell addresses, although Richard Nixon’s final speech was awkward, and not really a Farewell Address.

Grover Cleveland had the chance to do it twice due to two nonconsecutive terms of office.

Most Farewell Addresses have been unmemorable, and one has to wonder what Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy might have said had they lived to retire from the Presidency.

But three Farewell Addresses in particular stand out.

George Washington (speaking out against political parties, and support of avoiding foreign entanglements).

Dwight D. Eisenhower (warning against the Military Industrial Complex dominating).

Jimmy Carter (speaking of the need to deal with the energy crisis, warning of the dangers of nuclear proliferation, and calling for continued pursuit of human rights around the world).

No one would ever say that Washington, Eisenhower, and Carter were great public speakers, but they all spoke words that have reverberated ever since.

Expect tonight that Barack Obama, who is a great public speaker, and has uttered many great speeches, will give a Farewell Address memorable for the ages, as he moves toward being part of history in ten days!

The Misinterpreted Thomas Jefferson, By The Right Wing, On the 272nd Anniversary Of His Birth

Thomas Jefferson, our most brilliant President intellectually, one of the great Founding Fathers, has been so misinterpreted by the right wing conservatives and Republicans, who have no clue as to his beliefs and thoughts.

The right wing has worked to distort Jefferson, making him out to be many things he was not.

They tell us Jefferson believed in a national religion, when Jefferson was a skeptic about organized Christianity, and became Deist in his beliefs, and opposed the concept of theocracy.

They tell us that Jefferson believed church and state should be unified, when he was the promoter of the Virginia Statute For Religious Freedom.

They tell us that Jefferson believed in a strict interpretation of the Constitution and the goodness of state and local governments over national government, which was true to an extent during the 1790s debate of Jefferson Vs. Alexander Hamilton, which helped to create political parties in America. But once he was President, Jefferson was a believer in a broad interpretation of the Constitution and the power of the national government.

They tell us that Jefferson would have been a supporter of the Republican Party of 2015, when his belief in civil liberties would have made him appalled at that party’s abuse of civil liberties in the name of national security.

They tell us that Jefferson would have been supportive of foreign intervention against Muslim civilization, due to Jefferson’s intervention in the Mediterranean against the Barbary Pirates of North Africa during his Presidency, but Jefferson did not promote Islamophobia, as most Republicans and conservatives advocate in their rhetoric.

Of course, Thomas Jefferson was a complex man, with many contradictions and often hypocritical views, as on race and slavery, but Jefferson was a man who believed in the power of learning and the intellectual life, and he would have been totally shocked at the goal of the Republican Party to keep the population ignorant, and to promote fear, instead of an enlightened view of mankind and events.

The Tea Party Movement At Five Years: What Has It Accomplished?

The Tea Party Movement reached five years of age in the last few days, and the question is what has been accomplished?

The Tea Party Movement has led to the following:

Complete stalemate and gridlock in both houses of Congress.

The weakening of the power of the Speaker of the House John Boehner to the level it was in 1910 after the “House Revolution” against Speaker Joseph Cannon.

The loss of a potential Senate majority for the Republican Party twice, when it seemed possible.

The undermining of the American economy and America’s image in the world.

The promotion of racism, misogyny, nativism, and hate and confrontation.

The undermining of national government in favor of sectionalism and secession.

The growing inability of President Obama to gain any kind of cooperation from the opposition party, unseen since the time of Andrew Johnson.

The loss of any reasonable civility between the leaders of the Republican Party and the President of the opposition party.

The growing split between the two major political parties in a manner unseen since the Civil War-Reconstruction Era 150 years ago.

The growing personal threats of assassination against President Obama, unseen at this level since the time of Abraham Lincoln.

But there are signs that the American people have had it with the Tea Party Movement in the Congress and in the state governments.

This is a clear cut warning for those promoting this divisiveness and anarchy, that the time for return to civility has arrived, and that if those in government now refuse to see the handwriting on the wall, then they will be repudiated in 2014 and 2016!

Triumph Of Progressivism: A Turning Point Challenge Fifty Years Apart: 1912, 1964, 2012!

The battle between conservatism and progressivism/liberalism has been an never ending struggle throughout American history, going back to the time of Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, and the creation of the first political party system in the Federalist Era of the 1790s.

After a half century of conservatism in charge in the Gilded Age and early Progressive Era, in 1912, we finally had the triumph of progressivism with the election of Woodrow Wilson, and the stellar second place finish of Theodore Roosevelt on the Progressive Party line. Wilson proceeded to promote economic and social reforms, partly based on Roosevelt’s ideas, and partly his own, and much of what was accomplished in the second decade of the 20th century remains with us today.

Reversion to Gilded Age mentality occurred under GOP Presidents in the 1920s and early 1930s, and the Great Depression led to a smashing landslide for Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s and 1940s, with the New Deal expanding much of what TR and Wilson had advocated, and additional ideas growing out of the economic crisis.

Harry Truman attempted more reforms in the late 1940s and early 1950s, but most were stymied by a conservative resurgence, and a similar situation existed in the Eisenhower years, and the Kennedy Presidency.

But when Lyndon B. Johnson came in after the assassination of President Kennedy, he dedicated himself to accomplishment of what FDR, Truman, and Kennedy could not achieve, and to expand beyond the New Deal of FDR with the Great Society.

The Republican Party and conservatives saw an opportunity to negate all of the economic and social changes of TR, Wilson and FDR, and Barry Goldwater, the 1964 right wing opponent of Johnson, declared war on the New Deal, and the result was a landslide defeat, and the greatest expansion of progressivism yet in our history.

By the time that Ronald Reagan won a victory for conservatives in 1980, and continuing through George W. Bush leaving in 2009, Republicans and the right wing set out to reverse the Great Society and New Deal, one program at a time, with Democrats being able to stop complete destruction, but Republicans and conservatives nipping away at one area of policy after another, and in the process increasing our national debt from $1 trillion when Reagan became President to $10.5 trillion when George W. Bush left office.

Barack Obama came in with the intention of solidifying the New Deal and Great Society, and also bringing a new Progressive Era. And now Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are declaring war on everything that has been done by the federal government in the past century—from TR, to Wilson, to FDR, to Truman, even to Ike, to JFK, LBJ, even Nixon, Carter, even George H. W. Bush, to Clinton, to Obama–in their desire to make America ever more an oligarchy, a corporate dominated nation, and to destroy the middle class and the poor, and return us to the Gilded Age that began in the 1870s!

So 2012 is the most ideological election since 1964, as that election was the most ideological election since 1912!

The future of every social and economic reform of the past century is at stake in this election, and progressives and liberals cannot afford to sit on the sidelines, as this is as Theodore Roosevelt dramatically called it a century ago, an ultimate battle of Armageddon for the future of America!

Hardball, Knuckleball Political Campaigning: Part Of The American Tradition!

Right or wrong, hardball and knuckleball political campaigning is part of the American tradition, and is nothing new in 2012.

We can go back to the origins of political parties in the 1790s, with the Federalists and Democratic Republicans at each other’s throats, beginning with John Adams and Thomas Jefferson nasty toward each other in 1796 and 1800.

Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams, and Jackson against Henry Clay, is another example widely reminiscent of hardball, knuckleball campaigning.

Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas went at each other, and after the Civil War, the Republicans looked at the Democrats as “traitors”!

When the progressives became prominent, conservatives went on the counterattack and have not stopped, under Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and now Barack Obama.

The no holds barred attack by the right wing, including McCarthyism in the 1950s and again now with Michele Bachmann and others, is finally getting a full measure of counterattack by the Democrats and liberals and progressives, as they have come to realize that being a civil campaigner does not work, and only emboldens the opposition.

Sadly, many people are turned off to this attack and counterattack, but it is not going to go away, and for anyone to decide not to vote because of this is the height of irresponsibility, as even with disgust with both sides and their tactics, it still does matter who wins and who controls power!

To sit on the sidelines is a horrible mistake at at time when the future is so uncertain, and requires all citizens to participate!

40 Years Since The Watergate Scandal Erupted: Its Long Range Effects

40 years ago today, the Watergate scandal erupted, as seven “burglars” were caught at the Watergate complex in Washington, DC, inside the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee.

The scandal lasted more than two years before President Richard Nixon was forced to resign, in the midst of an impeachment effort that had succeeded, and would have led to his removal from office had he not resigned.

The events of 40 years ago transformed the Presidency, the news media, the political parties, and Americans’ views of their government.

It has led to investigative media that is ready and willing to expose scandal and evil like never before.

It has led to such partisanship that no President can ever really have a true mandate anymore, and antagonism between the major political parties is at an all time high since the Civil War era.

Most Americans are skeptical of the value and virtues of government, a terrible and tragic event, considering the complex world we live in.

Richard Nixon’s reputation has risen quite a bit since his resignation, as many have realized how tragic his downfall was, as he had actually accomplished a great deal of good, mixed in with the evil events of his Presidency.

Disillusionment with many of his successors in the White House has also helped to make him look “better” in many people’s eyes, but the revelation of new transcripts of the Watergate tapes every year remind us just how dangerous and law breaking the 37th President of the United States actually was.

The need for mental health evaluations of Presidential candidates seem more essential now than ever, considering that there were manifestations of mental illness by Nixon, and instability in behavior by Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush in later times.

The Watergate scandal still fascinates us, as a turning point in American history, on the level of the Civil War and the Great Depression, in its long range impact on the nation.

With the Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, and the major exposer of the scandal, John Dean, still alive and kicking, Watergate in many ways is still current, but the question is whether the lessons of that scandal have been learned in a time when we are having millionaires and billionaires investing obscene amounts in campaign spending on the Presidential campaign, thanks to the disgraceful Citizens United case of the Supreme Court in 2010.

So in a sense, Watergate is the past, but also part of the present political situation, sadly!

The Classic Hamilton-Jefferson Struggle To Be Reenacted In The Presidential Election Of 2012!

America’s political party struggles began in the Federalist Era of the 1790s, when the Federalists formed under the leadership of Alexander Hamilton, and the Democratic Republicans were created under the leadership of Thomas Jefferson. Hamilton backed more national government and a broad interpretation of the Constitution, and Jefferson spoke up for more state and local government, and a strict interpretation of the Constitution.

As the centuries went by, and the political party system continued to evolve under different names, leaders, and issues, the classic Hamilton-Jefferson split continued to control our politics.

And now, the Hamilton-Jefferson split of more than two centuries duration, will have a classic confrontation in 2012, and it is actually much more important for the future of the nation than any election since 1964, when Barry Goldwater challenged Lyndon B. Johnson!

The debate in 2012 will be more important because of the split nature of our government presently, and the fact that this election is the culmination of 30 years of government dominated by conservatives.

Will we decide to cut down the size of the federal government dramatically and go back to the concept of states rights? What federal government responsibilities will be farmed back to the states, or into the hands of those who want privatization? How shall we deal with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, which led to bigger national government and more federal government responsibilities? How shall America deal with the world outside at a time of the growing influence of China, India, and Brazil in economic affairs? What should be the future of constitutional law, based to a great extent on appointment of Supreme Court Justices and other federal judges? How should the office of the Presidency develop in the future, and should his powers be brought under greater control by Congress and the courts?

These are among the questions that 2012 will decide, and the results will be much more important than just typically. The future of the Republic is at stake!

The Democratic Party Image Hurt By John Edwards And Anthony Weiner: Is Either Political Party Able To Avoid Scandal And Effectively Govern The Nation?

Just as the Democratic Party has been able to celebrate the gaining of Congressional District 26 in upstate New York in a special election to fill the seat of Republican Chris Lee, who resigned over a bare chest pic on the internet, they are beset by the indictment of former Senator John Edwards on misuse of Presidential campaign contributions to cover up his illicit relationship and the fathering of a child, and now by Congressman Anthony Weiner for his Twitter, Facebook, and internet conversations and pics that could best be described as raunchy!

But then the Republican Party has also had its ups and downs, and it seems a constant battle for each political party to stay above water in public opinion image!

That is why many often express willingness to be independent and have nonpartisans in public office, to do what is best for the American people.

But that is, unfortunately, not the history of political parties since the time of Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, and the reality is that the American people, by overwhelming numbers and the system mechanics that are in place, will continue to make a choice between candidates of the two major parties, and if dissatisfied, throw the “rascals” out on a regular basis.

The only problem with that will be the lack of institutional experience if there is constant turnover, and a group of “rookies” taking over and leaving every few years.

The question will have to be answered whether we are going to expect “perfect” people in public office, or realize the weaknesses of human nature and stop expecting our political leadership to come across as saintly, when even religious leadership and other fields of high respect produce many imperfect people.

Do we want mediocre people in office, as long as they are somehow utopian and seemingly perfect in their behavior, or are we willing to accept that the “great” people in public office, from the time of Benjamin Franklin to Bill Clinton and beyond, have “skeletons in the closet”?