Can you hear? Paul Revere is calling!
I have always believed that the genius of America is derived from the ability of its people, from all walks of life and differing backgrounds, to talk together and educated each other.
I am not alone on this.
In the 1830s, almost 50 years after America was founded, Alex de Tocqueville, a visiting French diplomat wrote: “The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.”
The way America has “repair[ed] her faults” and ensured its greatness has been “we the people” talking together and educating each other, and with the collective credibility of our conversation we voice our conclusions with our votes.
The founding fathers universally opposed political parties.
They feared that political parties could act as intermediaries for the voice of the electorate. I would argue that the political parties have now evolved to protect only themselves.
Our elected representatives are heavily funded by the political parties and rewarded with better health and retirement benefits than those whom they represent. They vote in lockstep with the party interests.
Recently the political parties have divided us through gerrymandering, voter suppression, and by defining the issues of our conversation, and we are polarized.
The parties relentlessly continue to further increase their power and our polarization at our expense. Most recently, in 19 states they have limited our collective voice, which is the vote. The parties now just fight each other for dominance rather than represent their constituents.
The polarization of America threatens not only our greatness but now even our democracy.
We no longer talk to each other to repair America’s faults.
We the people are not the enemy. The Political parties are.
So what do we the people do?
First, we pass the deadlocked voting rights legislation presently pending in Congress, which would curtail gerrymandering and preserve every American’s right to vote.
Second, we must regain our obligation to share our collective conversation and educate each other from our differing experiences.
Sixty years ago, John F. Kennedy spoke to the nation and said “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”
What is asked of us now, other than to pay taxes, which we avoid as much as possible? That’s about it. With little or no responsibility to our county, we have become entitled, lazy, and self-centered.
The Second World War brought us together as we marshaled our resources to protect democracy and the free world against the fascist states of Germany, Italy, and Japan. These countries lost their freedom from the inside when they let totalitarianism take over. In contrast, the American people worked together side-by-side, talked together, and came out of that war as the most prosperous nation in the world up until now.
What if we each agreed to a universal commitment to serve the country for just one year to work together side by side, talking together and in so doing eradicate the political parties’ polarization which now separates us?
The 2022 election, one year away, will set in stone for ten years the gerrymandering and voter suppression which has been imposed on us. We the people must take our government back now or perhaps lose it forever to the power brokers that were once middleman and now are our kings. We are not their servants.
But that’s not all we have to do. We have to individually accept the responsibility to talk to those who are our perceived enemy and not lecture each other but listen and learn and become great again.
I have been blessed with critics of my points of view on this blog and on more than one occasion I have asked to meet them and buy them a beer. In each case, I have made a friend with a different political perspective, and an American friend at that.
We are not the enemy! We hold the genius of America in our hands if we will only embrace our responsibility and get rid of those who would make us slaves to their superiority and greed.
It is time to raise up before it is too late. It’s up to us to protect our democracy and our country.
Wake up! Paul Revere is calling.