PEOPLE WHO LOVE, SUPPORT, AND DEFEND THEIR COUNTRY AND ITS INTERESTS
The fat lady has sung and it is finally over. Hillary won the battle (most votes) but lost the war. It’s time to wipe away the tears and take off the black arm band. The center of the universe has been relocated to the lobby of Trump tower, where supporters arrive hoping to take the elevator to the top and be rewarded by the great one. We were wrong about so many things. We expected this to be a landslide victory for the Democrats, but we were also wrong about Mr. Trump. From the very beginning of this crazy campaign, he had been telling us that he was the greatest, and now here he sits at the top of his tower dolling out goodies to the faithful as he becomes the most powerful person in the world. It doesn’t get much greater than that.
THE NASTIER THE BETTER
Conventional wisdom says that negative campaigning works, and this election has set new records for the use of that strategy with name calling, character assassination, unproven accusations, misquotes and even threats. In most any other situation, such discourse would be labeled slanderous. There has also been a great deal of scapegoating, divisiveness, and fear mongering. I, for one, can see no benefit to my country by the use of such tools by our leaders, which inspired me to ask the question: “Where are the Patriots?”
We hire our leaders in jobs all the way from school boards to presidents to run things and look out for us. We expect integrity, and we hope for wisdom. It seems to me that both are too often lacking. The size and complexity of the operations of the federal arm of our government must make for endless opportunities for corruption. When those we have hired make self-serving decisions rather than for the common good, we are betrayed. Rude and disrespectful behavior by our leaders cheapens us all. Those who promote hatred between groups of citizens weaken our country, for as one of our most famous Patriots said, “We must all hang together or we shall all hang separately.”
IF YOU CAN’T BREAK IT, GO AROUND IT
The separation of powers principal was wisely developed by the founders to hopefully eliminate the effect of the lust for power that is so common in many job seekers. Congress is charged with the making of laws, the Supreme Court with deciding on their legality, and the president with the power to veto. Initially those selected to govern considered it a sacrificial duty to serve, and there were not many clamoring to leave their farms to spend time in Washington. However, it was not long until debates in the halls became a bit rancorous, factions developed, and eventually the two party system evolved. Nevertheless, issues continued to be debated. Recently, however, congressional rules have been used to stifle debate, and the majority leader in the senate not only refused to bring up for vote bills unpopular with his party, but shamelessly announced in public that his first priority was to prevent the president from having a successful term. This was said without any apparent regard as to the effect such obstructionism would have on the country.
This statement floored me, for, despite my inherent cynicism, I still believed that those whom we had employed were more concerned about their country than their political party, or their reelection. The idea that 250 or so people could all sit in the same room and have the same opinion about anything flies in the face of anything we know about people, yet the party proceeded to vote in lock step against every issue proposed by their congressional opponents, or the President. There were record numbers of filibusters. Compromise became a dirty word, analogous to the N word to describe our President. Of course, Democrats were not entirely blameless. The dislike each side had for the other reached an intensity bordering on outright hatred. I ask you, how could these guys call themselves patriots?
This level of dysfunction virtually guaranteed that little work would get done. There was more time and money spent on investigating each other than legislating. As a matter of fact, they passed fewer bills than at any time in recent history. People were fed up, and Congress’ approval ratings fell dramatically to record lows. Congress was judged to be even worse than the President, who was very near the bottom himself. Rather than having rational, adult discussions in search of solutions to the country’s problems, they chose to blame each other. Much time was wasted, and there was little time to waste. After all, this had become a part time job. Some of these guys admitted that they spent more time raising money than on governing.
The people were angry and were looking for someone different to run things, and they found such a person in Donald Trump. Oh was he different. In fact, many in his own party scoffed at him for entering the race. They refused to endorse him and cited a number of reasons why they judged him unfit to be president, yet, after he was nominated, they said they would vote for him. They gave no reason for their vote, and few indicated their opinion of his competence had changed. I was appalled at the thought that elected officials would vote for a leader who they were convinced was unfit. Anyone who believed Mr. Trump was unfit to be President would obviously believe that such a presidency would put our country at risk. How could anyone put party politics ahead of their country? I was also disappointed that no one seemed to take note of this behavior, which I thought was, if not treasonous, certainly unpatriotic in the extreme. I am sure that if questioned about this decision to vote, we would hear that the other choice was worse, but that doesn’t excuse it in my opinion.
IS ANYBODY OUT THERE?
It would be reasonable to expect to find a lot of patriots in the halls of our government, and I am sure there are many who satisfy the criteria as defined in the subtitle of this paper; although at times they are not very visible. It seems to me that patriotism should be a requirement to be considered for the job and that applicants should understand what that word entails. An American flag behind a desk doesn’t guarantee its occupant is a patriot. That can be known only by his deeds. Although this country screws up occasionally, we have much for which we can feel proud and grateful. One of such things is the freedom to say most anything, and even to be a jerk, but civility is probably more effective as a strategy to get things done. That freedom has been paid for with the blood of patriots. It demands our respect and should never be abused. Let’s hope patriots prevail, and our leaders read their job descriptions carefully.