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Hoping For A Real Political Miracle

I liked Barrack Obama as a person when he was campaigning for president (although I liked him less as time went on). Although I didn't agree with most of his policies, I accepted the results of the election, wished him the best, and hoped that translated into what was best for the country and the world.

I don't like Donald Trump as a person, so maybe the opposite will happen and I'll like him more as time goes by. Either way I accept the results of the election, wish him the best, and hope he leaves office with things overall in better shape than when he entered.

I really don't like Hillary Clinton. If she'd been elected I'd have ... accepted the results, wished her the best, and hoped she would do what was best for the country and the world.

Of course, one of the main causes of acrimony in American politics is that none of us can agree on what's best for the country and the world in the first place. Just the same, one of the good things about America is that even in the worst of times, we've always had a peaceful transition of power. Even when nothing else is peaceful.

In any case, President Trump has two years to accomplish things with a Republican Congress, and no more. After that at least one half of Congress will switch to the control of the Democrats. If there's one thing we've seen in the last few months, it's that the Democrats are in no mood to tolerate the other side in any way.

Meanwhile, for two years the Republicans will feel they don't have to compromise in any way.

Yet that's exactly what both sides should do.

First, historically Democrats have controlled Congress more often than Republicans. Second, Congress and the White House are run more often than not by different parties. Both sides have wildly different views of how to get things done, and both believe they're in the moral right. (Except for those who don't care about the moral right, but only about power--many politicians are really good at concealing which is their driving force.)

Revenge and one-upmanship are getting us nowhere. Half the country always feels disenfranchised and even punished, then responds with personal attacks and political sabotage. When they gain control, it's revenge time.

We can't ask anyone to compromise their values, if they have any. We can ask them to look at the other side, really examine the issues from all angles, and be willing to compromise when compromise is possible. You don't have to agree with your opponents--you don't even have to like them. But understand their points of view. Get past personalities and work on the issues. This country has problems, and you in Washington, you're not helping.

And no, this isn't meant for one side; it's meant for everyone. Just ... get along. I'm not asking for miracles.

Okay, maybe I am.

(Note: I'm not interested in a "but they started it and/or they're worse at it" argument. I have my opinions in that area, but this is about future behavior, not past.)

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
curiouswombat
Jan. 21st, 2017 08:30 pm (UTC)
What I find really odd about your political system (apart from the Electoral College which is just weird), is something that I only really realised in the past few years.

It is that none of your top political/government figures are actually elected or accountable to the electorate. I had always assumed that people of my youth like Henry Kissinger, or more recent like Madeline Albright, were chosen by the president from those already elected to Congress.

I was amazed to realise that your president can choose who he or she wants in all these roles from anyone at all.

ozma914
Jan. 22nd, 2017 06:55 pm (UTC)
The electoral college is one of those things that seemed like a good idea at the time, and still is in one area. The original idea was that the individual people couldn't really be trusted, so the electors were a last-ditched way to keep them from making a terrible mistake. Now, of course, some people are saying it leads to the exact opposite.

The other reason--and this one still makes a certain amount of sense--is that by giving states electoral votes according to how many members of congress that state has, it would guarantee that even the smallest states still had some say in government. Without it, for instance, only a few big states would decide every presidential election, with the result being the president would never again have to worry about the needs or opinions of anyone in the other dozens of states. With the electoral college, small and sparsely populated states still matter. In theory.

The appointment process also made a lot more sense way back when: even though the appointees aren't elected, they're picked by the President, and confirmed by the Congress, so elected officials are still involved. However, under the Constitution the federal government was meant to be small and limited--a lot of things about our government make a lot more sense when that's taken into consideration. As it stands now we've got a bloated, expensive, wasteful government that's being run more by bureaucrats than by representatives.
curiouswombat
Jan. 22nd, 2017 08:23 pm (UTC)
Wouldn't it make sense, now, for each state to have its representatives in the electoral college vote in proportion to the way the voters did? Small states would still have their say, but the person given the job would then be more likely to be the one that the majority of the population had chosen, and even if not it would still be a fair system.

But I can see change is unlikely as the winner is always going to approve of the system that elected them - and not do much to change it!

In the UK system, and ours, and that of many European countries, the final power in any role is always given to the elected representatives - anyone unelected is seen as their advisors because that 'expert' is not answerable to the people and so should not be given the power to make decisions.

I think your system is more open to abuse, as I understand it. This is sad because the people who set it up clearly felt that it would lead to better government than they had experienced in their countries of origin, or the countries of their parents' origins. But over time the systems of those countries have been reviewed and changed * whereas yours was designed in such a way, as a safeguard, that it has not been able to change as the country has.

*So - in the UK there is no longer a second hereditary chamber of Parliament - although hereditary titles still exist, and although those sitting in the upper house have the courtesy title of Lord or Lady, the two are not the same thing. And in our Tynwald we have recently regularised the whole system so that, although there are still 24 representatives (sacrosanct- there have been 24 of them for over 1,000 years!), constituencies have been completely redrawn, rather than following the old sheadings, so that there are now 12, each with a similar population, and each to choose two members.

Edited at 2017-01-22 08:25 pm (UTC)
ozma914
Jan. 23rd, 2017 01:22 am (UTC)
That would certainly seem to be one way to do it! Of course, Congress is elected by popular vote: And if they did their job as outlined in the Constitution, they'd have a lot more power than the President, anyway. But in any case changing the Electoral Collage would take an amendment to the Constitution, and that has to be done by the majority of the state legislatures, rather than in Washington.

The same goes with appointed offices such as the secretary of state: They answer to the President and Congress, and aren't supposed to have any direct power that's not given to them by elected officials. If the people feel that power's being taken advantage of, then the job of the people is to kick the people who are letting it happen out of office in the next election.

And there you have the real problem in America: Most of us don't vote, and when we do we tend to vote for whoever is already in office, or whoever looks good or practices his speech the most. The Founding Fathers understood, and warned, that our Republic would only last so long as we kept our thumbs on those we elect, avoid parties and career politicians, and clean house every now and then.
angelus2hot
Jan. 22nd, 2017 02:29 pm (UTC)
My hats off to you for posting your opinion.

I don't talk about politics on LJ because it's really not a good thing to do unless you agree with those around you. At least that's been my experience.

However I do agree with you wholeheartedlty. Compromise is the key to getting America back in shape and running smoothly. Unfortunately it seems as if most people whether Americans or not don't agree with that at all.
ozma914
Jan. 22nd, 2017 06:45 pm (UTC)
No, I think you're right about that last. Nobody wants to compromise, so much so that I was attacked on Facebook for daring to suggest it. *sigh* I have friends across the political spectrum, and I just don't like arguing with my friends.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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