The State of the Nation

The State of the Nation

I have been silent for several weeks while observing the many political issues saturating the country’s consciousness. I found it difficult to focus on just one topic, so I am going to comment on several issues that sparked a progression of thought in me.

Prayer, A Chaplain and the Speaker

I found it nearly impossible to believe that Speaker Ryan, nearing the end of his political career, would reportedly fire the House of Representative’s chaplain, Father Conroy, because his prayer addressed the issue of legislation with no winner or loser. If true, this error is now corrected, but it illustrates an issue that I addressed in one of my first blogs—both political establishments speak of winning and losing as laws are passed, when, in truth, it is only the American public that wins or loses. Each law passed by Congress should be a win for the people rather than victory for a political party.

Imagine a president shaking up Washington by challenging the premise of party gains and declaring it is the American people who are victors when just and progressive laws are passed.

The fired and restored chaplain was right—no winners or no losers in Congress, just people who do their jobs, so Americans can live more productive and meaningful lives filled with peace and happiness. The chaplain shook up Washington, Speaker Ryan and other politicians who have forgotten that being a representative in Congress is for the people. May our politicians remember that when a law is passed, it is the American people who triumph.

Flip, Flop Nation

Many people are dismayed by the proposed policies and passed legislation and executive orders of the current administration; but they should do not fret, for when another administration is elected, many of the policies and orders currently active will be reversed, amended or rescinded. This ebb and flow makes America a Flip Flop nation. Slowly, we are progressing, but we do so by taking two steps forward and one step back as we flip and flop our way into the future.

America is a Flip Flop nation because we the people elect members of Congress who refuse to assume the mantel of compromise and creativity. Many of those elected refuse to work together and to merge the best ideas of both parties.

I long for the day when we the people will elect creative legislators who work together to create policies and laws that serve as a foundation for our continued evolution and success as a nation. The Flip Flop nation will be no more, and the steady march of progress will take the nation where it has never been before.

Was There Collusion?

Was there collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians? The truth is: we don’t know yet. However, one thing is certain. There was an attempt at collusion as the Trump campaign welcomed Russian help in the 2016 election. The evidence: 1). The meeting in Trump Tower that was first proclaimed to be about Russian adoption when it was actually an attempt to acquire “delicious dirt” on Hillary Clinton. 2). Statements by presidential candidate Donald Trump on national television inviting the Russians to hack emails that would help his presidential bid.

Mid-Year Elections

Most likely, Republicans will lose a net number of seats in Congress during the November mid-year elections. No one knows if the losses will be sufficient to allow the Democrats to take control of one or both Houses of Congress.

Many people will rejoice if congressional control shifts to the Democrats, but there are two Republican loses that have already occurred that I regret.

In recent years, the Republican Party was a voice of fiscal restraint and budgetary responsibility. The recent tax bill and increased spending reveal that fiscal responsibility is no longer a plank in the Republican platform. This is a loss for the nation.

In addition, the Republican Party used to hold the high ground of “Family Values,” but they relinquished this exalted position when they supported the election of a self-proclaimed philanderer—one who openly spoke of pursuing “hard” a married woman. It did not matter. Policy trumped character, and so we lost a party who once occupied the high ground.

Religion Is Less

Long ago our nation stressed the separation of church and state. It was one of the wisest approaches to governance established by our political predecessors. My observation is that whenever religion ignores this tenant and forms a union with politics, it loses a little of its soul. Not only has the Republican Party lost the high ground, religion is now tainted and less than it was. Its credibility is strained, and its voice no longer as clear and brimming with truth as it once was. Consider dear friend, the mounting losses because of the election of Donald Trump.

Me Too—It Matters Now

Are you aware that when it comes to presidential politics, sex doesn’t matter? We are more interested in a person’s stated policy positions than in his character. Sex has not mattered in the entertainment industry, but it matters now, doesn’t it? Sex has not mattered in the news/media industry, but it matters now, doesn’t it? Women are standing their ground and not only saying, “Me, too,” but “No, more.” Heads are rolling, but when it comes to presidential politics it does not matter to the American public.

The issue is not the candidates; the issue is we the American voters. We elected a man who exploits women and disrespects his wife. This speaks not only to the character of the president; it speaks of the character and consciousness of the voters of the country.

Don’t Watch, Read

The polarization of the country continues. Journalism is declining. News outlets are often mouthpieces for political viewpoints. We tune into a cable network that reinforces our worldview. Russian influence grows as it appeals to the worst of us, and our tendency to want to hear repeatedly what we already believe.

This blog is a call for responsible citizenship. Let us spend less time watching the “news,” and more time reading. Let the search begin for objective, journalistic media.

It is routine for cable television to issue a sound bite and expect us to swallow it. We mindlessly nod our heads, grind our teeth, and agree with talking heads that mouth our own beliefs.

Written journalism requires logic and progression of thought. It requires validated sources. In fact, “truth” ideally has more than one source. It is collaborated. Then we have something that we can chew on and digest on our own.

This is discernment. We have a judgment faculty that helps us make decisions and determine what we believe. This faculty is misused when it becomes condemnation. How do you know when we have crossed this line? It is simple. We are emotionally engaged and often enraged. Discernment is clear and unclouded by anger, resentment and condemnation. It is a high place where we can see not what we have always seen, but what we have never seen before.

Don’t be a puppet. Be a responsible citizen of the nation. Stop watching and start reading. You will encounter real journalism exploring real news. It may not agree with your current world view, but truth doesn’t care what you want to be true; truth stands alone waiting for your to exercise good judgment and rise above the need to have someone tell you that your world view is that way it is.

I Say Again…

  1. There should be no winners or losers in Congress; only Senators and Representatives rejoicing in the victories for the American people.
  2. We are a Flip Flop nation because we elect Congressional representatives who lack creativity.
  3. There was an attempt by the Trump campaign to collude with the Russians. This is clear. We do not yet know if they were successful.
  4. I grieve that the Republican Party is no longer a voice for fiscal responsibility or for family values. The party may speak of responsibility and values, but its actions speak louder than its words.
  5. Women are changing our country as they say Me Too. I long for the day when the people of the nation will join them in proclaiming that character trumps politics.
  6. Religion is less because of its unholy union with politics.
  7. Don’t watch the news; read the news.

 

3 Comments:

  1. Thank you, Jim. I’ve printed this so I can re-read, underline, highlight and write in the margins, so I can digest what you have expressed.
    I don’t watch the news because I am so embarrassed the this person is our president.
    I have thought of quitting my job as a poll worker, because of the behavior of the electorate in our precinct .This election they act as if we were trying to keep them from voting. When in fact we were there to help them exercise their responsibility.

    Love to you and Nancy,
    Cynthia Rayl

  2. Suann Strickland

    Thank you, JIm , this thoughtful dialogue. May I suggest that nobility of spirit ought to count in here somewhere – reaching for the highest perspective, and then listening for it to reveal itself. Americans seems to be experiencing everything at the top of their lungs. There doesn’t seem to be much listening, just ranting. Plus everything must be answered right now. We wait for the tulips to bloom, but we can’t wait for real truth to reveal itself in government or politics or social issues. Choosing to hold the noblest thoughts and watching and listening for truth to bloom in its time — that’s kinda what I wish for.

  3. Bravo, Jim, and thank you for being willing to write about this. As many of us are trying to find balance with regard to being in this world, but not of it, your perspective is helpful. Jesus was a social activist and I often think about how he might choose to address the issues we face. I also am reminded of the Quaker belief that we must pray, but also move our feet. Love to you and Nancy.

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