I don’t agree with Clarence Thomas too often. I can go on for days about his performance (or lack thereof), but then you’d all be asleep. I’d also be doing something that has become all too easy to do and is seemingly now part of our political culture.
In an interview at the Heritage Foundation back in October, Justice Thomas said a couple of things that the press “trumped up” and aimed at the Republican party. I think we can take the “us” and “we” as meaning society, rather than just the Republican Party.
“I think that we have decided that rather than confront the disagreement and differences of opinion, we’ll just simply annihilate the person who disagrees with us.”
Doesn’t this sound like the Presidential Campaign? One does have to wonder how slight a percentage of effort involved either the issues or the actual policies on the table.
Why is this important? We’ve come to view political discourse as a game that one can “win” or “lose”: during the presidential debates or Facebook battles people proceed as if the object is to “defeat” one’s “opponent”.
We’ve evolved an “all or nothing” approach that views compromise as weakness and herds us into distinct and monolithic oppositional groups that view each other as evil.
When asked about Republicans obstruction of Obama’s proposed supreme court appointment, Thomas responded with:
“I don’t think [obstruction]’s going to work in a republic or a civil society. At some point, we have got to recognize that we’re destroying our institutions and undermining our institutions.”
Bingo, this is exactly the point. With compromise an impossibility, gridlock sets in, and nothing is accomplished. Congress currently is about as popular as a root canal with an approval rating of about 13%, which I think qualifies as a lack of faith. The Supreme court fares a little better, with a 48% approval rating, which ties the lowest ever. Voter turnouts would also seem to support a lack of faith that our government is representing us, since nearly half the population can’t be bothered to take the time to vote.
The cost of the 2016 election looks like it will fall between $6.6 and $6.8 Billion, depending on who you ask, and I don’t know too many people that feel they’ve got their money’s worth.
Does ANYBODY think that this election actually brought out the issues that really matter in sufficient detail that we could even know if they could actually be accomplished? Quite a few people sound quite upset that Mr. Trump might not actually be able to build a wall, repeal Obamacare, deport 11 million illegal aliens and tear up the Iran agreement. This should have been made plain during the Republican primary race, let alone the general campaign.
Our founding fathers risked being hanged by signing the Declaration of Independence, we’ve lost countless soldiers in wars to preserve our right to self government, and yet we seem to have no faith in how we practice it. It would be easy to just blame it on the Republicans—–or the Democrats. But in our hearts we know who to blame. In the words of Walt Kelly, speaking through Pogo on April 22, 1971:
Yep, son, we have met the enemy and he is us.