Sunday, June 16, 2024


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     How did America get in the shape it is in? $34 trillion in debt ($103,065 per person), government interference and regulations that intrude on citizen’s lives.  Elected leaders who regularly violate the founding document they are sworn to uphold.  

     Americans are increasingly disgusted with their elected officials.  Over 25% of voters polled in May by Pew Research had a negative view of both political Parties.   The source of these problems has to be the work of the establishment, but just who is ‘the establishment?’

     In 1841, Ralph Waldo Emerson gave a speech to the Masonic Temple in Boston entitled, ‘The Conservative.’  Emerson described those in control of government, ‘the establishment,’ and concluded the speech with; ”amidst a planet peopled with conservatives, one Reformer may yet to be born.”  We need a true reformer!      

       In the 1960-70s, the establishment was ‘the man.’  Vietnam draft dodgers and anti-war activists used ‘sticking it to the man’ as their battle cry.

     Fighting for Barry Goldwater in 1964, Phyllis Schlafly wrote, A Choice, not an Echo,” a series of anecdotes illustrating how the GOP had a group of kingmakers who had chosen moderate presidential candidates for seven election cycles and state primaries, while held, were largely ignored.  It was the beginning of the end for the Eastern elite who controlled the Republican Party.  Schlafly called the elitist ‘the establishment.’  Goldwater won the nomination and broke the establishment’s hold over the Party.  The GOP has never been the same.

     Many of those involved in politics have been sticking it to the man for years.   They were toiling in the trenches alone while their fellow citizens were paying no attention.  They were talking about out-of-control spending, an expanding government footprint, and too much money in elective politics.  They kept on keeping on, even when they lost most elections.  They celebrated small incremental gains.  They unselfishly invested their time, talent and treasure for a cause.  But now those grey hairs are branded political establishment and their ineffectiveness is the reason America is in the shape it is in.   What a crock!  America is in the shape it is in because of three things:

     First, Americans are apathetic and indifferent.  The number of candidates for elective office who don’t vote is staggering.  President Trump had not voted in a primary election for 21 years before he ran for president.  Governor Stitt had never voted in a primary before he ran.  People roll out of bed and decide they want to ‘get involved’ in politics, but shouldn’t involvement start by showing up at the ballot box before your name is on the ballot?  Not voting used to be a kiss of death to a candidate, but Americans don’t care anymore, because they vote with less frequency.  Reliable, faithful voters are ignored by candidates, because those voters pay attention and they vet the candidates themselves.  In today’s America, apathy is justified and celebrated and dedication and commitment is for fools.

     Second, Americans major on the minors.  When citizens do politically ‘wake up,’ they are often monolithic.  They tend to focus on one issue that is important to them.  Few are concerned about major issues like the national debt and the size of government.  Republicans campaign as fiscal conservatives and after getting elected spend more money than Democrats and no one blinks an eye. 

     Third, Americans are polarized.  There is no unity.   Devil Anse Hatfield and Ole Ran’l McCoy agreed more than Republicans and Democrats.  Within the Parties themselves, ideology purity is required.  Tolerance for a differing view is considered weakness.  Voting records and policy positions are distorted and caricatured.  Faith and religion are exploited for political gain.  Secret handshakes and code words help identity the like-minded in order to separate the wheat from the chaff.  Respect for the independent thinker is non-existent.  It is unsustainable-a house divided against itself cannot stand.

     The problem in America is not the establishment.  In a self-governing system of government, Americans get the government they deserve.  They stuck it to the man, but unfortunately the man is us!

No comments: