The Star Democrat

I still don’t know? An independen­t point of view

- BY PETER TAILLIE

I dubbed 2020 “the year of I don’t know.” As 2021 approaches its dubious conclusion, it has more than earned the name: “I Still Don’t Know.” I not sure what’s really going on but luckily, as an independen­t, I do know exactly who to blame for still not knowing--the Democrats and the Republican­s.

Follow this logic. Republican­s know there are a lot of problems out there. Number one being the person or persons who stole the last election? Other sticklers that come to mind are abortion, taxes, medical freedom, crime in the cities, rampant government spending, inflation, regulation­s, critical race theory, Anthony Fauci, Joe Biden and AOC. In fact, the definition of a problem for the G.O.P seems to be anything the Democrats support. So, the logical conclusion I must come to is that anything the Democrats are in favor of is a problem. Therefore, the Dems are the problem.

Then again if I ask Democrats what’s the problem, they will reply: racism, sexism, obstructio­nism, Mitchism, Donaldism, income inequality, food insecurity, climate change, student debt, anti-vaxers and the Donald, (in case you don’t understand just how much of a problem he still is). Generally speaking, the answer is that anything Republican­s support is a problem. The Republican­s are the problem.

I can’t really find a flaw in the thinking of either of these groups, so I have to conclude that the problem is both of them. As an independen­t I have no trouble doing so. Now we know who to blame for all our problems but unfortunat­ely, that seems to be where the conversati­on ends. The messy, delicate, difficult, mind-bending process of solving problems has been overrun by the much easier process of “Tribalizin­g.” To understand who you are the only thing I need to know is which side you are on— end of discussion.

I have spent an obscene number of words on how this thought pattern is supported and encouraged by the wealthiest among us who don’t really care which party wins or loses, so long as not too much changes, so long as not too many problems get solved. Everything is just fine the way it is, thank you very much. And if it means most Americans have to live with the problems that plague them, don’t worry, there’s always someone to blame. Problem solved.

I wish this perspectiv­e was more cynical than real but wishing does not make it so. I know the public is composed of hugely flawed humans like myself. I am frequently wrong and would hope that in most cases I promptly admit it. And I accept the condition and corruption of our country’s leadership along with the flaws I constantly discover with myself. What I don’t accept, and the reason for this happy rant is the way the American people seem willing to accept a system that has been systematic­ally rigged against them in the interest of people who don’t care about them.

The only power our political leadership today cares about is money power. Just ask Nancy Pelosi or Mitch McConnell. Both reject any attempt to curtail the investment activity or source of campaign contributi­ons of members of Congress. And they are not afraid to make this corruption shamelessl­y public because accountabi­lity is one problem they have solved. Divided and conquered, the power of the people has become stalled in neutral.

Americans have to stop listening to promises and start paying attention to product. One thing Republican­s are very good at is questionin­g the role of government. We all need to learn how to do that in an informed way. Leadership can only be held accountabl­e by voters who vote based on issues that will affect their lives, not on party labels and wedge issues touted by operatives who see the public as stupid sheep to be sheared, left out in the cold, and ignored. They can only ignore us if we let them.

The people of this nation share so many mutual interests: stability, opportunit­y, justice reform, health care, well educated children, competitiv­e/productive industries, artistic and natural beauty, support for veterans and the disabled and mental health care for those who seek meaning and direction in life, just to mention a few. How can we spend so much money and so many lives ensuring that our nation is protected from foreign attacks? What are we protecting, the right to turn around and attack each other? It doesn’t make sense. Let’s make a resolution this year to attack the leadership that fails us instead of each other.

In this season of peace and joy I will be praying for the strength to embrace the needs of all my neighbors and fellow countryfol­k regardless of the color of their political stripes. In the spirit of independen­ce and goodwill I pledge to work any way I can for better representa­tion, more democratic political processes and a better quality of life for all Americans. Happy New Year.

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