America’s Dysfunctional Government
To Christians in America and around the world I beg: Please pray for America. America, as a nation-state, is by most accounts the most powerful country in the world. Our government, and one might say our society, is in crisis. If anyone doubts that, the latest news (fact, not “alternative fact”) is that the United States House of Representatives, one branch of Congress, just ousted its own Speaker (Speaker of the House) who, by office and law, is third in line of succession to the presidency. Should the president and vice president die in office, the Speaker of the House, whoever he or she may be, is automatically president of the country. That alone or alongside other powers makes the Speaker one of the most important persons in the world in terms of power.
What happened: A small minority of radical Republicans in the House of Representatives proposed that Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a “moderate” among contemporary Republicans, be removed from office. The Democratic representatives, from a minority position in the House, voted for his removal along with the radicals. That created a “first” in American political history—the ouster of the Speaker of the House from office by the congressmen and congresswoman he leads. In my opinion, this is a bloodless but nevertheless very serious coup d’etat. For now, the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives is empty, being filled by an interim person nobody has ever heard of (an ally of McCarthy’s).
I am no fan of Kevin McCarthy and I understand the Democrats’ concerns about him. He has been an on-again, off-again supporter of ex-president, indicted person Donald Trump who is on trial in New York City for civil crimes of fraud. He is also under indictment for a variety of federal crimes related to his alleged participation in an attempt to overthrow the election of Joe Biden.
Our national government is in chaos; what is happening in Washington, DC, possibly the most powerful city in the world, is unbelievable. Who do I blame? I blame both parties. The Democratic in the House should have supported McCarthy against the gang of radical Republicans who wanted him ousted for his alleged compromises with the Democrats. What compromises? Well, most recently, a compromise about the U.S. budget that saved America from a federal government shut-down. Apparently, the radical Republicans in the House want that to happen which would mean an economic crisis. Apparently, and in my opinion, that is what they want to foment a revolution that would somehow or other put them in greater power. They are all devoted, passionate supporters of Trump.
The Democrats should not have voted to oust Speaker McCarthy, something they did just because he is a Republican who, like the vast majority of Republicans, has supported Trump and who believes the most recent presidential election was “stolen.” The danger is, of course, that the new Speaker could be more radical and less willing to compromise than McCarthy.
During my lifetime as an American citizen, watching American politics progress or regress, I have never seen our federal government in such absolute disarray, with members of the two parties locked in such hatred of each other that they are willing to allow the common good of the citizens of the country to fall away from anywhere near top concern.
Many people the world over, but especially in America, have warned that we, the American nation, are headed toward a civil war, whether bloody or bloodless. It seems that in the halls of power in our federal government especially in Washington, DC, something of a civil war is already happening. The two parties are at war with each other.
In the meantime, America-at-large is falling into crisis on many fronts with no viable solutions being offered by our leaders. On last night’s Evening News all three major news outlets reported that “car jacking” have skyrocketed in the nation’s capital. Almost 800 have happened so far this year—including that of a congressperson. In the major U.S. metro area where I live, approximately 24K cars are stolen every year, including mine. A 16 year old boy was shot across the street from where I live, in an apartment complex, outdoors, just about one year ago. I hear gunshots many nights from my condominium in a relatively “safe” suburban neighborhood.
Homelessness is rampant in the U.S. Every day I see homeless people living in tents, under blankets, sometimes under bridges. The costs of housing has increased in most American cities to the point where most people simply cannot afford it even if they are working full-time. In the meantime, our American federal budget is bloated for military spending in spite of the fact that an invasion of our country is geographically almost impossible.
Many astute scholars of American politics at major universities are warning very seriously that America is now in “the legal phase of fascism.” Populism has always been a part of American politics, but now it is fueled by extreme anger toward…whom? A certain segment of the popular news media in America has fueled hatred and anger toward anyone who can rightly or wrongly be labeled “leftist.”
Of course, the contemporary American “left,” which bears no resemblance to the real “left wing” of American politics in the mid-20th century, has contributed to this crisis by itself being arrogant and unwilling to compromise on social, economic, and political issues. For the most part, however, these are academics, journalists, and bureaucrats who have tremendous influence on the Democratic Party at its grassroots level. However, to give just one example, the national Democratic Party recently censured a Southern Democratic congressperson for breaking with the party about certain social issues.
Homelessness, hunger, crime, mental illness, illegal immigration, racism, corruption in high places, the disappearance of the middle class, the widening gap between the rich and the poor…all need ALL national and local government leaders to come together to address them with real solutions. There is no hope of that in sight in today’s American politics or even in government itself.
What lies at the root of this crisis in America today? When asked, most people who pay any attention to politics and government will say either “the Republicans” or “the Democrats” (or “the left” or “the right”). I say a very serious moral failure of both parties to step back and away from refusal to compromise for the common good, even if that means just to avoid a complete breakdown of our society which seems to loom on the horizon. Both parties are locked in dispositions of hatred of their counterparts that paralyzes government from doing its work which is to help the helpless and everyone to live decent, free, and relatively happy lives.
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