Monday, July 17, 2017

Politics Is Interfering With Our Nation's Progress

OPINION & EDITORIAL

By JIM PURCELL

Politics has become such a flashpoint in the United States. I am not saying 'government,' but rather 'politics.'

Let me be very clear that politics is a necessary evil. In a democratic republic, there are parties and they vie for power during the election season. However, once elected, the ruling party must, by logical course of reason, become the party to rule over all of the people -- not some of the people. American citizenship is, after all, the gold standard of the American republic.

Well, we have a situation in this country where the new "Trump Conservatives" and, to a lesser extent, more traditional Conservatives, are actively demonizing not only the rival Democratic Party but also anyone who thinks liberally or progressively. This is a very dangerous trend.

People of science and technology are, by and large, liberal-minded thinkers. People who are educated are, mostly, liberal-minded thinkers, with some exception.

I think it is bad precedent for one half of the country to go around spewing extreme hate-speech against the other half of the country. This is a bad road and there is no good at the end of it.

Citizens possessing differing political ideologies is essential to the democratic process, and I do not believe anyone is saying otherwise. Yet Conservatives must realize that alienating the poorest, most vulnerable elements of our society, while embracing America's traditional enemies (Chine and Russia), while at the same time keeping our traditional Allies at arm's length (Great Britain, France and Germany) is a recipe for disaster.

Religious fundamentalism of any kind, be it Islamic fundamentalism overseas or Christian fundamentalism domestically, brings inherent dangers. 'Fundamentalism' is a term that amounts to radicalism. The vast majority of people on the earth are not radical about anything more than keeping their families together, making a living, having work and relative safety for themselves and those they love.

At no point in the history of the United States, beginning with the Revolutionary Period, has our nation ever been a fundamentalist Christian nation. Has God of the Christian Bible been our guiding light? Of course! Have we offered burnt offerings and adopted wool clothes and gone about scourging ourselves? No.

Conservatives are attempting to re-write American history in a ridiculous manner. The greatest achievements in our nation's history, ranging from the Revolution to the Civil War and both World Wars have come about as an extension of liberality and progress, not as some hallmark of repression and hard-line Christian angst.

In due course, modern liberality and its sensibility has led some traditional people to be terribly confused and angry about the way things are changing. Well, stopping change in society or the tides of an ocean cannot be done. Nevertheless, stopping change is tried.

Still, the rights of a peaceful, law-abiding, tax-paying citizen must out-weigh the collective self-righteousness of the minority of people. It is the way of things.

In America, most people do not vote. This is no great announcement. This is not 'secret knowledge.' Most people do not care about who sits in the White House or the Congress, so long as they can go about their daily lives uninterrupted. If there is anything traditional, the idea that people want to be left alone by their lawmakers is it.

I do not believe that Conservative hate-mongering or Liberal retaliation in-kind is going to amount to much except for a great deal of trouble for everyone. At this point in our nation's history, we should be aspiring to greater things than we have achieved. However, today we are at a virtual stand-still in many respects because of this political digression into the absurd.

When I was a child, I thought that by 2017 my nation would have been further along in many respects than we are right now.

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