Sadly, our increasing civil discourse has prompted two deranged individuals to engage in terrible acts of violence. One of them, a rabid Trump supporter, sent pipe bombs through the mail to a number of prominent Democrats. Fortunately, none of the bombs detonated and no one was injured. Law enforcement agencies were able to quickly track and apprehend the sender of those bomb packages. The other person, an avowed Trump hater, invaded a Jewish house of worship during a religious ceremony and shot and killed 11 people, and wounded a number of others. He too was apprehended and is in jail. Sadly too, both incidents were immediately politicized as people tried to place blame for the horrendous actions on the President.
If we don’t address some core issues, our country will continue to be divided. We need to search for failures and correct them. Here are a few things to consider:
• As Lord Acton said: Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Until the Seventeenth Amendment was ratified in 1913, the Constitution required that there would be two Senators from each State “appointed by the Legislatures thereof". The ratification of the Amendment changed that process to the “direct election” of each Senator. While that seems like to logical thing to do, it resulted in changing the Senate from a body in which citizens came to do public service and then return to their farms and factories to becoming a lifelong career. Every one of the longest-serving Senators in our history has come after that Amendment was ratified. Power corrupts!
• Over the years we have built a Senate that has many members going from youth to near senility. In order to retain their power, all too often, their choices are not to provide solutions, but to retain an issue, or issues, for political purposes. For example, why aren’t all Senators avidly working on a solution to our broken immigration system? Or, why aren’t Senators willing to consider term limits? Or why are Senators not subject to the same laws as regular citizens? (Please note that when Congress gets called on some of these issues, they sometime use a sleight of hand to make it appear that they comply the same as regular citizens but, in fact, they use the government to give them a “benefit” to cover much of the cost that a regular citizen would have to pay.)
• Recently we have become aware of our embedded government, the bureaucracy of non-elected people, acting as anarchists ... not being held responsible for their actions as they worked towards defeating a political candidate, withholding requested information from the Courts and the Congress, and working to overturn an election. Who are those in the bureaucracy that are spending much of their workdays exploring pornographic websites? Why haven’t those people been fired? Do Federal unions have more power than we, the people? (President Franklin Delano Roosevelt did not believe that Federal Unions should have bargaining rights ... think about that.)
Can it be that it is we the people who have been so apathetic regarding the running of our government, that we have simply chosen sides and follow our political party leaders? It may be the time to react to the chaos that has been inflicted on us. Let’s start by:
• Calling for the repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment and demanding term limits for all political offices. Remember, the founders expected the citizens to give of themselves, to serve, not to have a powerful career living off the government dole.
• Asking for Congress to develop a law that will allow the Inspector General positions to refer cases for prosecution to a Prosecutor, independent of the Department of Justice, for issues that involve the Department of Justice or the FBI. There also needs to be some subpoena power available to the Inspectors General positions.
• Asking for Congress to develop laws necessary to ensure that the President and his/her staff not be involved in investigations being conducted by the Department of Justice and the FBI.
• Establishing an independent Judiciary to arbitrate disputes between bureaucratic departments and the Congress. For example, the stonewalling by the Justice Department and the FBI that has prevented the elected representatives of the people from exercising their Constitutional oversight responsibilities.
• There needs to be some effective legislation enacted concerning “leaks” by government officials ... even when those leaks are made internally, from one department to another.
Of course, there’s more that needs to be done to make our government of, by, and for the people. We need to start resolving the bureaucratic messes that have been uncovered before it’s too late. Please, call or write to your Senator or Congressional Representative and let them know you want the government returned to the people ... and how you want it to be done.
(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org)