Why Americans Hate Politics

E. J. Dionne, Jr.

This is not an easy book to read. However, it is an important book to read. We have all heard the much reported axiom: If we don't learn from history we are bound to repeat it. Reading this book makes it clear we are repeating those misunderstood lessons again, right now.

Dionne points out there are liberal Liberals, conservative Liberals, liberal Conservatives, and conservative Conservatives. Liberals oppose governmental intervention on moral grounds, but support intervention on economic issues. Conservatives oppose intervention on economic issues, but support intervention on moral grounds. Populists support intervention on both economic issues and moral grounds. Libertarians oppose intervention on both economic issues and moral grounds. Each group focuses on its own beliefs about what is best for the United States of American. Morality and "values" are constantly used to enforce rigid beliefs rather than promote cooperation and unity that could benefit society.

When "special interests" are thought of as the poor because becoming one of the rich is the goal of an overworked and over looked middle class there remains a divisiveness ever seeing people as "us" and them". Fear is not only used to maintain the "us and them" mentality within our own country, it is used in the same way to retain a sense of territorial rights in comparison to other countries.

The Constitution's separation between Church and State become more of an issue for our current generation during the 1950s. The words under God was then inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance and In God We Trust was stamped onto coins. The business of the churches up to that time was to save souls and therefore kept its distance from the perceived corruption of our modern world. Still, that corruption was thought to be apparent in lawyers, politicians, abolitionists, suffragettes, and Civil Rights leaders. Politicians realized the power of the "Religious Right" and began to court it as a power to gain elections of one political candidate or another.

Instead of educating the public about economics, fears about inflation, or recessions becoming depressions are used to "sell" candidates to them. Economics is often a "shall game" that has little to do with the realities of the supply- or demand-side theories. Americans remain overworked due to the fear instilled that too much work is better than no work at all. The desire and attempt to become one of the rich to avoid being over- or under-worked is the constant goal. And that is why government has not been asked to be better and the extremely rich are not asked to pay a fair share of taxes. Until there is a clear understanding of not only what the goal is, but how it can be equitably acquired the American public remains a donkey with a carrot ever in front of it.

ding that those people we vote for, at all levels of our government, do what they say they will do. And, if they don't, remoe them from their elected offices. By not being fearful of bullies, the bullying will stop.

The economy of the country cannot be based on some paper empire because it guarantees inflation, unemployment, lack of enterprise, a lack of loyalty, and many other forms of distress. Nor can the government and officials be allowed to use and abuse the fears of the people to maintain an already worn-out system. The basic needs of all citizens must be protected. Everyone must have equal access to air, water, housing, education, health, and work. That does not mean the government is in place to create a welfare state, or to prohibit citizens from actions that the government believes is for their own good. Free enterprise does not include getting government subsidies or regulations that prevent competition. Free markets do not automatically equate to free people, but when markets are not free there is a lack of liberty.

Big government remains too invasive into the personal and small government remains irresponsible to social needs. Conservatives have heightened the government's role in promoting virtue yet ignore the need to form a government where responsible actions create a society that allows virtue to flourish. Liberals don't choose to regulate personal behaviors, ignoring that government has the power to help shape both social and economic experiences. Political groups ignore there is a need for personal responsibility as well as a need for tolerance of other points of view. It is imperative that we stop wondering which comes first—virtuous citizens creating a good society or a good society that creates virtuous citizens.

Americans are immature in seeking some ethnic group or women to blame for economic woes. Restoring belief in a common citizenship is the basis for both a profound and practical means to balance out personal rights with personal responsibilities. It also provides for a compassionate yet effective means to provide for those less well off as it promotes self-reliance and personal accountability. Further, it promotes moral values that include all life-styles. And finally it creates a government that educates its citizens to grow in maturity so we are able to become economically competitive nationally and globally.

May Sinclair, PhD, author, Infamous Eve, A History


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