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Monday, November 25, 2019

What do we have?

"A republic........


.........if you can keep it."----Benjamin Franklin

There are lots of ways to lose one's government. It can be overrun by invaders. It can succumb to natural disaster. It can even be strangled from within. But to me, the saddest way must be to carelessly abandon it, to deprive it of its needed participation and protection out of laziness, complacent self-interest, and intellectual boredom. I've said before that we get the government we deserve. It's too bad so many died to preserve something so many now don't even seem to care about.

Thanksgiving is in a few days and there is still plenty to be thankful for. But maybe, along with gratitude for what was and still is, we should ask ourselves if we DESERVE what we still tenuously have? And if the answer is that we have no interest in the workings of our government beyond what it can do for us personally, maybe we don't.

17 comments:

  1. has the workings of government become so complicated the average person cannot understand it? Can we be interested in what we dont understand? take a tax form. its not an easy thing to understand. many have to hire someone else to fill them out.

    the bufoonery of leaders, china kidding themselves about hong kong canada legalizing marijuana uk brexit usa trump being well trump, is that bufoonery simply to make us forget how complicatedly difficult it actually is?

    i do agree be interested be involved understand knowledge is the power.

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    1. You: has the workings of government become so complicated the average person cannot understand it?
      Me: I don't think so, but I can't speak for others.

      You: Can we be interested in what we dont understand?
      Me: Absolutely! I know I am. It's how we learn. Learning means finding out more about something we are interested in but don't yet understand.

      You: take a tax form. its not an easy thing to understand. many have to hire someone else to fill them out.
      Me: I understand enough about it to hire a professional to render the best result......no different than going to a surgeon for an operation rather than doing it myself. Its complexity certainly doesn't result in me giving up and ignoring filling out a tax return in favor of watching TV instead.


      You: the bufoonery of leaders, china kidding themselves about hong kong canada legalizing marijuana uk brexit usa trump being well trump, is that bufoonery simply to make us forget how complicatedly difficult it actually is?
      Me: I think those things are just those things....not an orchestrated distraction. Some things may be intended as distractions though, but these things need to be taken on an issue by issue basis

      You: i do agree be interested be involved understand knowledge is the power.
      Me: It is more than just the power. It's the necessary component for our government to function as intended. The relinquishment of that stewardship is a better explanation for why things are where they are, than apathetically pointing at someone else as the problem. This is not a criticism of the right or the left, or one versus the other. The problem is pandemic.

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  2. Could not agree more that each of us must participate, to the degree we can, in the support and in the defense of our country. And as I said elsewhere, let's be truly thankful that we live in the USA; warts and all.

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    1. Hi Tomy! Good to see you! (Make sure you check out the Spooners....you got one.)

      As for your comment, I agree, but wish to clarify that the defense I speak of is more than just the land and people between some borders and oceans, it's the workings of the government itself. Yes we need to defend the soil from invaders, but to function properly, people MUST remain invested in the process......otherwise the process will devolve into something less than a democratic republic.

      And 'yes', there is plenty to be thankful for in your last sentence.

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    2. The 2019 "Wooden Spoon Awards"! You got one! Scroll back my friend!

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  3. What do we have? A Congress that ignores the constitution and does as they please. A populace that just keeps reelecting the same corrupt incompetent crooks. A wild executive branch! Yes there is still things to be thankful for but a lot that needs to change.

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    1. Congress ignoring the Constitution? Citation please? Show me the section of the Constitution that is being ignored.

      As an adamant independent I am confounded by imagining ANY past president of either (or any) party that I would tolerate such behavior from. ANY! I don't care how much I might personally 'like' them or benefit from them. There is a standard to be upheld! This fuck is a criminal bastard from start to finish. But......as admittedly bad as things can sometimes be, let's blame the Congress instead. Really? REALLY? Please, PLEASE enlighten me as to what exact aspect of the Constitution is being violated by a Congress Constitutionally endowed with the power to impeach? What about refusing to cooperate? Clear obstruction. I don't care if this orange mafioso was a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, or alien from Mars. This is WRONG! He thinks he's omnipotent. I'm not sure if his delusion extends merely to monarchy or godhood itself, but the Founding Fathers gave us legislative ammunition to thwart such an attempt. They knew. They understood the potential for abuse. They had monarchy fresh in their minds. But our populace? Bored. Absorbed in self interest. Both sides. Red & Blue. All complacent, resigned, opposed. Like sheep to the slaughter. Franklin suspected. Why else such a remark? Why would someone at the apex of forming an ideal government not gloat......but instead ominously warn? Because he understood the weak nature of people. And here we are.

      And any person who rationalizes Trump with "well, he's doing alright by me" needs to look the ghost of a dead veteran in their pallid eye and say why that's OK. Let's be honest, if a devoted 100% pure dyed-in-the-wool conservative wants certain judges appointed or whatever else, they can get that from Pence. What is this ridiculous obsession with Trump? Why bastardize your own party with this sleaze-fuck-ball? He has single-handedly made a mockery of the Republican Party. And if someone is Ok with that then what's next? If a communist dictator came in and said: "just abandon this silly democratic republic idea of yours and I'll give you whatever little perk you'd like." That would be a fair trade I suppose?

      I'm thankful. Yes I am. I'm thankful my brain and conscience still seem to be functioning in spite of absurd assertions and affronts to the truth and reality obvious to me.

      But you are correct that a lot needs to change. I was once a harsh critic of the mainstream media. But now I can't be. I want to make them better. But I can't because while I know we aren't where we should be, I don't want to abandon the notion of a free press. This fucker attacks them like criminals instead of lazy ratings-seekers.....but what is he if not a ratings seeker? It's just too much!

      Red state morons will sing "Proud to be an American" with a Coors-induced tear in their eye, and a Dixie flag on the back of their pick-up, but they'd hand over whatever those poor dead, lamented veterans fought for in a heartbeat if it served their own temporary interest. Now there's patriotism for you! What astounding, infuriating hypocrisy!

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    2. All that said? It's probably just the accident of over-sized amygdalas. Can't be helped. (Like the universe careening towards entropy.)

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    3. Well you are so fixated on Trump you immediately jump to the wrong conclusion. There was no reference to Trump or impeachment in my comment and I did say the executive branch was running wild. Congress has used it's power many times over the years for self enrichment. Many bills are passed on the buddy system instead on their merit.
      As to looking a vet in the eye, i do it all the time and they support Trump and despise our biased media. My own opinions of Trump are mixed as he is rash brash and hard to take. He has done some good things which are conveniently ignored.

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    4. Well, I'm a veteran and I have nothing but disgust for that blustering jackass Trump, and for other veterans who make excuses for the guy's disdain for military leadership, believing he has greater expertise than his generals on military matters, and his support for war-criminal behavior within the U.S. armed forces.

      I also have *zero* respect for people, some of whose fathers, grandfathers and/or great-grandfathers stormed the beaches of Normandy and planted the American flag on Iwo Jima, who now claim "It's too much trouble" to follow political and governmental issues, or "They're (politicians) all the same," or "I don't like the partisan infighting." To me, those are purely excuses for U.S. citizens who are too lazy and/or apathetic to fulfill the responsibilities of citizenship.

      If your ancestors could take the "trouble" to fight the Nazis and the Japanese Empire, some possibly dying in doing so, you should be able to make an effort to keep track of meaningful facts, as opposed to lying propaganda. Start exercising your analytical ability and you'll be able to tell the difference between politicians like John McCain and Barack Obama as opposed to those like Newt Gingrich and Donald Trump. (What a 'class act' Gingrich was, divorcing his wife while she was dying of cancer so he could marry his mistress.)

      Finally, American politics has been heavily partisan as far back as the 1790s, with the bitter rivalry between the Federalists (led by John Adams & Alexander Hamilton) and the Democrat-Republicans (led by Thomas Jefferson & James Madison), sometimes it's not so hyper-partisan as others. Lots of people are responsible for today's lack of civility and bipartisanship, although certainly Gingrich is the #1 culprit--he openly preached nastiness and bullying as a political approach, and pushed aside existing bipartisan legislative strictures while Speaker of the House.

      If enough Americans would consistently vote against brutal, indecent politicians who behave as bullies like Trump and Gingrich, the current hyper-partisanship would die down a great deal, I'm figuring.

      By the way, one thing that eventual rivals like Hamilton and Madison both supported was the impeachment and removal power of Congress--they fully understood the necessity of preventing the U.S. president from reaching for dictatorial authority, and that such congressional power had to be employed as soon as he started doing so, regardless of how 'inconvenient' it might seem... --C.K.

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    5. Joe: It's probably true I went on an assumption since it is what I was thinking.......and it seemed like your comment was in that same vein. As for the last sentence? I would need to know what you think has been good.

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    6. CK: Thanks for jumping in and giving an 'alternate' veteran's view. I would think the relative positioning on Trump might be not that much different for veterans as anyone else. Some support him no matter what and others see him for what he is.

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  4. KD thank you for the acknowledgement. My original comment was about Congress in general, have you noticed how people go into public service and become very wealthy while scratching each other's backs and pointing fingers everywhere else. Saint Susan Collins has become a millionaire while being a "public servant" They impose Obamacare on us while refusing to go on it themselves, constantly giving themselves raises while the debt runs out of control. By the way the people CK reference received no pay for their public service.
    I will not debate Trump with you for as learned as you are and open minded on many things that does not apply here. I mean no offense just stating things as I see them.
    CK thank you very much for your service. Other people are entitled to their opinions just as you are and are just as entitled to Express them, as long as they do so in a civil manner. Should I be concerned about who you have respect for? I think not.

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  5. I don't know if delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention were paid by their respective states for their public service, Thomas Jefferson was the American ambassador to France at that time so I'm assuming he was compensated for that role.

    Jefferson presumably was also paid for his service as secretary of state, U.S. vice-president and U.S. president, likewise I'm figuring that John Adams (vice-president & president), Alexander Hamilton (secretary of the treasury) and James Madison (secretary of state & president) drew salaries for their federal service.

    I've never claimed that other people aren't entitled to their own opinions. While I respect people's right to hold and express their own opinions, that doesn't mean that I necessarily respect the opinions themselves.

    For example, when Trump's hard-core supporters claim that they're believers in political "civility," I find that to be highly hypocritical based on his blustering, bullying and continuous insulting of anyone who disagrees with him... --C.K.

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