I've spent some time trying to understand the Left/Right dichotomy in our fair country; our experiment with Democracy.
I've been involved with Left Wing politics, and experienced the dedication, pain, passion, frustration, anger, and self-righteous intolerance those on the Left have for those on the Right. Most of them have little, or are sympathetic to those who have little, and feel that those who have more should share it with those who have less.
I've lived around Right Wing folks and heard their complaints about the Left wanting to destroy our Democracy by turning it into a Socialist state. I've felt their fear, frustration, and anger at the thought that all they've worked for will be taken from them and given to those that they feel are less deserving.
This issue of money and property is only one of the issues that creates the Left/Right dichotomy in the US, but it is one that is at the core of who we are.
The last word of the famous introduction to the Declaration of Independence was originally Property not Happiness. And therein lies one of the foundations of this particular issue in our country. The Founding Fathers were men of property, and some owned slaves. But they were also men of the Enlightenment, and they desired to be righteous.
Perhaps we are all torn by our desire to have more, be comfortable, and live the part of the American Dream that says a person should be able to make it in America, without interference from a controlling government, and our desire to see everyone get an even break and be able to have the basic things that all human beings need to be happy.
So far we have been unable to satisfy both desires equally. And many on the Right would like say, and do say, "Screw the poor!" While many on the Left say, "Screw the Rich!"
The tension between these two sides of this American dichotomy is not all bad. It is how things are resolved in a Democracy. But the problems come when the balance between the two gets so far out of whack that it results in gross inequity and violence.
During the years between WW1 and WW2, Germany had a brief and ill fated flirtation with Democracy. During this time, all of the weaknesses of Democracy became apparent to an inexperienced populous, and frustration, anger, fear, and violence became the order of the day.
Adolph Hitler and the National Socialists saw their opening and took it, using Democracy as their way into power.
Previously, in 1917, a similar thing happened in Russia. The Bolsheviks saw there chance there, when the bourgeoisie tried to form a Republic and failed.
We saw the outcome of these actions in WW2, in the massive bloodletting between Stalin's Soviet Union and Hitler's Nazi Germany, and then in the Cold War that resulted between Soviet Communism and American Capitalism.
Now people appear to be losing faith in our Democracy. Folks on both the Right and the Left blame each other for this loss of faith. Neither side wants to take responsibility for it's actions. And anger, frustration, fear, confusion, and blame are becoming the order of the day.
Civil discourse and dialogue are being replaced by vicious invective and scurrilous insult.
In China they have found a way to have a form of Capitalism without Democracy. In Iran they have found a way to have a form of Capitalism without Democracy. These are bad signs.
If the Right was ever to get complete control, Democracy would become even more of a handmaiden of Capitalism than it is today. And if the Left was ever to get complete control, Democracy would become so controlling it would wither on the vine, for the lack of the dynamism that a free economy brings to a Democratic society.
Not only this, but if things got bad enough, and either the Right or Left gained complete control, there would be firing squads putting people up against the wall. Because this is in the nature of the human animal, and the beast that humanity is capable of becoming if it is unable to resolve it's differences amicably, and Democratically.
We don't need any more self-righteous muckrakers and martyrs for one side or the other. What we need is women and men of calm reason and sincere goodwill. Men and women who will work with integrity and honesty to uncover the highest and best truth possible, and necessary, to bring us all safely through the storm that we are now in danger of becoming engulfed by.
It is time to reread our Bill of Rights, and time to take them seriously.
Time to sit down and reason together, as Americans, and Citizens of these United States.
Jim Bush is a 67 year old, Vietnam-era veteran, currently living in Texas. He was raised in a military family. His father received the Silver Star for directing troops while under air attack at Clark Field in the Phillipines, survived the Bataan (more...)