Those recent moving Veterans Day observances at Arlington National Cemetery and all over America seem rather hollow in a nation where only a third of the electorate even bothered to vote in the major 2014 elections. Why has this nation fought so many very costly wars to preserve our vaunted democracy and our way of life, when we cannot even be bothered to vote to maintain those values when they are threatened, both from without and from within?
From without, we have the Forces of Darkness taking new forms, particularly ISIS -- the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria -- which seems to want to fight the Crusades all over again, except that this time we infidels are not waging religious war against them. Rather, we are trying to preserve the independence and modest progress of several nations in the Mideast towards some semblance of democracy and modernity. True, in Syria the alternative to ISIS has been the Assad Regime, which has sacrificed over a hundred thousand of its own citizens to attempt to remain in power. The West missed its opportunity to impose a no-fly zone over Syria which would have prevented the worst of Dictator Assad's depredations. Now, can anyone doubt that ISIS ultimately wants to take over the entire Arab world?
Still, there are forces in all the nations ISIS is attacking -- such as the Kurds in Iraq -- who would promote democracy and humane values if only given the chance. And that chance depends in large part on American foreign policy, which has not been a strong point recently as regards the Mideast. But, of course, by failing to vote, the present American electorate sends one more signal that we really do not care that much about foreign policy -- or about domestic policy, either, for that matter.
From within, speaking of domestic policy, the miserable track record of our Congress during most of the recent 21st Century has resulted in fewer bills being passed than ever before -- which may be a blessing in disguise, as many of those bills are adverse to the best interests of the American people and nation. Now, with the Republicans soon in control of both Houses of Congress, thanks to the majority of the one-third of eligible voters who actually cast ballots, we can expect their total blockage of any progressive legislation while they advance the Keystone Pipeline, destroy what limited environmental protections we still have, further reduce taxes on the wealthy which are already lower than in any other modern nation, prevent even the most-qualified presidential appointees from being confirmed, and mainly spend the next two years blocking President Obama from taking any legislative or other initiatives at all.
Speaking of our President, one must acknowledge that the Republicans and their Tea Party brethren finally achieved their major goal, as announced six years ago when Barack Obama won his first Term of Office. That goal has always been to damage our President in any and all ways possible, no matter how despicable those attempts might be. In fact, statements from the top Republican leader in the Senate, who will become Majority Leader in January, made clear that the defeat of Barack Obama and his agenda for America should be the focus of every Republican effort. And so it has been, and undoubtedly will continue to be. The Republican leadership in Congress, and at the State level, can now take pride that they did in fact defeat Obama in the recent elections -- when he was not even running, of course.
Eugene Elander has been a progressive social and political activist for decades. As an author, he won the Young Poets Award at 16 from the Dayton Poets Guild for his poem, The Vision. He was chosen Poet Laureate of (more...)
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