This proceeds from my previous articles outlining an approach to community-based "regime change" activism. I encourage you to read them to embrace the foundation for what follows.
put away the smart phones and let the computers go to sleep. TV and
movie habits are put on hold, at least for a few hours each week. Using
basic social skills we were all taught as children, engaging others
face-to-face, we talk and listen to friends, neighbors, relatives, even
strangers in our communities, about the problems we all individually and
collectively face. We talk about what ails us. Most people love to
complain. Misery loves company. Next . . .
We tactfully and respectfully navigate the discussion to those critical issues which are the direct consequence of government policy and can only be solved by our elected officials.
find common ground. This should be easy. So much has gone wrong over
the past several decades, it is almost impossible to find someone who
hasn't been negatively impacted by the mess we find ourselves in.
Americans on the whole are hurting. Individually we are victims of much
We continue to talk. And most importantly . . . to listen.
Maybe this doesn't sound like much of a breakthrough, but if we get this far -- having a comfortable adult conversation about one or more specific things which are contributing to the ongoing dysfunction -- it actually is quite noteworthy, taking into consideration the current environment. More typically now whenever anything appears to remotely involve politics, we expect to see folks either maniacally shouting or withdrawing into a coma-like state of mute detachment.
Talking and listening thoughtfully and graciously represents dramatic progress!
So . . . where are we taking this?
Time for a refresher on the Constitution.
Congress makes laws. The president enforces them.
Granted, this clear division of labor has in recent times been compromised, with abuse of regulatory powers and signing statements by the president, and the wholesale surrender of war making powers by the Congress. Let's still be clear. And I offer this both as a warning to the ebullient Bernie Sanders supporters, and to those anxiety-ridden progressives who live in fear of either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump ascending the presidential throne:
Without a supportive Congress, nothing positive -- or for that matter negative -- will get done, especially if the new president is isolated. It will be animus, gridlock, confrontation, blame-gaming, a show of distrust and open hostility between the executive and legislative branches, which will make the past decade look like a friendly game of flag football. This would certainly be the case with either Trump or Sanders. Perhaps the most frightening prospect is a Hillary presidency, since her most menacing and treacherous policies, both domestic and international, presently have widespread support by our current corrupt, corporate-owned legislature.
There is no question that a strong, visionary president would be a good thing.
But a responsible, responsive, representative people's Congress is absolutely crucial.