“The Anatomy of Political Destructiveness”Posted in America, Articles, Democracy, Moral Courage
The struggle for true and complete freedom in America must be understood within the framework of our American Representative Democracy which now more than ever is still worth preserving, upholding and defending. It is precisely within the context of our Constitutional Democratic Republic and the ethos it has nurtured and developed that we grasp the core values and freedoms of who we are as a people, the higher principles for which we stand and the direction we should be headed as a nation.
It is not only the attainment of those golden ideals of freedom, justice and equality for all, but the perennial quests of the people to struggle and contend toward those ideals which reveal the real nature and character of the true American spirit and its particular brand of Liberal Democracy.
While there have always been segments of the American body politic and the general populace who have denounced and repudiated those movements for freedom as un-American and have devoted every effort to discredit and dismantle the peoples right to protest, advocate and work for their fundamental freedoms, many more Americans believe and wholly affirm that the right to fight for their basic civil and human rights is one of the highest expressions of freedom in the American brand of democracy and remains a model of inspiration for millions of people the world over who have sought and still seek freedom in their own societies and nations.
This understanding of American freedom culminates not only in the right of Americans to fight for the right to self-determination as individuals within America but the right for America as a nation to make sovereign decisions on the nation’s behalf which will ensure, protect and perpetuate its long-term strengths, freedoms and viability.
America is no stranger to such struggles for freedom and the various contests for basic human rights, and the four great documents of freedom-the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and President Franklin Roosevelt’s Economic Bill of Rights- are foundations to our constitutional republic and representative democracy, among other great documents too numerous to name here, which are the gold standards and blueprints indelibly imprinted on the past, present and future of America and on the hearts, minds and souls of every freedom-loving American.
We have seen these freedom and rights struggles throughout our history and America has continued to grow, positively change and has matured and prospered as a result of them.
The reader may take issue with my assessment, but the American Civil War was essentially a sovereignty struggle waged in part to preserve the rights and freedoms of Southern slave owners to keep their slaves and maintain an agrarian economy in a country fast hurdling toward industrialization and in dire need of cheap labor from hopefully “soon and very soon” to be emancipated slaves. It was a war for the freedom of slaves to break the chains of slavery and a war for the freedom of slave owners to keep those chains tightly in place which inevitably catapulted white plantation owners and their supporters and black plantation slave laborers into bloody conflict.
Over 650,000 people died in the American Civil War but that war was not fought to destroy defacto democracy but to preserve state’s rights and individual’s rights to acquire and vouchsafe the absolute freedom to be self-determining peoples within the structures of a democratic society. Southern succession was an effort to preserve the rights and freedoms of the landed aristocracy and despite the grievous and immoral nature of that exploitative system of slave labor to the black oppressed, abolitionists and other protagnists for freedom, Lincoln’s desire to maintain and perpetuate the American Democratic Republic of government was forged by his fervent attempts to preserve the union by any means necessary. Lincoln also understood that preserving and strengthening the union would ultimately mean the liberty and freedom of all Americans.
During the 1950’s and 1960’s many believed that the civil rights movement had been instigated, controlled and influenced by communists and that communism’s ultimate goal was to overthrow American Democracy and Capitalism and replace it with a system which would promise but could never fully deliver true liberty and equality for its citizens. Fear of a communist takeover of our government was very real for many Americans during the McCarthy era whose hearings vigorously attempted to ferret out, black list and ultimately diminish and punish any Americans who had Communist Party membership, leanings or affiliations.
As it turns out there were communists who did support the civil rights movement, but the movement itself was patently born, bred and nurtured on American soil, was as old as the biblical Exodus, was engineered and led by American citizens and was as thoroughly American as Apple Pie, Chevrolet and Nat King Cole.
Some believe and would argue vigorously that the American Black Power Movement was an attempt to overthrow and ultimately destroy American Democracy largely due to its political linguistics and identification with the Chinese and Russian revolutions, but in the final analysis it was still a movement ultimately designed to reform and not destroy American Democracy.
The Black Power quest for African Americans was ultimately an identity and rights movement for social justice, basic civil and human rights and the freedom to not be brutalized, marginalized and oppressed by racists, racism and oppression and the inalienable right to live as human beings and not be treated as second class citizens.
With all the freedom and rights movements flourishing in America over the years, none if any, in my mind, have ever attempted the complete overthrow and destruction of American Liberal Democracy. Most if not all these efforts were primarily reform movements, not conspiracies to undermine and transform our nation into totalitarian-dictatorial rule. None of these movements so blatantly attempted to gradually strip away the rights and freedoms of Americans or attempted to dismantle our government or put it into the hands of our foreign or domestic adversaries.
Having said this, and knowing the power and positive impact of the struggle for freedom in American history, I have never witnessed the current efforts to destroy the foundation and framework of American Democracy by the very representatives claiming to protect the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, while vowing to serve the people, uphold our government and keep American Democracy safe and the American way of life.
Surely, there have been numerous movements for social change and freedom which have shaken, rocked, stretched, but ultimately fortified democracy as we have observed, but never have there been successful systemic efforts to out right destroy the system itself by elected representatives in the manner of what’s being done now to America, with such truculence, arrogance, and political belligerence, while blocking all forms of compromise by refusing to find a middle path forward for all Americans.
The anatomy of political destructiveness is now appearing before us primarily in the form of attacks not only against the people of America but repeated onslaughts on the infrastructure and institutions of government itself by the reticence and failure to call into account the grievous and corrupt actions of leaders in that government and one’s own political party which essentially and incrementally instigates the death of American government by American government.
Timothy Snyder reminds us in his short masterpiece On Tyranny that we must essentially guard against the assumptions that “institutions will automatically maintain themselves against even the most direct attacks.”
Some people currently in power have essentially declared war on America and the fallout from such travesties and cruelties are ever before us. Such efforts coagulate the flow of democracy and occlude the proper flow of the “political nutrients” necessary for a strong and healthy America. Even more grievous, is a recent suggestion by the White House to allow Vladimir Putin to interrogate government officials such as former United States Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, former CIA Director John Brennan, and Susan Rice, former National Security Adviser to President Barack Obama, and distinguished others, which dramatizes the insidious nature of political vindictiveness and recriminations wrongfully directed at American citizens and public servants but not toward our adversaries.
How about demanding that Mr. Putin turn over those of his own military who hacked into and possibly influenced the outcome of the recent Presidential election and calling to account those who have recently attempted to hack into the email server of the Senator from Missouri, Claire McCaskill?
Political destructiveness happens when the President of the United States of America openly and impudently degrades and discredits his own intelligence agencies like the FBI and CIA, bashes the military, undermines the investigative powers of his own Department of Justice, berates and attacks the Attorney General and belligerently insults and smacks down our allies abroad and then quixotically diminishes the importance of NATO which has largely stood by America since its post war genesis, the advent and implementation of the Marshall Plan, and helped America preserve and sustain freedom by thwarting the rise of a third catastrophic world war.
Never before have we seen a President so boorishly demean and bully certain segments of the American population, particularly immigrants, asylum seeking refugees, black athletes, black women such as Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Omarosa Manigault Newman, women in general, Mexicans, Muslims and others while claiming to keep promises to his base.
Never before have we seen a President so flagrantly call out members of an opposing political party or openly blame a previous president for his present challenges in office while never even giving the slightest murmur, push back or rebuke to a longstanding foreign foe which hacked into our electoral system which our own intelligence agencies have repeatedly confirmed and verified.
And perhaps never before in recent memory has a political party been so effete, lame, ineffectual and obstructive in standing up and warding off such wholesale political destructiveness from a member of its own political party. We must never fail to remember that it was not until members of his own Republican Party confronted and reprimanded President Richard Nixon during the Watergate hearings that he realized the beginning of the end of his presidency.
“Iron sharpens iron.”
Such political destructiveness may have been precipitated in part by Republican draconian political maneuvers, supported by “conservative” think tanks and societies which have helped map out these political disasters in the name of political conservatism under the banner of taking America back perhaps to preserve the Anglo-American Brahman class and the Gilded Elite in fear of the browns, blacks, whites, greens and pinks ascending to absolute power and really taking America back by making America safe and free for all Americans.
Let me remind the reader that American Liberal Democracy has always made room for conservative beliefs and ideals and true American Conservatism has always acknowledged the value and credence of liberal points of view. What we have now is not conservatism but extremism which seeks to push the pendulum of democracy completely off its harmonic oscillator and rotating axis.
Moreover, Republicans and their cohorts also have helped stimulate the current demise of democracy through gerrymandering, voter suppression, destruction of unions, selling off or leasing public lands to corporations, demolishing health care, attacking the body rights and free choices of women, and Muslims, stealing the supreme court nominee Merrick Garland by refusing to have hearings and a whole menagerie of rank behaviors which have aided and abetted the devaluation and demolition of the government of the United States of America.
Are there stark parallels between Russians hacking into our elections to disrupt and eventually destroy democracy and Republican supported voter suppression where voting, which is the “breath of democracy” is stolen away from the American people and the right to vote is liquidated in order to establish authoritarian, dictatorial, one-party, government rule by a strong man? Do these respective gambits mutually energize each other?
We see this destructiveness unfurling in our current political disintegration which seems to be perilously mutating into unremitting dis-eases and afflictions, adversely affecting and permeating the American body politic which will plague us for years to come if we don’t develop the much needed political “vaccinations” and antidotes to our current political atrophy.
Has the process of political destructiveness already resulted in the loss and demolition of American Liberal Democracy?
What do we make of what appears to be an all-out assault on our democratic system where the free press is demeaned and attacked, and some of the Billionaire class take over agencies of government whose intent appears to dismantle or even destroy them by revoking progressive policies and overturning the gains of previous administrations?
What of the men behind the curtain- the wizards or Ozigarchs- if you will, who may be orchestrating these events in concert with other foreign oligarchs who share the same goals for oil producing nations to become richer and more powerful at the expense of average citizens and the poor in a fast changing world while trying to keep the world oil dependent in wake of the global movement toward the sustainable energy alternatives which threaten to dramatically reduce if not entirely wipe out the wealth and hegemony of the oil and coal producing nations?
Are there no hybrid models for change?
Have those same powerful interests already implemented a takeover plan to destroy American Democracy by erecting their own iron curtains in America which ultimately propagandize and Balkanize various American populations, “freeze dries” and “dry rots” the American political process by creating zombie politicians devoid of any speck or spark of moral outrage or moral courage to “save” America because they have pressed the “save as” buttons instead?
The first act of humanizing the robots or destructive automatons is getting them to feel something, to have compassion and empathy for the least of these and to feel the pain of others.
Meanwhile as the Corporate class and plutocrats seek to create their own fiefdoms and as they puppeteer and ventriloquize supine, sycophant political minions by telling them what to say, how to say it and what to do and bankroll their political campaigns with dark money thanks to Citizen’s United, and virtually guarantee their electoral victories with rigged elections evidenced by the absolute corruption of power absolutely and the failure to speak out and stand up for righteousness and truth because they are too timid and “souled out” to implement and activate policies and legislative processes in Congress, which can turn the tide of American Democracy back toward the people through truth, civility, justice and reasonable legislation which raises the living standards of all Americans.
By the way, does Russia want to be like America or does America want to be like Russia in wielding absolute power by destroying the rights and freedoms of the American people by ripping out government infrastructure in order to create a new oppressive imperial superstructure?
The silence of Republicans speaks loudly and is deafening as America slowly burns. They have the power to brake this destructiveness and have had every opportunity to check themselves and stand up to President Trump and their political overseers but have sadly looked the other way. They have stonewalled and roadblocked political processes by denying procedural justice. They have selfishly shut down the government. They have refused to cooperate with Democrats and will stop at nothing until they ramrod the next Supreme Court Justice through to confirmation and ultimately control the destiny of America the next forty years, which history shows if left unchecked, may lead to extremism’s solemn march across the annals of history to a dark and terrible place as history is once again dreadfully and irrepressibly repeated.
Must we be reminded that in the end it is man’s insatiable lust and greed for intoxicating power that warps his conscience, vitiates his soul, sullies his heart and eventually destroys him and the very things he loves and is called to protect, and as Michael Grant in the Fall of the Roman Empire candidly reminds us, “The thread of destruction is disunity which split the Empire apart, and thereby damaged the capacity of the Romans to meet external aggressions.”
A time comes when a man or woman must face himself at Jabbock, by looking deep within at his shortcomings and failings, by being transformed for both a personal and greater common good, by standing up and speaking up because it is the right thing to do because duty, destiny and righteousness call for it.
How can we ignore the trans-political examples in preserving our freedoms?
President Ronald Reagan confronted the reality of Soviet power with these words: “Mr Gorbachev-tear down this wall.”
Today those words might be, “Mr Putin stop hacking our elections!”
How can we forget the words of Adlai Stevenson to the United Nations Soviet Representative after the Soviets denied placing missiles in Cuba during the October 1962 crisis:
“All right, sir, let me ask you one simple question: Do you, Ambassador Zorin, deny that the U.S.S.R. has placed and is placing medium- and intermediate-range missiles and sites in Cuba? Yes or no—don’t wait for the translation—yes or no?
(The Soviet representative refused to answer.)
“You can answer yes or no. You have denied they exist. I want to know if I understood you correctly. I am prepared to wait for my answer until hell freezes over, if that’s your decision. And I am also prepared to present the evidence in this room.”
It is time for moral courage which Republicans and Democrats have demonstrated in our history by facing down far greater nuclear threats and other forms of despotism threatening the sovereignty of America and peace in the world.
We must then “beard the lion in the den,” so to speak. The current political destructiveness now running rampant and amok is potentially a tsunami of exponential proportions. It is very real and not imagined—- we must believe our “lying” eyes—- and the President, the Republican Party and various cults, factions and handlers are largely at fault for instigating these sorties on our republic which not only open the door to more political madness, mayhem and vulnerability to our enemies, foreign and domestic, but will hasten American Liberal Democracy, that is to say, “government of the people, by the people and for the people,” to a shameful and inglorious end if we allow such machinations to continue.
Strengthening democracy also means preserving public lands and public schools, protecting other natural resources and ensuring gainful employment for every American and respecting and ensuring the rights of every citizen including women and First Nation People.
Putting America first does not mean harming and blaming America first by childish public put downs and insults. It does not mean privatizing all profits while socializing all costs at the expense of everyday Americans. It does not mean stealing bread, health care, social security and medicare from the people after granting superfluous tax breaks to the morbidly wealthy. It does not mean kidnapping immigrants and destroying their families.
It means making America the number one priority of everybody on all levels which includes all the beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries of American freedom and prosperity. It also means respecting the global partnerships we have established with our allies.
There is nothing wrong with seeking rapprochement with Russia, but it means conversing with them from our points of truth, strength and honesty and not exclusively on Russia’s terms.
We must face reality and do everything in our power to protect, preserve and defend our country to keep Lady Liberty from perishing in the hands of those who would do her harm by taking her down and destroying her forever.
Political destructiveness must be surmounted and supplanted by political and moral constructiveness, clear headedness, tensile strength and right mindedness where America realizes for all her citizens life, liberty and happiness in a democracy still possessing enormous potential to grow wise, compassionate and strong for the future.
To tear America down, rip America off, destroy American interests with no viable alternative, no sustainable recourse, no reconcilable vision or desire to make America stronger and greater not only tomorrow but today is the lowest of all aims.
May we never ever give up the fight to preserve our country and build democracy until the mandates and promises of true freedom, “liberty and justice for all” exist for each and every one of us in a country where Lady Liberty now weeps with her hands over her eyes, buts still awaits “We the people” to dry her eyes, so she can once again stand tall and free and extend her arms upward and outward with one arm still raised with the torchlight of freedom burning ever so brightly for her people and all the world to see.
We must stand up to all enemies foreign and domestic and we must flat out protect American interests. It is our duty to vouchsafe and strengthen America and to preserve and not destroy American Democracy which no matter how imperfect still remains one of the best forms of government on earth.
The writ already has been written. The precedent already has been set.
Lady Liberty still stands but may crash and fall to earth if the madness goes on. The people and leaders must act. American Democracy can perish through both benign and malignant neglect if we fail to positively act and we will not, cannot and should not support those who give consent to destroy our country and its sovereignty or relinquish it to foreign or domestic adversaries.
The midterm elections are coming and we must regain the full breath of democracy by voting for those who will preserve, protect and defend our country and all of its people with all their heart, mind, body, soul and spirit. But measures must be taken so that the coming elections will not be rigged and hijacked so that the American people will not be hoodwinked and bamboozled all over again with destructive politicians remaining in power.
This is not Republican bashing. It is the truth. While Democrats may share a tiny bit of the blame for the current madness, it is primarily the Republican Party at the national and state levels of the United States of America that have mainly created the current culture of political destructiveness now consuming our nation. The resentment politics by some members of the Republican Party and their ongoing desire to dissolve this country because they believe that certain people in America don’t deserve, life, liberty, freedom and prosperity is a major reason for such political destructiveness.
For a group of people to hate other people and love power so much that they are willing to destroy their own country and give it to their enemies rather than do right by all the people is madness of the worst order that must end if America is to overcome the present crises.
Even President Abraham Lincoln, who lived through and shepherded our nation through one of its worst domestic crises said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed it from within.”
Said the great Congresswoman from the great state of New York, Shirley Chisholm, “Of course laws will not eliminate prejudice from the hearts of human beings. But that is no reason to allow prejudice to continue to be enshrined in our laws-to perpetuate injustice through inaction.”
And the poignant words of the late Benazir Bhutto ring ever so true today, “America’s contribution to the world is its concept of democracy, its concept of freedom, freedom of action, freedom of speech, and freedom of thought.”
American Liberal Democracy is still the best form of government on earth and again in the words of Benazir Bhutto, attributed to fallen leader by her son, “Democracy is the greatest revenge.”