We need resiliency more than ever
In my lifetime, which is getting longer every day, I have seen a lot of give and take throughout our democracy. So many times in fact, I can’t remember even one example at the moment. That’s why older people have wisdom, just not backed up with reliable memories.
Oh yeah, I recall Republicans, Democrats and President Clinton agreeing to a compromise that balanced the Federal budget. I admit it was in a land far away and long ago in 1999, right before y2k. If that doesn’t ring a bell, you must be quite a bit younger than me.
Anyway, that was just 20 years ago. It was a time when Congress passed a balanced budget. Today, there are no yearly budgets in place on October 1, much less balanced. Congress simply rolls the budget over and over under Continuing Resolutions making changes that nobody but the Congressional staffers understand.
The result: the National Debt has increased four fold since 2000, going from $25 trillion to $100 trillion. That’s real money. Even discounting for inflation, that’s quite a jump. If you feel frustrated by this, regardless of your party or political sentiments, we have at least frustration in common.
This started under Presidents Bush, Obama, Trump and now Biden. During this time, Republicans and Democrats were variously in charge of both the House and the Senate. So, who’s to blame? We are.
Collectively we have elected every member of Congress over the last 20 years by letting them manipulate us by dangling every hot button issue in front of us to get reelected and keep their party in power or seize it from the other party. It’s a democracy and we get who we vote for. There is no blaming others. Not the Republicans. Not the Democrats. Not the Conservatives. Not the Liberals. And not the press, for God’s sake.
And speaking of God, democracy is sacred, and we are the only ones who can make it our highest collective priority. Doing so would allow our democracy to protect our freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and to pursue our own happiness. If we continue to allow the political shysters and peddlers of despair at every election pull the wool over our eyes, our democracy will be finished. Kaput.
And with that, though, our hopes and dreams will be over too. Losing those would be unbearable. Only resilient Americans can bring back our resilient democracy that has gotten us this far, and which can bring us even closer to the dreams of our Founding Fathers.
Ken Grotewiel is a Founding Member of the None of the Above Society.