What Will The Future Bring?

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Two of the states flipped house seats back to Republican the last election. My reaction was “where were the voters who flipped to Democrat in 2018?” Then the thought came out, “Voters don’t understand that the house alone cannot change things.” A very wise person commented “a great many people in our country do not understand how the government works.” She went on to suggest because of that she expected our democracy to fall within her lifetime. I hope she is wrong, but the way our education system has gone, and is going, perhaps we are on the cusp of losing our country.

I remember a very good political science teacher expounding on the idea that the best government was a compassionate dictator, the caveat being that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. That was so many decades ago, when I was young and saw our country as sturdy and stable as a rock. Sure, we had differences on policy, and sometimes an outlier would spew hate and divisiveness. Picture Senator McCarthy rooting out people he accused of being communists, ruining careers, lives and trust. But always someone would finally speak up after the dive toward instability, and always our President’s were rational and patriotic, each in his own way. Sure, some were more efficient than others, there were always spats about policy, and the intelligence quotient varied mightily between our leaders! Of course Nixon went beyond the pale, but even he had limits. No matter, the ship of state sailed sturdily on through smooth and rocky seas.

During the second half of the twentieth century children were inundated with programs like Mr. Rogers and Schoolhouse Rock. My daughter was raised on those programs, and remembers the lessons she learned to this day, including the songs from Schoolhouse Rock. She understood how government worked by the time she started school, and was ready to vote as soon as she aged in. We need programs like that flooding the airwaves. We need Civics Classes, History Classes, and Political Science taught in our schools, from first grade through high school…age appropriate, of course. I understand the need for math and science expertise, but we also need a citizenry with a full understanding of how the country is governed, the knowledge of how the three powers of government work to support, guide and in some cases check and control the executive branch. Making sure our citizenry is aware of our history, our Constitution, and our government, with all its strengths and weaknesses, is essential to maintaining our freedom as a representative democracy (also known as a constitutional federal republic).

We are now on the brink of a new age. Coming slowly out of a vicious pandemic…yes, vicious, about a million of our citizens gone with more millions suffering from long haul covid … now a war with further incursions into Ukraine by Russia and our Mother Earth falling apart with climate change, up-ending the lives of communities in the path of destructive natural forces. Is Biden and his administration capable of repairing most of the damage done to our country by the previous administration? Will Mitch McConnell be willing to work with the administration to right the ship of state, or will he continue to obstruct by not allowing bills to even be discussed? Can the Democrats manage to keep enough of a majority in Congress to move forward, and not regress even further? And a topic to be addressed later in detail, how do we keep our constitutional rights as citizens with a Supreme court willing to take them away for the first time in history?

The previous administration submitted us to an interesting, sometimes terrifying and often embarrassing four years. Picture the president surrounded by cabinet members uttering praise to him, one at a time. Remember his tirades against our allies and trading partners. We had hope for a more stable, more sane period. But then there is the threat of Russia’s egregious war spreading further into Europe, and ultimately the world. There is the total denial by many, including some of our politicians, that mankind is responsible for much of our environmental woes. Under the rock dwellers have been released to cause vitriol, threats of hanging people, and actual violence. At 83 I am mostly just an audience member watching the script develop. I can only hope and pray that your children will be spared the results of their ancestors mistakes, as the human race finds a way to pull together and deliver our beautiful globe and freedom loving inhabitants from the brink of disaster. Everyone must do their part to keep the train moving forward, hopefully not over a cliff to disaster. Do your darndest to live well, with compassion, empathy and purpose! Meet each morning with hope, put yourself to bed with determination, and help create a better world for all humanity. This is my deepest wish as I progress to that final tunnel of darkness, that your children live in a vibrant and progressively humane country such as I grew up in. Love to all, and peace.

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