OPINION

Perry Says

Perry Lundon
Local Columnist

What is becoming of our democracy? Can we collectively, in a severely divided and willfully ignorant society, preserve what the founding fathers established when forming a government by and for the people that has as its central mission to form a more perfect Union. For many years, our country has had great difficulty with the forming a more perfect Union. There were times when achieving a more perfect Union seemed very possible and times, particularly like now, of pervasive hopelessness. The notion of government by and for the people that evolves toward the formation of a more perfect Union is still attainable but becoming harder with every tumble we take down into the hopelessness abyss. Our current level of political dysfunction and societal division seems to be trending toward the end of the vision of our forefathers. In several closely contested states legislative efforts are underway to allow partisan politicians to nullify election results voted by the people, basically cheat, if they simply do not like what the voters wanted. So goes government by and for the people and the effect end of any pretense that the US is a democracy or operates under any sense of common decency.

The fact that there is division, largely based on some warped notion of freedom, about how to act like responsible adults to a health care crisis shows just how far this political dysfunction and societal division has become entrenched throughout the country. I actual heard of a business, at few months ago, that did not want any customer to wear a mask in their business because the business owners did not believe there is a health care crisis that requires adults to act responsibly. Just recently, a store security guard was killed for simply asking a customer to wear a mask. Willful ignorance has run amok in our society where over 600,000 lives have been lost to a virus that can be greatly curtailed by the simple act of wearing a mask or some other form of face covering. Somehow wearing something to reduce your exposure and lessening the exposure of others to a harmful virus is somehow and issue of civil liberties or freedom. Even with increasing vaccinations there remain the willfully ignorant unvaccinated individuals putting other people at risk.

It is important to understand that even though we are not done with the current pandemic, the pandemic while lessening in intensity in the US is raging on in other parts of the world. Another serious global health crisis at some time in the future is a distinct possibility. The fact that leadership in the US paid lip service to the need to respond to the situation intelligently and authoritatively and even went so far to call what has now killed over 600,000 lives in the US and over 3,500,000 lives worldwide a hoax. Based on the number of people that wish to remain willfully ignorant it is highly unlikely that herd immunity will ever be achieved in the US, and we will have to live with and subsequently die, albeit much fewer deaths, from a controllable virus. The overall global response to the current pandemic does not bode well for some future health care crisis.

How the US reacted to the current health care crisis shows the grave nature of our political dysfunction and societal division that could very well result in the demise of what has been the quintessential democracy on the planet. For many years most developing countries longed for their government to reflect the democracy that was evolving in the US. They yearned for government by and for the people that allowed for the formation of an expanding middle class, better education, higher standard of living and a sense that the future produces upward economic and social mobility.

What has devolved over the past few decades is a lingering democracy that no other country, perhaps except for the residents of a few extreme dictatorial or authoritarian countries (North Korea, Turkey, Cuba, Belarus) on the planet, would ever envision for their country. The US has a highly dysfunctional Congress that only marginally works on behalf of most of the people but does a very good job protecting the interests of the very wealthy and multinational corporations. The division in the country has been used and abused by politicians to achieve their own personal goals and objectives that often coincide with a small portion of society. Do not be fooled into believing that most people benefit from the stock market when 10% of the US population own and benefit from 84% of all stocks held by households, that is a smokescreen argument.

The listing of ways in which the US trails behind most other developed nations of the world is exhaustive and the US has declined greatly by comparison since the mid-20th century. The one area, again that President Dwight Eisenhower warned us to carefully watch some 50+ years ago, is military spending and ways to wage war and kill our actual and perceived enemies. The US is the supreme military power, at least for now, on the planet and we annual spend large sums of government revenue, usually equal to the next 7-10 nations combined expenditures for military spending, for this privilege while other countries spend more on other needs of their country.

The military juggernaut that is the US has squandered our status as the preeminent economic power on the planet. China will pass the US as the richest country on the planet sometime in the next few decades followed shortly by India usurping the US. We pursued wrongheaded economic policies and refused to accept fiscal responsibility for our military misadventure and have not audited defense department for decades. The Department of Defense (DOD) has not been audited since the mid-1990s because it is unable to document the expenditure of billions of spending. It was simply decided not to audit DOD to validate their level of fiscal mismanagement. Democracy that functions well must be accountable, honest, transparent, visionary and pragmatic. A well-functioning democracy is not something we can in all honesty say exists in the US today and whether we can get there from our current position is highly debatable. What we are currently doing politically and as society is truly not the way to form a more perfect Union.

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