Americans must reclaim their democracy

Dan Lucas_July 2012_BW

by Dan Lucas

Crap. I was really hoping my fellow Republicans would snap out of their infatuation with Donald Trump. Unfortunately, he’s still dominating in the polls. I honestly don’t understand how people cannot see through this man. To me, he always comes across as abusive, petty, vain and shallow.

There is one thing he excels at – he knows how to tell people what they want to hear.

For me, he has always been the GOP version of Barack Obama, the GOP “magic man.”

On top of the abusiveness and petty and vain behavior, there are even plenty of reasons to question Trump’s credentials as a conservative. He was a registered Democrat for almost the entire decade from 2001-2009, and as recently as four years ago he wasn’t a registered Republican. He had the Clintons as wedding guests to his most recent wedding in 2005. Despite now saying the right things about the 2nd Amendment, he previously supported the “assault weapons” ban and longer waiting periods on gun purchases. In 2011 he announced he had evolved on the issue of abortion and was now pro-life. He had previously been pro-choice. He has advocated for a Canadian-style, single-payer plan – which is far more extreme than Obamacare.

For Republicans or Democrats, our choices for 2016 are not great at this point. It’s like being the last one to go pick out a DVD at a motel at the coast on a stormy winter night.

This isn’t a problem with the candidates, for either party. God bless them for being willing to serve and put up with everything they have to put up with. This is a problem with the people who elect them. The quality of the field of candidates reflects the quality of those who would elect them.

Back on February 13th, the day Gov. Kitzhaber was expected to announce his resignation, I went down to the capitol at lunchtime. As I got ready to head upstairs I noticed a large enclave of reporters gathered outside the governor’s office and snapped a picture of them. I wasn’t trying to, but I also happened to take a picture of these profoundly appropriate words on the wall below “In the souls of its citizens will be found the likeness of the state – which if they be unjust and tyrannical then will it reflect their vices – but if they be lovers of righteousness, confident in their liberties, so will it be clean in justice, bold in freedom.” These same words apply to our nation.

Back in 2012, I wrote a column on why money matters in politics. I noted “Our form of government is ‘high maintenance’; it requires a great deal of citizen involvement to work well.” This mess is on us. Through our collective disengagement from the political discourse, we cede political power to those with money to buy TV commercials. It’s a vicious cycle. Voters don’t pay attention, lobbyists and special interests gain power – power given to them by uninterested citizens. Then citizens get frustrated with the inevitable results and want a quick fix, a “magic man.”

I get it, politics are unpleasant and downright ugly at times. They can be very divisive. Sometimes it’s hard to tell Republicans from Democrats. For example, despite claims that he was standing up to Wall Street, President Obama’s 2008 campaign “raised more money from the financial community than any other politician in American history,” which was repaid when “Wall Street amassed more profits in the first two years of the Obama presidency than all eight of George W. Bush’s combined.”

I largely avoided politics for most of my life, but that doesn’t really work and it especially doesn’t work if we want to hang on to this magnificent “government of the people by the people for the people” we’ve been so blessed to inherit. That so many of our predecessors fought for and when necessary gave their “last full measure” for.

With all of its flaws, it is still the best thing out there. As Winston Churchill said “democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” It’s why so many Iraqis after the fall of Saddam Hussein risked real danger to vote and were so proud of their purple fingers.

Democracy will be much harder to win back if it’s lost. Please let’s all get more involved, if even a little bit more. Please reject quick fixes – it’s taken us a while to get into this mess caused by our inattention – please let’s be patient and persistent in restoring it.

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in 2016 Presidential Election, Donald Trump | 11 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Bob Clark

    Well, it’s either Crooked Queen Hillarious-and-her-saying-It-was-a-guy’s-video-that-caused-the-deaths-of-our-diplomat; Ted Cruz, or Trump.

    I guess I can go with Cruz; but he has a rather odd way of looking at the Federal Reserve and the concept of central banks. Hopefully, this perspective gets diluted if he gets elected.

    • Auld and New Testamentor

      In an event of a blather populist invasion, tongue or buy udder, considering the two principle guiles seeking to take reigns over US, the vote should go to Donald Trump who bodes a better choice over DNCondomination perpetration…granting more access for Islamic fornication.
      Jesus’ might folks; If Allah is reinstituted as our God – and and Mohammed his SOS, wtf will that difference that make in our Constitution?
      Wake up and resist the blight obscene on the horizon before it becomes too prelate.
      Really, Sharia law as posted by Mohammed is antichrist and foreign to our “In God we trust” intonation.
      Watch out, fore the repercussions are coming, repeat, he repercussions are coming.
      Armageddon y’all…

    • thevillageidiot

      What do you mean “odd way of looking at the Federal Reserve and the concept of central banks.” if your bank did not want to be audited would you not be suspicious of wrong doing or fraud? Would you continue banking with that bank? Now multiply that by 1000 fold. why shouldn’t the FED be audited? They control the finances of the entire country and all the banks.

    • thevillageidiot about the Federal reserve.

  • thevillageidiot

    Democracy not even going to try to define it. We pretend the US is a democratic republic. The source is the CIA World Factbook. so much for definitions. The two party system here in the US is the best form of control for the selection of the candidates for the democratic election process. If no one has noticed we are given selected choices. The current front runner for the selected choice is Marco Rubio (Trump is the anomaly) By denigrating Trump the media is almost guaranteeing he will be the republican candidate. Hillary will be the Democrat selection. If it is a Trump Clinton race Clinton wins. If Trump is removed as the leading candidate by the next two runners up, Ted Cruz and Rubio, Rubio will be the republican selection. By the time the media is done, Cruz will be reviled by the “intelligent” conservative which supposedly makes up the majority of the republican voters. Both Rubio and Clinton have been fully vetted. in a Rubio-Clinton race Rubio wins. In either case America loses. Take a close look at the underlying politics of both. War continues, open borders continues, slow economy continues, increasing poverty continues, increasing government control continues, a tighter police state continues. (you say Trump has flip flopped so what) So I am not proud to show off my “purple finger” I voted for Ron Paul and will vote for Rand even though I suspect he is less libertarian and more conservative than his father. as for the national election I vote for Nobody. If that nobody is the personification of Ben Carson well, so be it. Not gonna happen. Bottom line you think 1) we actually have a choice, 2) the presidential election will actually change something, 3) the US can come back from the brink. You are correct that we will get exactly the government we are led to accept. At the national level nothing will change and if you think our representatives will make a difference, 95% will be reelected with a less than 15% job approval rating. the only influence we, the unwashed masses have, is at the local level. Currently theft by majority vote is the politics du jour in Oregon. You are correct, as voters we can only blame ourselves, but what media outlet is going to print that news. according to the media we are the “victims” and therefore it is not our fault.

  • GObill sizemore

    Dan, I have pointed out most of these same things issues regarding Trump’s questionable conservativism on Facebook and elsewhere and yet many of my usually well-informed and highly involved conservative friends continue to sing his praises. His disdain for political correctness seems to be the one thing that makes them think he is different from the rest and really will shake things up. Many of my friends think he is a genius and yet he never says anything specific and never uses words or language that suggest he is well informed or able to articulate anything of substance on any issue. He rarely says anything more substantive than everything is going to be really terrific with him running things. Reminds me of a speech one of my classmates gave when running for class president in the eighth grade.
    I think we can take it for granted that social issues will not be a major concern for Donald Trump, which should make us wonder about what kind of supreme court justices he would nominate. I see no sign that he has the depth of understanding to recognize the distinction between a strict constructionist and a “living document” philosophy of jurisprudence. What’s at stake with the next supreme court nominees is far too great to ignore and yet we have no idea where Trump is on that question.
    And the fact that Trump wants to raises taxes on the wealthy is a huge red flag to me. No conservative who understands our general philosophy of taxation would support taking from the rich more than their fair share of the fruits of their labor, whether they can afford it or not. Trump has made it clear that his rich Wall Street buddies can afford to pay more. That sounds more like something Karl Marx or the head of the SEIU would advocate than someone running in a Republican presidential primary.
    In spite of all this, so many Republicans are buying the generalities and tough talk and ignoring all of the warning signs. That scares me. It is likely true that a nation gets the kind of leaders its people deserve and if we don’t start coming together around someone with solid conservative credentials, someone actually able to do the job, we might just forfeit the generous opportunity the Democrats are handing us by nominating Hillary Clinton.
    There is still time to settle on a good candidate and even though some of my conservative friends are already angry about my numerous challenges to Donald Trump’s conservative credentials, I am going to continue speaking up and I’m glad you are, too.

  • Tired of the Nastiness

    The GOP is enjoying the fruits of 25 years of right-wing radio that has been telling people that rudeness is a virtue.

    There are no conservatives left in the United States, just right-wingers that want average Americans to be worse off.

    If you want people like Trump to go away, then stop listening to Rush and O’Reilly and Lars.

    • carloada

      “There are no conservatives left in the United States, just right-wingers that want average Americans to be worse off.”

      this is the tired old throw grandma in the snowbank rhetoric of yesteryear…

      • Tired of the Nastiness

        Right wing policies have *never* made average people better off.

        A true conservative would support single-payer health insurance, since it has a track record of costing less and delivering better results.

        A true conservative would support unions, because they contribute to a solid middle class.

        A true conservative would support high marginal tax rates, because we’ve had our strongest economies when the top tax rates have been higher.

        But those who call themselves “conservative” don’t care about supporting policies that make average Americans better off. They only support policies that support the rich and powerful.

        That’s shameful.

        • Expectorate Buster

          What a load of smurfee drool.

  • carloada

    if you bad mouth the coast, ya lost me…

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