Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Problem With Our Political System and How to Change It
by Peter Stern
We are a nation of extremists and have lost the delicate checks and balances that made our nation truly great.

Historically, when President Lyndon Johnson (Dem) signed the Civil Rights Act he stated that by doing so he had ensured that the deep south would remain Republican for many decades to come. He also said that he signed it because it was the right thing to do.

However, there was no Republican Party in the 1700's. Initially, there first were Federalists. The Republican party was formed much later by 3 separate groups. The three groups were Free-Soilers, northern Democrats, and anti-slavery Whigs who gathered at the first Republican meeting in Michigan in 1854.

There are not many current Republicans that I care for and the GOP Platform has changed significantly during the past 3 decades. The last GOP President I truly liked was Dwight D. Eisenhower, back in the 1950's. Many in the GOP look back to Ronald Reagan, who was better than those in the party who followed him. The last intelligent Republican I liked was Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey. He offered the balance and grounding that we so urgently need. The current GOP has shifted far right, while the Democrats have strayed far left on the political scale.

My problem with most legislators is that there are few who are centered and grounded. There are few who will work together in the interest of the common good. As we desperately need balanced lawmakers, guided by middle ground politics and principles, our Congress has forgotten how to perform the "give and take" we need to make our system work. The 2 parties have forgotten how to compromise and that is what's sorely missing in our political system. We have an “all or nothing” extremist mentality. It is a balance that is needed to work for all Americans. Currently, most issue response are far right or left and we are a failing nation of extremists.

Furthermore, until we instate term limits and eliminate wealthy special interest campaign contributions, gifts and perks continuing in Washington and at the state and local levels, the corrupt and inferior process will continue. Forty percent of congressional members are millionaires who cannot relate to the majority. Since they cannot do so, they no longer are "representatives" of American citizens. Since Congress will not heal itself, it is up to the American people to demand it.

The majority of Americans are angrier now than they were 10 years ago. It may take several more years for Americans to rise up as a giant tsunami of discontent and maybe then the proper changes will take place, but unfortunately, we still seem a long way from that point.

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