One hundred and forty seven years ago, a weary Republican president stood on a battlefield in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and resolved “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” One hundred and seventeen years later, a cowboy actor portraying a Republican president declared, “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” In the 30 years since Ronald Reagan was elected President, the Republican Party has hammered home its anti-government message and replaced government of the people with a corporate oligarchy.
Where were the Democrats during the last 30 years? With few exceptions, they were either milling around like bleating sheep or up to their elbows in the same corporate hog trough as the Republicans. While the organized, disciplined, knife-fighting Republicans parry and thrust, the Democrats line up to have their throats cut. While the Republicans lust for power and use it like a club when they get it, the Democrats are scared to death of it. I’m not suggesting Democrats should behave like the Republicans have, but there has to be some middle ground between Attila the Hun and the Easter Bunny.
So who is responsible for the mess in Washington and Sacramento? Our collective complacency, laziness, and unwillingness to be engaged has allowed the decline of democracy and the corporate takeover of America. We have let down our children and grandchildren and betrayed the very fallen soldiers Abraham Lincoln spoke of when he gave his famous speech. The two-party system in this country is broken. What we desperately need are new parties, new blood, new ideas.
Government is not the problem. Government is how intelligent, civilized people come together to solve the problem.