More Than Just Musings
If the words and/or thoughts here strike a chord, feel free to own, expand and share them. Please try to keep them in context.
Two hundred forty years ago Adams, Franklin, Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison, Monroe and others, built a magnificent house - a solid foundation, three master suites, laundry room in the bedroom wing, family room on the other side of the house, island in the kitchen, patio facing south, etc. But, time has taken its toll on the roof -- the vent roof jacks have cracks, the sheets metal in the valleys has lifted with the wind, moss has grown under the shakes, and the shingles have lost their granules and are torn. In short, the roof leaks in several places - gun violence, health care, wage/wealth disparity, mental health, immigration, elderly care, homelessness, poverty, and more.
Nails, wet patch, and caulking are all temporary solutions, as are raising the gun buying age, modifying the appearance of semi-automatic long guns, banning bump stocks, modestly expanding the data base, reducing magazine size to fifteen or even ten. All are half-of-loaf solutions. (Migratory bird hunters must have a plug in their shotguns that will allow only three shells. We think more of our migratory fowl than we do of our first graders, our teenagers, our college students, our movie goers, our Saturday night clubbers, our country music lovers, and our church goers.)
The roof needs to be replaced, hence The 28th Amendment to the Constitution. It will allow and encourage our elected representatives to make honest decisions that put our country first, their constituents second, and never their tribe above either
The two major issues in gun violence are reasonable gun laws and mental health. To take NRA out of the picture requires defunding its lobby - MAJOR CAMPAIGN REFORM. To resolve the mental health issue will take massive funding for research, medication, some sort of out-patient supervised care, and institutionalized care that is more than warehousing. Unfortunately, the latter, with the exception of the immediate family and a small segment of the medical and social services communities, has no lobby so it will take dedicated and conscientious legislators who put their country first, their constituents second, and their tribe never.
However, It is important to keep in mind that anything done by legislation in any state or in Washington, D.C. can be undone by legislation. The key is to create a legislative environment without tribalism and legal bribery, but with compassion, empathy, and rational debate. Hence, the Twenty Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.
It's the money. If intelligent, conscientious, and empathetic individuals, who respect democratic principles, believe in the separation of powers, and support our extensive and spirited freedoms, survive the primary wars, they then must stand up to the insults and assaults of the general election to win a seat in Congress. Upon their arrival at a state house or Capitol Hill, they are greeted by their Democrat or Republican tribes. After being assigned a time at a telephone bank to raise money and being placed in situations where their voices and ideas are filtered and limited by the tribal leaders, they are greeted by lobbyists who graciously isolate them socially, financially, and politically from their causes. Occasionally a veiled threat of primary challenge is slipped in. The newly elected members can now go about establishing their principles and representing their constituents. Fat chance, see Jeff Flake and Russ Feingold.
Remember, the lobbyists control the agenda and the funding priorities. In my lifetime only twice, during the Viet Nam War and March For Our Lives, have they lost control.
I have a different take on the answer to our problems of gun safety, immigration, healthcare, mental health, income inequality, poverty, along with a multitude of other issues. The solution is to create an atmosphere in Washington where our representatives owe their allegiance to our country first, the will of their constituents second, and never to their incumbency or their tribe. We can right our democracy by fighting individual battles while people suffer and, as we have seen, die while waiting for change, or we can address the one problem - a stagnant, self-concerned, weak, non-deliberative Congress made so by money, archaic rules, lack of transparency and more money.
The slogan "If you see something, say something." coined by the domestic terrorist task force, has been modified by Madeleine Albright on "Morning Joe." She added "Do something."
Just what can you do? Research some of the problems and think about possible solutions,. Think about how many other problems can be solved with the same solution. Attend local discussion groups. Voice your concerns, evaluate the thoughts of others, suggest modifications and solutions, talk about the issues with family and friends and not-so-close friends. Email your representatives. Write letters to the editor, to the pundits, to reporters who write related stories, to people who make the news, to civics teachers, to student activists who hit the news, to organizations for and against your position (Sandy Hook Promise Foundation, NRA, etc.) to local civic organizations, etc. Attend rallies and marches, (They might just be fun. At the San Jose March For Our Lives, we were serenaded by a choral group. They were great.) make a sign, bring some handouts. JUST DO SOMETHING.
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