The Great Chain

The Great Chain

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Change I Can Believe In! - Part 1

Our country requires a vision. A plan. A set of goals and ideals to guide us into the future. Our political system has become obsessed not with governance, but with power, with obtaining power and maintaining power. Our entire political process has become rudderless and lost. The two parties spend more time and political capital calculating how to humble and humiliate political opponents and how to maintain power than they spend actually wielding that power.

The purpose of governance is to govern, to lead, to achieve, not merely to obtain power for Team D or Team R so that Team D or Team R can achieve some temporary advantage in the eternal and unending political horserace. The unfortunate reality is that our political system is broken. The two party system has failed. Neither party offers anything even approaching a coherent long term vision or plan for this country. Neither party articulates a specific set of goals or a plan for how to achieve them. The entire system is designed merely to perpetuate an endless two and four year contest in which participants with slightly different visions for the future declare anathema on one another in order to motivate an otherwise disinterested and dispirited base so that either Team R or Team D can achieve a temporary victory.

Neither party offers any real solutions for this country. Neither party offers a real path forward. Neither party offers anything like a coherent plan or vision for the future. Instead they bicker about utterly meaningless personal and social issues in which the government should have no say whatsoever and fight to the death over whether a 39% marginal tax rate is confiscatory or a 37% marginal tax rate is confiscatory.

This is NOT a plan! This does not represent a vision! This does not represent anything more than rearrangement of the beverage coasters on the Titanic. Our world is changing. Our country is changing. Our economy, our infrastructure, our entire political system is crumbling all around us. Poverty has skyrocketed. Income inequality is at the highest levels in human history. Our empire is crumbling and rather than dealing with the problems we face, our political system spins and churns and dawdles over trivialities and personal conflicts between people who should know better.

We cannot afford to tinker around the edges of our society. We cannot afford to make cosmetic, superficial changes anymore. Our society, our economy, our infrastructure, our foreign policy, our military, our entire political structure requires not incremental, but evolutionary change. We require a vision. We require a purpose and goals – things that have been utterly lost since the end of the Cold War. We need a vision of the future and neither party has provided one.

Since they have failed, it falls to the citizenry to drive change and to provide that vision. With that in mind, here is my vision of what this country could achieve, what I want us to achieve, and how I want to ensure that we reach it. I am not interested in the next two years, or four years, I want a vision of where we can go and what we can be in the next 10 years, the next 20 years, the next 30 years, the next 50. We need a plan. We need a vision.

This is mine.


Far too much political and intellectual capital is expended on social issues that have no place in the political sphere. As far as I am concerned, the right and freedom of individuals to choose is paramount and that freedom should be respected above all. The State should have nothing to say about what people do in their private lives other than affirming the State's dedication to the freedom of the individual. Abortion, Gay Marriage, Homosexuality, Religious Freedom, Right to Die, Right to Bear Arms – The State should stay completely out of the personal decisions of its citizens. If two men or two women want to be married, they should be allowed to do so. Period. If a woman needs to go through the wrenching process of terminating a pregnancy as opposed to bearing a child she does not want or cannot deal with, the State should respect her freedom as an individual to choose what to do with her body. Period. If an individual wants to die and is in pain great enough to warrant appropriate medical acknowledgment of their wishes, the State should respect that individual's decision. The State should always respect the individual's right to believe or not believe whatever they desire, no matter how repugnant or detestable that belief may be, so long as that belief does not lead to actions that cause harm to others. An individual's right to have arms should not be abridged. Indeed, the State's only interest is in ensuring that weapons are kept out of the hands of criminals and the mentally unstable, therefore whatever minimal safeguards are necessary to effectuate that end are sufficient.

The real point is that all of these issues are nothing but distractions. They are wedge issues that have been used to create divisions based on meaningless trivialities based on nativist, xenophobic, bigoted, racist, homophobic and misogynistic feelings. This division must stop. These issues should not even be issues that the Government is forced to deal with because they are largely irrelevant. The freedom of the individual is the fundamental tenet of our creed as a nation and that tenet MUST be respected. These are not issues the government should be involved in AT ALL. They have been used for years to divide and separate us. We need to move beyond them.

Meaningless social issues are the kind of things we bicker over when there is nothing more pressing to deal with. We have FAR too much to deal with at the moment to spend a moment bickering about any of this. We need to simply accept the individual's sovereignty over their own existence and move on to the issues that really matter, the issues that SHOULD be the responsibility of the State. This Party will affirm the above, but will NOT get tied down in stupid social issues. We do not have the luxury of engaging in pointless culture wars anymore. We have more important things to worry about as a people. So suck it up Southerners. Gay people can get married. Women can have abortions. You can have your guns. And everyone can worship whatever invisible being they want.

Bickering over social issues is not a vision. It is not a plan. It is a waste of time. No matter what conservatives want, the liberalization of society will continue unabated. They have been trying to forestall the inevitable for 30 years and it hasn't worked. The only thing they can do is delay. Whether it is 10 years or 20 years or right freaking now, the policies outlined above WILL come to pass. Let's make it now so we don't have to waste anymore time fighting about gay marriage and abortion. Let's simply resolve it as it was always destined to be resolved and move on to more important subjects.

Like foreign policy, healthcare, the economy, the military, social security, infrastructure.


  1. I agree with you but I wonder if we've become so polarized that rational discussion of even our most pressing problems is no longer possible.

    My gut feeling is that even if we got rid of all the ridiculous "culture war" stuff, we'd still have a nasty battle over the rest. The folks I know who are so up in arms about the culture wars consider the real problems to be part of that. They seem to believe that America is not just some Christian kingdom but also must be a giant military power policing the world. Likewise, Americans must all be superpatriotic, hard-working folks - no room for the sick or poor here. That's why they want to do away with public assistance and they don't support universal healthcare. Their mantra is, "If you fall on hard times, you deserve it."

    I don't know how you can reason with people who are so committed to this mindset. And perhaps it's not as many people as it seems - maybe it's just the ones I have the misfortune to be associated with.

  2. Perhaps this is merley symptomatic of my overall optimism, but I think that Americans by and large will support people who present a strong, coherent vision, even if that vision is wrong and even if they disagree with portions of it.

    I sense nothing but frustration and disdain for both of the major political parties. I think that a strong, coherent, forceful, unequivocal and unapologetic vision of where we can go would actually be quite refreshing and could garner a lot of support.

    I think the reason that most people distrust the major parties so much is that they rightly perceive that both parties are fundamentally dissembling. Republicans must always hide their actual political and economic agenda because when presented honestly it is so deeply classist that it would drive any sane person away. Democrats are constantly backtracking and whimpering and apologizing for their positions and walking away from those who should be their biggest supporters because of the fear that Republicans will call them names (which they would do anyway).

    And neither are really capable of transformative change. I don't think nibbling around the edges is going to be enough. I think enough people understand that the present system is broken that an alternative might be quite attractive. We need to make some fundamental changes to our economic and political system and we need to not apologize for it, but explain why we want to do what we propose.

  3. WOW!!!!! I got SO inspired reading this. BRILLIANT. TRUE. Absolutely NECESSARY. I cant agree more with your points on STOPPING the RIDICULOUS bickering over the such trivial things... we are not in daycare anymore ADULTS...It's time to get REAL and DEAL with the things that MATTER. Your Vision is GENIUS Jeff. Thank you for sharing!!! ~Madison