Politics: A Look Ahead. : ThyBlackMan

Monday, September 24, 2018


Politics: A Look Ahead.

September 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Money, News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.comDuring what is usually a slow news period – the end of August until Labor Day – there has been so much “news” that it has been like drinking from the proverbial firehose; difficult, if not impossible, to swallow it all.  And while much of the (mostly) noise  is likely to continue, there are some upcoming news events that bear close watching as they give some clues to what 2019 and beyond will look like.

The Budget: By the end of September congress has to pass, and the president has to sign, a budget for Fiscal Year 2019 to avoid a government shutdown.  What here-to-fore has been a mundane function has, as of late, become a fraught process that has rarely been accomplished on time.  This year, the major sticking point may be the president’s demand for funding of his promised (although he also promised that Mexico would pay for it) southern border wall.

But there are larger and more serious budget issues that should not escape our focus.  The current Republican leadership in congress has continually expressed its antipathy to social safety net programs labeling them wasteful and ineffective.  The administration this summer employed a new tactic, arguing that the “War on Poverty has been won” and therefore there is no longer a need for these programs.  Congressional leadership and the administration have both been pushing for “work requirements” in order for citizens to receive safety net benefits and have proposed to deny citizenship for immigrants who use any of these programs – Food Stamps, Medicaid etc.  We need to remain focused on what budget actions are taken to continue to erode the safety net as these programs remain vital for millions of Americans and immigrants legally living here.

The Mid-Terms:  If you have not yet seen Barack Obama’s speech at the University of Illinois make sure you do.  While it has been called a take-down of Trumpery, it was more of a positive call for Americans to decide who we are and what we’re for, not what we are not and who we’re against.  Obama gave an accurate diagnosis for the political problems of our age – Trump is a symptom, not the cause – and a prescription for the cure; the ballot box.  And he went further, calling on all of us as citizens of the republic to get involved at every level, from the local school board to the next presidential election.  He warned that democracy’s greatest enemy is indifference and that it is everyone’s responsibility to provide a check on a do-nothing congress and a corrupt administration.

If we want to strengthen the social safety net, not eliminate it; if we want criminal justice reform and not a return to mass incarceration; if we want all Americans to have access to health care and to reduce income inequality; we can only achieve these, and other goals on the path to a more perfect union, if we get, and stay, involved.

The Mueller Probe:  By all of the available public information, there wascollusion” between the Trump campaign and the Russians and the president has tried everything in his power, short of the outright firing of the Special Counsel, to obstruct justice.  Mueller knows even more.  By the end of the year we should have a clearer picture of the extent of both.

Regardless of the outcome of the probe, however, it has become increasingly evident that the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is unfit for the office.  Apparently, even members of his administration have come to this conclusion as evidenced by the revelations in several books and an anonymous Op-Ed in the New York Times.  Remember, it was just a few weeks ago that over 100 former officials from the country’s national security community publicly denounced the president’s politicization of the security clearance process and Admiral William McRaven, the former leader of the Joint Special Operation Command – America’s elite warriors – wrote that he had “embarrassed us in front of our children and humiliated us on the world stage.”

In the book “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind”, Yuval Noah Harari explains nation-states as a “shared fiction”.  They exist only because people “believe” in them, and cease to exist when people do not.  There was a dream that was America, a place where all people were deemed equal before the law and free to pursue happiness – our national shared fiction.  Now we have been presented with a competing vision, from America’s past, of a place where only certain people belong and others are only there to provide for their happiness.  The purveyors of this vision would shatter that shared fiction.  And even though it never was, the striving for that dream held this nation together through war, depression and prosperity alike.  Let us not be the generation to see that dream die.

Staff Writer; Harry Sewell


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