In light of the tragic assault upon several government officials and citizens yesterday (1/8/11) in Tucson, AZ, I’m wondering if we can look to the future with much hope. There is a lot of talk going on regarding the causes of this violence. Fingers of blame are being pointed at various individuals of public influence, and the language and tone of our political debates and discussions are being cited as possible contributing factors for this violent act by one “unstable” young man. But I think that the cause of this kind of violence is deeper than the language that we use to discuss our joint courses of action in this country. And it is this cause that dims my expectations for hope in our future.
Hope in our government?
When our legislative bodies of Congress and state and local legislatures can approve bills for various public projects with a simple majority of 51% there is built into the decisions a strong impression of victory for the “powerful” majority and defeat for the “weak” minority. In the current political situation in which we live, where very major changes in some of our public policies and programs are being debated and trillions of dollars of taxes are being quickly spent, there are many causes of “anger” among many voters. But this is not to be unexpected when so much conflict, political fighting, persuasive lobbying, campaigns to gain “numbers” for each side of the “battles” are built into the system for how we conduct our legislative business. And the stage is being set for the ongoing “battles” as we approach the next general election in 2012. The sides are already gathering their ammunition and citing their targets and working to increase their numbers.
Hope in Congress?
I think that is time for Congress and the people to make some basic changes in how we conduct our legislative business in this country. The standard for approval is way too low! A judge in any court of law where the actions of citizens and those of public officials are being debated, except for the Supreme Court, would rule that the jury was “hung” if its approval rate was even as high as 11-1 (which is about 92%).
I think that our present standard for legislative action in this country is only a setup for “power” politics that leaves little chance for much hope in our future. “Might makes right” is the law of the jungle. If we want to live somewhere else than in a “jungle”, we need to move to a higher standard for what is a “right” course of action in how we conduct our legislative business. What do you think? Where can we find hope today? Let’s talk about this.