January 6, 2021 will be discussed for a while. Even ESPN was providing coverage of and reactions to the protest that got out of control at the United States Capitol. In case you happened to be indisposed and this page with less than 60 likes on Facebook is your primary news source, here’s what happened:
On December 19, 2020, Donald Trump tweeted that there would be a rally in Washington, D.C. on January 6 to protest the 2020 presidential election results. Yesterday at said rally, President Trump spoke of corruption, collusion, and larceny when describing the election results. He spoke for over an hour, spewing his normal brand of vocal feces, then left. The attendees of the protest stuck around and moved towards the Capitol, where legislators were in the middle of certifying the electoral college results.
At some point, rally attendees and protestors forced their way through the police barricades, up the various staircases leading into the Capitol, and finally into the Capitol. Windows were broken, several spaces in the Capitol were evacuated, and at one point people actually broke into the Senate chamber. After over an hour of watching from the White House, President Trump finally tweeted that people needed to be peaceful because his party is the party of law and order.
Then came the video. President Trump tweeted out a video of himself pleading for people to cease violence and return to peace. Except instead of actually doing that, he began the speech by claiming that everyone knows the election was stolen. (I would love to share the video, but it was taken off Twitter for violating site rules). It was halfhearted at best, continually traitorous at worst.
Obviously this country has a lot of work to do. No matter what the coming days have in store, the anticipation and apprehension of the looming inauguration day are sure to be tense and uncomfortable. Yesterday was a disgrace. I’m non-partisan, so any time I agree with Joe Biden, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter on the same issue, it’s a little surreal. But they all issued statements, and all of them were on point. It’s so surreal that the link above actually takes you to CNN, and normally I would never use CNN (or FoxNews, for that matter) as an official news source because of how biased they are.
So, what now? What’s the answer? Where are we? Where do we go? Yesterday should have revealed something to a lot of Americans. Yesterday should have let the nation know that there is an incredible amount of dysfunction in our system. I love the Constitution, and I love capitalism, and I love freedom, and I love liberty. The problem is not with the principles of those things. The problem is the politicians.
Before World War II, the United States largely stayed out of the affairs of other nations. World War II was admittedly a tragedy and may have been one of those desperate times for which desperate measures are called. So when the USA helped sanction Germany, helped re-create Poland, stymied Japan, helped get more Europeans out of Africa, put military bases in a bunch of countries that did not belong to the USA, and helped almost literally carve Israel out of nothing, most people probably let it slide because it was on the heels of Adolf Hitler and the atomic bomb.
The problem is that some time after that, a god complex entered Washington, D.C. with unprecedented fervor. The United Nations was given more authority and a bunch of different countries were all intimately involved in the affairs of those less fortunate countries like those in Africa and the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Truman tried (and failed) to seize the means of steel production so he could help progress war in Korea. And Korea was not a conventional war in which one side is attacked and the other retaliates. Korea was basically a war between the US and China for influence of the country. Then came Vietnam less than ten years after the Korean War ended. Vietnam was very nearly an act of colonization by the United States. The French had in fact been in Vietnam for years and passed the reins over to the States when France realized their military was still recovering from World War II and could not have held off aggression from Communist China.
Then came Nixon getting caught spying on US citizens. Then came Carter getting involved in the Middle East, which admittedly looked somewhat successful at the time. Then came the War on Drugs (which Drugs are winning handily). Then came Nicaragua, and Desert Storm, and Kosovo, and Bosnia, and the War on Terror.
And that’s all just the foreign influence stuff. This says nothing of J. Edgar Hoover spying on everyone from Elvis to Martin Luther King, Jr., segregationist politicians running for office as recently as the 1970s, gerrymandering by both political parties, laws that disproportionately affect minorities and low-income communities, police shooting unarmed people, rioters destroying private property as police just let it happen, politicians of all political persuasions being puppets of special interest groups and corporations, a bungled Covid reaction at every level of government, possible Russian interference in elections, and a whole host of daily injustices that go undocumented and uninvestigated.
What this tells me is that, while the United States of America truly is a great country, it needs work. Every successful person has worked on themselves in a way that makes those around them more successful. For example, Michael Jordan famously did extra workouts and trained harder to prepare for what was ultimately his first championship season in the NBA. By setting that example and working on making Michael Jordan the best player he could be, it also made his teammates better. Obviously that’s a different set of circumstances than 75 years of exposed corruption, but still.
I don’t believe in some huge globalist government because it can’t work. There are 7.5 billion individuals on this planet, and no government will do anything to please all 7.5 billion, and probably not any more than about 1 billion or so. That said, those 7.5 billion of us are all in this together in some way. What that tells me is that it’s okay and in fact preferable to have a diverse world of multiple cultures, languages, religions, politics, and customs. With that in mind, the governments of the world should work together on things but with the almost tangible separation of knowing that what works in the USA may not work in Pakistan, or India, or the Sudan, or Italy, or Brazil, or Mexico, or Canada, for that matter.
So, what’s the solution? The solution is to work on our government. Instead of spending a huge portion of our budget on defense, how about we secure the domestic areas and reserve our involvement in foreign areas for if we are attacked? The 2020-2021 military budget in the United States is $934 billion. And that’s just the part of the budget that’s actually allotted to the military. The military also uses 54% of the discretionary spending at the federal level.
Plus, we have a national debt of almost $28 TRILLION. Twenty-eight trillion dollars in debt! If you made $1 million/hour all day, every day, even during sleep, it would take you 114 years to amass $1 trillion. And the US has a debt of almost $28 trillion. Unreal. How are we supposed to help other countries with their problems when we have such a history of dysfunction and bad spending at the federal government level?
Here’s the upshot: The US is great. The Constitution is great. The legacy of fighting for freedom is great. Sure, there are definite dark patches of history. It’s shameful that slavery ever existed, that women didn’t get the right to vote until after movies started getting sound, that Japanese-Americans were put in interment camps under FDR, that the FBI under Hoover and the NSA under everyone else spied on citizens, that deficit spending has put this country at the financial mercy of many creditors, including China, and that yesterday a sitting president did nothing while attendees at his rally forcibly entered the United States Capitol. That said, with the systemic issues we have had with spending, with law enforcement, with military action, need to be addressed, and they need to be addressed now.
If we ever want to be a beacon of freedom, an oasis in a dessert of oppression, we need to fix these things. We need to hold politicians accountable. We need to get corporations out of government with campaign finance reform. We need to focus on law enforcement being helpful and trustworthy instead of a signal of fear. We need to spend money wisely on things that should be the purview of government, but we should not allow government to spend money on things that should not be within its purview. We should encourage lawmakers to pass rules limiting legislation to one subject matter to avoid earmarking, pork barreling, and otherwise adding unpopular caused to otherwise effective bills.
This doesn’t mean voting Republican or voting Democrat or voting Libertarian or Green or whatever. This means people taking a more active interest in the activities of their legislators. If you have a problem with a law that is proposed or passed, call your congressman. Hold them accountable. Make them answer your questions. If they don’t, then vote them out. And the best part is that if they are busy answering your calls, they won’t have as much time to screw up the country even further.
I believe in the United States of America, and it’s time to make the United States of America even more worth believing in.