If there’s been one common feature between the left and the right over the past decade, it’s that they all have an idea for what they want to see changed about the government. The specifics of those ideas depend on the particular ideological slant, but they all have a complaint with the way things are and “how it should be.” I’ve seen calls to abolish or restructure the Senate, change to a parliamentary system, changing birthright citizenship, gun ownership, balancing the budget, along with calls for a third party. Most of them come down to “we think we’re not getting our way,” and that a new form will get them that. It’s nothing new.
Tag Archives: Constitution
There was a recent report by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation that only 40% of Americans could pass a citizenship test. That’s the test we give to all people who are applying for citizenship, but not to those who were born here. That’s actually a slight improvement from previous results. I wish I could say I was surprised by that, but I’m not. In various internet forums and in person, I’ve run into a sizable number of people who have little clue about how government works and the history of this country. That would be disturbing enough in and of itself, but what is truly terrifying is the number of people who should know better, up to and including the President, who don’t.
One of the things about growing up in upstate New York is that you get to know a lot of Revolutionary War history, in particular the earliest battles of the war. New York’s nickname, “the Empire State” is because at that time, it held “the keys to the empire.” This makes sense if you realize that in the 18’th century, moving troops and supplies was a laborious task. Roads were poor or non-existent, so progress overland was time-consuming and difficult. To move heavy materials, troops, and other supplies quickly? The quickest way was by water. Look at a map of New York, and you have Lake Champlain and the Hudson River running North-South. From Albany, you have the Mohawk River running East-West. On the northern end of the state, you have the Saint Lawrence river, leading into Lake Ontario. If you were the British, and wanted to split the colonies, those routes were the key to splitting and breaking the Revolution.
In my end of year post, I talked about the rather numbing speed with which news, and not good news, came pouring out about President Trump. It made it rather tough to keep up, and it didn’t do much for my ability to blog about it. In that post, I said this:
I’ve lived through every administration since Eisenhower. I haven’t always liked who was President, and I can’t think of a single one whose policies or actions I’ve agreed with all the time. There were some where I didn’t agree with most of their policies. I’ve seen my fair share of scandals, and in case you didn’t guess, I was around for Watergate. But here’s the thing. In those 62 years, I’ve never seen the number, depth, and constant litany of lies and corrupt behavior I’ve seen from this President and his administration.
In a comment in a previous post, I talked about “misperception of risk.” This is a well-known phenomenon, where the perceived risk is either greater or lesser than the actual risk. One of the best examples is the “anti-vaxxer” movement, where people refuse vaccines because they fear various side effects. That the problems they fear are either non-existent (autism), or that the side effects of vaccines are minor and rare compared to having the actual diseases does not matter to them. In looking back over my blog posts over the years relating to Republican voters, there’s a constant theme: Fear. They’re afraid. They’ve been told for years that they need to be afraid, and that in order to protect themselves, they need to vote for Republicans to keep them safe. It’s covered up with various buzzwords and dog whistles, but boiled down to its essence, it’s “you should be afraid of this.” It may be fear of “different,” it might be fear of a loss of status, privileges, or some other fear, but there’s always a fear. But their fear doesn’t match the reality.