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: Republican Party
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 long-time dreams of Republicans was to overhaul the tax code. They finally got their chance to do so in 2017, and rushed it through Congress. It cut the tax rate for businesses and they made a big show of how much more people would get in their paychecks, now that all those terrible tax dollars the “Tax and Spend” Democrats were wasting. Even though various economists, tax experts, and, of course, Democrats, were pointing out that the cuts for businesses weren’t needed, and that the economy didn’t need stimulus, it didn’t matter. They rushed it through, and tried desperately to run on it in the 2018 election, to avoid being tied to an increasingly unpopular President.
We are now in a record government shutdown, and it looks like it will continue for a while. The reason? A “wall” which objectively is unnecessary, a President who boxed himself in, and a Senate Majority Leader too spineless to put budget bills to a vote, because he doesn’t want to override a veto. The news is full of the problems federal workers face either being out of work with no pay, or worse, having to work without pay. The national media focuses on the easily available stories in Washington and other large cities, but it’s national in scope. But that’s not the only bad news.
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.