Changing the Sails

Mariner saw that the reconciliation bill in Congress is available for review and download. He was eager to scan through the document to have a sense of its direction. The first page of titles came on the computer screen. In small print it said the bill has 2,465 pages! Scanning this document would be like crossing the Atlantic Ocean one glass of water at a time. It is true that the reconciliation bill is a benchmark bill that if passed would shift the national philosophy in a direction that hasn’t been active since the early 1960s.

Despite the Vietnam War and the racial riots during the sixties, there was an air of emerging freedom and opportunity. This air of future happiness (it was called Camelot) faded quickly after JFK’s assassination in 1963 and died along with Bobby’s assassination in 1968. The 1968 election was as raucous as the 2020 election.

LBJ took over after the JFK assassination and pushed through the remaining key legislation (intended to build A Great Society) that in those days made exceptional progress for civil rights, tax cuts, Medicare and other liberal programs that haven’t been headline news until the current Presidency. When Lyndon did not run for a second term and diminished support for the Vietnam War, the war was doomed very much like Afghanistan today.

So the nation has come full circle. Shamefully, the nation has made little progress toward racial equality, has put back rich-friendly tax rates and now faces competition from the planet itself. Further, the third branch of government, the courts, is not the neutral arm it is supposed to be – despite Justice Breyer’s new book to the contrary[1]. The public trust of the courts has fallen into the 40 percent range. This is serious because the courts are the trusted ballast that prevents storm waves from coming over the gunnel and sinking the ship – something that destructive bias causes.

It is a hellish time, in the midst of a hurricane, to try to turn the sails toward a new image of nationhood. Mariner fears that the sails can’t be turned during the next several election cycles. The nation needs a new crew in Congress; the rudder of electoral representation is broken; the electorate is as clueless as the government at this point. In the midst of this hurricane is a tornado called climate change which will make current issues about immigration and housing seem like child’s play.

However, let’s hold onto hope that the electorate is tired of this crap and may surprise us in coming elections.

Ancient Mariner

[1] The Court and the World: American Law and the New Global Realities.

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