Most of the issues that divide us,
that are dividing peoples and nations, world wide, might be thought of as those between reactionaries and progressives, between those who hold political views that favor a return to a previous political state of society possessing now terribly weakened characteristics such as discipline, two parent families, respect for authority etc. and progressives, those favoring and promoting reform and the expansion of civil liberties, reforms often supported if not initiated by actions of the government.
Reactionaries would keep things as they are, or were, and progressives would promote change, and the need for change, because change will happen with or without our active participation, and we’re probably all better off by participating in the changes, rather than resisting them.
Among the number of my important issues there are those that I have either written about already, such as inequality, or won’t write about now because for me they are non-issues, such as the litany of social issues, — including gun ownership and control, abortion and birth control, single sex marriage, and other such, these being those very issues that seem to have the loudest and most energetic part of the Republican Party , aka as the Tea Party, in their thrall.
Nor will I write about global warming, or the protection of the environment as I pretty much accept what science says about both and have nothing substantial to add to the discussion. Nor will I write about the stupendous size of the national debt, or the power of the corporations over the government in Washington. Also I’m not smart enough to boil them down into something manageable.
There follow here and in subsequent blogs the issues about which I will have something to say. If you do continue to read you’ll understand that my issues are best thought of as oppositions between reactionary and progressive forces, between Left and Right, between liberal and conservative views, between the extremists of both political parties.
I put myself in the center, between the opposing viewpoints. And I trust that our presidential election will eventually be between candidates also in the Center, between Hillary, say, center/left and Kasich or???, center right. The question marks because where is the Republican center, and who are the moderates? Are there any among the Republicans, so heavily loaded as they now are with far right and reactionary candidates, if not shallow, narrow, and ignorant opportunists and crowd pleasers, not even up to the level of demagogues? Who among the Republicans is truly in the Center? Perhaps in addition to John Kasich there are only the now crippled and probably irrecoverable candidacies of Chris Christie and Jeb Bush?
- Islam is first on my issue list because our President is still sending our young men to die in the Middle East. The subject of course is huge, much beyond my capacity to grasp. Does anyone have a grasp of all that’s happening in the Middle East? Both Iraq and Syria are now almost without functioning borders. Perhaps if we could ask him the Princeton professor, Bernard Lewis, would know what it’s all about. For a long time he has been recognized at “the most influential postwar historian of Islam and the Middle East,” (next May he will turn 100!).
But our recent presidents as evidenced by their having involved us in seemingly interminable and unwinnable wars in the area, and who may or may not have read Lewis, seem to have little or no grasp of the lands and peoples where they are sending our young men and women.
William Saletan of Slate Magazine summarizes the situation nicely and probably comes close to what Lewis himself probably said countless times about Islam:
“Islam is wreaking havoc not because it is inherently more violent than Judaism or Christianity but because it is younger. It has decades of self-destructive warfare ahead. Eventually, the carnage will teach Muslims what it taught Jews and Christians. We learn the hard way.”
Neither George Bush nor Barack Obama seems to have grasped the idea that the Middle East has “decades of self-destructive warfare ahead.” Why did we go there, why are we still there?
- Second on my list is Democracy. I have many questions regarding our democracy. Do we even have a democracy when a few powerful corporations and several hundred mega-wealthy individuals control hundreds of millions in PAC monies, as well as the actions of our representatives in Washington who generally do the bidding of those with the power and money while pretending to be the principal movers themselves of the domestic and foreign agendas of the country.
It may be true that Democracy no longer has rivals, that it alone is still standing, but isn’t Ira Katznelson right when he says, “that democracy’s capacity to be fair and make good policy faces pervasive skepticism.”
Or is it rather, as Hélène Landemore says in reply to Katznelson in the same BRB, that it’s not democracy but representative government that is now in question? I would agree with Landermore that it’s representative government that faces widespread skepticism. ‘We may have democracy,” says Louis Brandeis, “or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”
To be continued