According to the play & movie, 1776 Mr. Stephen Hopkins of Rhode Island said of the issue of Independence, “Well, in all my years I ain't never heard, seen nor smelled an issue that was so dangerous it couldn't be talked about. Hell yeah! I'm for debating anything. Rhode Island says yea!”
While we settled the issue of our Independence long ago we face many other issues that are nevertheless in need of a debate. It’s understandable that partisan politics will be at work on both or even all sides if there are more than two. But we must not be afraid to talk about them in open for all to see.
Some may not seem like the most important thing to spend time on such as, should schools offer more free time or teach sex education or demand teachers carry guns?
I have my beliefs, but I am sure many have opposing views and that’s fine. We can debate and if we listen calmly to all ideas and thoughts we may just come up with a fair and equitable answer.
Let’s examine an issue from the recent past that is sadly still causing divisiveness in our government.
Can anyone deny the fact that in the past many coal miners developed a life-threatening condition commonly known as black lung disease and that many if not all of them eventually died. Can we also agree that those with occupations in the field of, say farming never or rarely came up with this ailment? If so, then it will not take a huge leap of intelligence to conclude that black lung disease should be associated with coal mining.
Once the issue is decided we can then deal with the prevention of the problem. However, continue to refuse the idea that black lung disease has anything to do with coal mining and we are condemning workers in those mines to a painful and unnecessary death.
Why would we do something as inhumane as that?
For one thing there is or was a mother lode of money to be made by the owners of coal mines. It was necessary for the mines to remain open, free and clear of too many regulations that could strangle their profitability. Mine owners knew this all too well. So rather than lose most of their profits they used a portion of them to lobby, or bribe lawmakers into leaving them alone.
This is what’s known as a win-win-lose scenario in which the owners keep most of their profits, our leaders in Congress get large donations for their upcoming campaigns and workers die.
Clearly two of the three factions involved are happy with this outcome. The trick then becomes how do you sell it to the third group?
That’s where ‘dark money’ funded advertising comes in.
First, start by marketing your product as warm and fuzzy and necessary for the American way of life. To wit: Coal gives us ‘clean energy!’ In fact, we only deal in ‘Clean Coal!’
Then you vilify those who are trying to save the workers’ lives as lily livered liberals hell bent on destroying your livelihood, namely your jobs.
Congress could then insidiously allow some small regulation to go into effect and owners could respond by laying off some workers further cementing the idea that regulations demanded by the liberals will in fact ruin your lives.
The effect of this full court press against safety is the workers rallying together to vote against the politicians trying to save their lives. In other words, the people vote against their own best interest!
So let’s go back to the beginning and wonder what would happen if leaders on both sides of the Congressional aisle were to discuss the matter calmly and without partisanship. Suppose they did not allow or could not take money, or if we call it what it really is, bribes from one side of an issue. Scientific fact and medical certainties would enter into the discussion and lives would not be lost. Who knows, the leaders might even realize the future futility of coal mining and come up with ways to retrain some coal miners for work in other industries.
Oh wait, I seem to remember a candidate for President who suggested just that and was destroyed by a partnership of mine owners and their bought and paid for politicians.
There are so many issues we must deal with today that are equally as life threatening but with much further reach such as climate change, which threatens the entire planet.
One side says humans are causing this and points to at least 97% of scientists and experts in the field who agree as proof.
However, the other side agrees with their friends in the fossil fuel industry that the whole matter is a hoax. They, like their brethren in the coal mining fight are happy to close their eyes to the real and present danger of inaction while accepting favors to help them stay in office to do nothing but collect salaries. They realize the odds of climate change affecting their longevity is slim, so they don’t mind kicking this can down the road before they themselves kick the can.
If there is no open debate without partisan factions getting involved, we the people of Earth will continue down the path of destruction.
If the oxymoronic Citizens United rule remains in effect dark money will continue to flow into the coffers of Congressional nay-sayers and do-nothings.
And while the nation’s collective attention is being deflected and occupied 24/7 by the childish rants of a former reality show host and long-time multiple failed businessman our future hangs in the balance.
The following are some of the issues in need of a rational bi-partisan debate in Congress. These, like many others, are being ignored or pushed in one direction by and in favor of ‘Big Business’ and corporate interests by the current GOP majority.
Our Educational System
Real Tax Reform
Any one of the above could spell disaster for a large portion of society.
Sadly, those of us affected do not have the monetary power of a partisan lobbyist to demand action.
But collectively we have something almost as powerful as a bribe and that’s called our vote!
If history has shown us anything it is that one political party has been on the wrong side of every issue noted above.
The only way we can fix the mess they have gotten us into is to remove them from power before it’s too late! We can no longer trust the GOP with our lives.
Let's bid a fond 'Blue Wave' farewell to the Repub Party.
This November and every November from now on use your head and vote your own best interest: