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The crisis

Thomas Payne

Thomas Payne

The following is a quote from the book “The American Crisis” by Thomas Payne that was written in the 18th century during the days of the American Revolution: “These are times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in case in this crisis, shrink from service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of men and women.”

It is very sad many people do not recognize the seriousness of the crisis we have in Michigan, and our country, or are stuck in the two-party mentality and believe the two-party system will resolve this crisis. I do not share their optimism.

The system is rigged so the only candidates who get support to run for high office are the ones who can rake in the most cash for themselves and their party. The system is rigged, much like a casino, to do the most good for the few, at the severe disadvantage of the many. And yet, the majorities of voters continue to vote for the party — rather than the person — that got us into this mess in the first place, and are compounding problems rather than fixing them.

The majority of the people with whom I have political discussions either believe our problems will eventually be resolved under the two-party system, or believe things have been this way for so long nothing can be done about it.

I respectfully disagree. Indeed, what we have now is, for all intents and purposes, the replacement of the rule of a distant king with the rule of home-grown kings and queens of the two-party political system. Nan Hayworth said, “If we can return to a government, that our founders in their wisdom envisioned for us, we can return to a government that will allow our economy to thrive again, and our people to live in liberty.”

Isn’t that what our country is supposed to be all about? Our founding fathers struggled with the notion of political parties. George Washington warned against their evils in his farewell address. Thomas Jefferson said “If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.”

So, what’s the deal with partisan gridlock? Politicians are so hamstrung by their own parties they can’t and won’t reach across the aisle and cooperate with their colleagues on the other “team.” Our entire system has devolved into an “us vs. them” paradigm.

Again, why? Because they are so desirous of money and credit, so dedicated to getting as many party seats filled as possible, and so deathly afraid of making the other party look good, that they can’t do anything together. Let’s face it: The solutions to our problems will take a long time, and the ping pong ball of “throw the bums out!” will bounce back and forth every election cycle.

For the United States to get back to economic prosperity, we need solutions that will take 10 and 20 years to execute. Much longer than one election cycle. What we have now is an endless array of over-correction. This must stop. Pragmatic, cooperative and problem-solving leaders must be sent to our local, state and national capitals to develop long-term solutions.

Perhaps sometimes it’s not a bad thing when governments can’t do anything. But in order for us to get back to long-term job growth, and to solve many of our other key problems, we need a new way and new leaders. People who are not bound 100 percent to work only within the confines of either Democratic or Republican beliefs. We need a movement that will elect leaders who can work with both sides to develop long-term, creative and pragmatic solutions.

Almost all candidates running for public office will claim to be entrepreneurial or enterprising, and hoping to bring innovative new ideas to the public sphere. But once elected, the reality of party dogma sinks in, and is a natural killer of creative thinking.

One of our biggest weaknesses is too many of us are not participating in the democratic process. For even one person not to participate, the democratic process is weakened. For even one person not to participate, weakens good leaders who care and want to lead in making positive changes.

Thomas Jefferson said, “The people have two enemies, criminals and government, so let us tie down the second with the chains of the Constitution, so that the second does not become a legalized version of the first.”

In many ways, we have let those chains rust from not using them, and many in our government are becoming, or have already become, legalized criminals. It is not too late to make changes for the better as long as we have a heartbeat and the will to effect change.

—Robin Sanders
Ann Arbor, Mich.

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