Most of this letter got written at 2:30 in the morning on 1/8/2021. I couldn't sleep because my mind was trying to make sense of the events that transpired on Capital Hill on 1/6/2021.
I've come to realize that we have all now seen the writing on the wall. There is no denying it, the message couldn't be clearer. The question is, are our leaders and us getting the message? Because if you don't get it, we are all going to continue to suffer, and these types of events will become more common, and who knows where it will lead. Maybe a military state, maybe the collapse of our democracy? I urge you to deeply consider what I am about to say. And let me say that I'm not here to bash Trump or his opponents nor am I hear to defend him. I'm only looking at the events to try and understand them and figure out where we need to go next as a united country.
While everyone is arguing about should Trump be impeached, or should the 25th Amendment be invoked, Trump this Trump that, I believe we are missing the point. We're loosing sight of the big picture. Lets step back, from our outrage, hurt, anger and fear, and ask a basic question that needs to be asked and answered. That is, why did Trump get elected in the first place? Or better yet, what does his rise to the office of the President say? What's the message there? Because like it or not, it happened, and all the wishing in the world will not make it go away. So, we had better understand it.
Over the last few months, via court battles, and numerous challenges, we seem to have established that our elections are fair and free. I know there are people who still doubt that, and I can see there's a lot of room for improvement, but if we focus only on this, we're still missing the big picture. As far as we can tell, in 2016 Trump was elected, fairly and freely and according to the rules that govern elections in the US. How did he do that?
His main platforms were, "drain the swamp" and "make America great again". It's certainly a message that no other politician was giving, that government was a swamp and America has lost it's greatness. These were not things that were said in dark corner, Trump mentioned them every chance he got. Most politicians would probably consider it political suicide to say something like that, let alone think you could win a presidential election talking like that.
But clearly, a large portion of the voting population (63 million in 2016, and 74 million in 2020, ) agree with the message, that the US government is a swamp that needs draining and that America is not the great country that it once was. And these voters put their trust in a non-politician to try to change that. Trump said it, it resonated, and people followed.
In the 2020 debates Trump told Biden something along the lines of, I'm here because you did a lousy job, you (meaning Obama and Biden) ran this country into the ground. That's why he, a businessman, not a career politician, ran for office in 2016. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans, nor independents could come up with a better candidate, and certainly not one that would be willing to say that they were going to clean up government.
We have a choice now. We can say Trump and the 74 million people who voted for him are wrong; there's no problem with our government and our country is great and these people need to be silenced (I hope you see how ridiculous that would be), or we say Wow! half the voting population of the US sees government as a swamp and has lost faith in this country, we better figure out what's going on and fix it. I don't know about you, but I think the message is clear. We need reform and we need to fix a bunch of stuff.
Think about that for a minute. The reality is that Trump is not the problem, he is a symptom of the bigger problem; he is only a messenger. He has delivered the message, from tens of millions of people, even more in 2020 than 2016, that we are fed up with government and politics as usual and we need reform. If government doesn't get this message, if we don't get this message, Trump, or someone like Trump, will be back again. And next time it may not stop with the breach of Capital Hill.
Recently an executive from one of the major networks Tweeted that getting rid of Trump is easy, but his followers will be the difficult one's, that they need to be "cleansed". As if 74 million people are just completely wrong and need to be convinced of just how wrong they are. I wonder how deep this kind of attitude runs in our country.
Really, is that how the civilized world handles their differences? Do we cleanse those that disagree with us? Actually, the sad fact is that it's exactly how things have been handled throughout history. Two sides disagree and one side attempts to wipe out or cleanse the other. But we can't keep doing that.
You can't just ignore 74 million people, whether their candidate won or lost. All 74 million can't be wrong, just like all 76 million of Biden's voters can't be right. The wise thing to do would be to better understand each other and find some common ground, and a way to restore faith in government and this country, by fixing the problems that exist. Can you satisfy everyone? Probably not, but if I were in government, and I knew that nearly half of the voting public is dissatisfied with the way things are going, I would be really worried, and working diligently to understand and address their concerns.
I spent most of my career in project management. What's a project? It's a goal, it's something you want to accomplish; build a house, start a business, build a bridge, start a non-profit to help the elderly, or even improve how government works.. many things in life can be approached as a project. Here's the thing, project fail all the time, for various reasons, but the two biggest reasons are that there is no clear definition up front about what needs to be accomplished and the other is that everyone who has an interest in the project is not in agreement about what needs to be accomplished and how. If you're trying to run a project where half the people are in disagreement about what needs to be accomplished or how it should be done, you are doomed. That's it. You're just doomed. You will never get to where you need to go. One of the most critical aspects of getting something accomplished is making sure everyone is on the same page. That there is agreement. If there are even one or two people on the project that don't agree, you had better figure out why, and you had better find a solution or middle ground. Because if you don't, you are doomed. Don't even bother starting.
Now the world doesn't work exactly like that, especially in government. People do have opposing views, and not everyone will agree, and you can't make everyone happy. But if what you're doing is making half the people unhappy, we had all better take the time to listen more than talk and come together and figure out our differences, or we are doomed. I was reminded the other day, "A house divided against itself can not stand." Absolutely. We are not alone. We do not stand alone. And if we fall, we all fall together. We will all be losers.
Recent events have been a wake-up call to everyone, government and civilians alike. What are you going to do? Is it going to be politics and bickering, and finger pointing, as usual, or are we going to take to heart the message that's being sent? Because we have no one to blame for the current state of our country but ourselves, and we'll have no one to blame, but ourselves, if it gets worse. Because no one can now say that they didn't know. From the events that have transpired, it's clear we are on the wrong path.
We all need to take personal responsibility, and show others respect, to insure we are acting in a way that is conducive to healing this country. Respect each others views, and don't get bent out of shape and all offended just because someone has a different view. Our politicians in particular need to accept the message that we need reform and they need to do a better job of taking care of all the people, understand their needs, and fix the major problems in our society, and help people with the healing process. Whether you label yourself Democrat, Republican, or something else, it just doesn't matter at this point. If true reform doesn't come, and if more people don't feel like the government is addressing their needs, we will continue to spiral downward.
Again, the message is clear, half the voting public in this country has lost faith in the government and as a whole the country is not what it use to be. Things need fixing.
Now, I'm sure everyone has their list of issues that are near and dear to their heart. But, I think the question needs to be, what issues affect the most people, and what issues effect the most compromised, and what can we do to fix those first? Government needs to agree on the list, based on input from all the citizens, get the list prioritized, and start knocking it off.
This is my contribution to the list, nothing more nothing less. In no particular order. You can agree or disagree with me, and I respect that, we still live in a free country.
1. To be elected as president of this country you have to be a millionaire and spend millions. Isn't part of the American dream that anyone could grow up to be president? Is that how it is? It's not, but it should be.
2. We are back in the days of taxation without representation. It's bewildering how many different ways government comes up with to tax common people. In general, taxes just keep going higher and higher. Government keeps getting bigger and bigger and it's appetite for taxes just keeps growing. When I earn money it's taxed, I spend money it's taxed, I make money on my money it's taxed, I run a business it's taxed, I give money to someone it's taxed, when I get money from social security (which I paid as a tax) it is taxed, when I die if there's anything left over, it's taxed. It's double, and triple taxation. The tax codes take volumes. Government constantly has their hands in the people's pockets. What makes government think they are entitled to do that? Who gave them the right? Every citizen has to look at the money they earn, and curb their spending accordingly, budget accordingly. Government on the other hand puts together a budget with all their pet projects and then raises taxes to satisfy it. If the government wants to print money, go ahead and print it, but don't look to the citizens to fill the holes that you create. How about we figure out ways to reduce taxes?
3. Pet projects. There are more pet projects than there are politicians. Until basic needs of most citizens are taken care of, kill the pet projects and focus that money where it's needed.
4. Special interest groups, corporations and lobbyists have too much power to influence government, even though they do not represent the majority. This has not always been the case and it has to stop.
5. The government gives themselves raises even when other people are struggling. Who else can do that? They have different medical care than everyone else, at no cost. How can those in government possibly relate to the majority of voters when they don't live like them and don't understand them?
6. Student Loans and education. The financial system burdens the young of our country with hundreds of thousands of dollars of student loans by the time they are out of college. And they get charged high interest rates even when other loan rates are significantly lower. Many countries poorer than the US provide free education to their young adults. What is our excuse for not taking a lesson from them to also provide free education? Clearly it can be done and it would be of benefit to the economy and the country. There's no excuse for not having it. Get rid of the debt that is there and provide free education. We can spend billions when we need to bail out airlines and banks and failing corporations, but we can't help the young people, who are the future of this country. There is no excuse for that.
7. Social Security and Medicare. Lately any time I read something about it, there's talk about how the accounts will become insolvent within 15 years or less. How many billions has government taken out of these funds over the years for other purposes? Why isn't proper management of these funds a priority?
8. Healthcare. Again, many countries poorer than the US are able to provide free healthcare to their citizens. There is no excuse. We are richer, we have more resources, we should have it. No one is buying the argument that taxes are higher in countries that do provide free healthcare. When you take into account our taxes, and what we pay out of pocket for premiums, deductibles, medication, our costs are significantly higher. People go bankrupt paying for medical bills. That should never happen.
9. Big Pharma, health, and GDP (Gross Domestic Product). The cost of health care should never be counted as part of GDP, because then the sicker the population is, the better the GDP looks. The cost of healthcare, as we call it, should probably be subtracted from GDP. Than we would know the true cost of our population getting sicker and sicker and more dependent on drugs every day. Big Pharma stands in the way of a healthy US population. Through their lobbying and borderline and blatant bribery of medical professionals and health institutions they prevent the truth about health to be disseminated. And they have to be held responsible for damage that their medications do.
10. The food industry. We have to stop messing with nature. Food that is naturally grown, without chemicals, is healthier. The use of chemicals and additives in our food and to grow our foods is making everyone sick. The FDA and other agencies that are supposed to be looking out for the health of the nation need to step up and tell chemical companies to cease and desist, and tell the American people what's really making them sick. Companies that are pushing foods which cause health issues should not be allowed to advertise, just like cigarette companies. Stop listening to the industry lobbyists who care about nothing but profits.
11. People need more of a direct voice in the decisions that are being made in government. In today's world of computers and cell phones, with three level authentication, fingerprint security, and voice recognition, would it be so difficult to have a system where people could vote on major issues, bills, tax proposals, etc.. so that a representative knows exactly where his voters stand on the subject, instead of presuming he/she knows, before voting on something. Put the power back in the hands of the people. In fact this whole fiasco of accusations of voter fraud could be eliminated with a properly secured voting system setup. Establish minimal fail-safe requirements for voting, to insure that no one can ever say again that we're sending ballots to dead people. Electing officials that operate in the Federal government is a Federal matter and needs Federal guidance.
12. Funding and the wealth gap. The next obvious question is, how does government fund free education, free medical, better social security, etc.? As I said, there are poorer countries than the US who provide these programs. Go benchmark them, learn from them, get their input on how to do it. I'm sure we can figure it out with their help. Or are we really so arrogant that we don't think we can learn anything from other countries. The gap between rich and poor keeps growing and it's grown even further during this COVID crises. Action has to be taken to level the playing field. All that money is earned on the backs of the working people at hourly wages or relatively low salaries. There are only mega rich because there are mega poor. The millionaires and billionaires should be taxed and billions need to be put back into the community from which they were taken. We need to help the people who make that wealth possible for the top 1%; and that's everybody else.
13. The media. There is something wrong with much of the main stream media in this country. They are biased, inflammatory, and sensationalistic. When did the news agencies stop just reporting the facts and start spewing inflammatory opinions, pushing agendas, and in general causing polarization among the citizens. One could say that the media is more powerful than anyone in Congress or even the president. They literally make policy with how they cover world events. We don't need their opinions and commentaries. What we need is facts and events being reported. We're going to pass a bill to control gender based language in Congress? How about we pass a bill that prevents news outlets from using opinionated inflammatory language when reporting the news.
These are just major things that I see. The solution to some of these problems is difficult. But these problems and others need to be solved. Even solving two or three of these problems would go a long way to instilling some confidence that government really is for the people. But don't take my word for it, look for yourself. Government should get the input of the voters, the common people, not the rich, the lobbyists and the corporate leaders. They do not represent the majorities views. Find out why tens of millions of people are fed up with government. Your future, the future of the people, and the future of our country depends on it. Take action while there is still time, before more people become disenfranchised, and we become a police state. Then it won't matter who's a Republican or a Democrat, because we'll all be prisoners in our own country.
Thank you for your time.