Updated: Dec 7, 2020
“All we want are the facts, m’am. Just the facts…”
Anyone remember that well-worn quote? Well, no surprise if you didn’t. It was emblematic of a hardboiled Los Angeles PD detective on the 1950’s TV series ‘Dragnet.’ There wasn’t a single episode wherein Sergeant Joe Friday didn’t demand ‘the facts, just the facts.’
Seventy years later and we have ‘alternate facts.’
What are ‘alternate facts?’ Alternate facts are lies. Americans have developed the uncanny ability to get their minds around two diametrically opposed thoughts at the same time. 2 + 2 no longer make 4, especially when our political and religious leaders insist otherwise. If you believe
anything spewing from the lectern of Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Kellyanne Conway, Kayleigh McEnany, or any other White House mouthpiece, then you are living in the world of alternate facts and no friend of Joe Friday.
Nonetheless, in the run-up to the November 2020 national election, here are some indisputable, if inconvenient, Dragnet-worthy ‘facts.’
First fact is that American political contributions are the highest in the world.
Second fact is that American voter turn-out is among the lowest in the world, and in some instances the lowest.
These 2 facts understandably lead to the conclusion that American leaders will always prioritize the interests of their own private and corporate donors over those of their constituents. Unsurprisingly, We the People – a significant number of whom can’t be bothered to visit the polls – know that ‘Donor’ equates with ‘Owner.’ Hence, what should be equated with ‘Judgement Day’ becomes a cynical joke. Instead of a measure of accountability underpinning the once-held notion ‘Of the People, By the People, and For the People,' American elections are a thieves’ paradise and November 2020 is shaping up to be history’s most noteworthy.
And there’s an equally inconvenient third fact: On average, American politicians stay in office longer than the vast majority of monarchs anywhere in the world, with the rare exception of the venerable Queen Elizabeth II. The average age of a member of the House is 58 years while the average senator is 64 years-old. Representative Don Young of Alaska is 87 years-old and has served 24 terms, as if Alaskans were so busy building igloos and fleeing polar bears they'd forgotten all about this fossil in Congress.
Once in office, American politicians dig in, staying entrenched for decades, often out of touch with the realities in their own districts and developments in the rest of the world. If you think this is an ‘alternate fact’ then consider that 155 years after Emancipation and the 13th Amendment, we’re still struggling with the idea that Black Lives Matter. Most developed countries (Canada, UK, the European Union) enjoy universal free health care and free university tuition based on merit. These countries have also banned guns. The USA enjoys none of these benefits because its Congress doesn’t represent the people it was intended to serve but instead is beholden to gun manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, and a monstrous corporate-based healthcare system. Most representatives are long enough in the tooth to even remember when the USA wasn't a Fascist state but don't care so long as their seats are guaranteed via the donor network.
Benito Mussolini, the undisputed patron saint of Fascism, said: “Democracy is beautiful in theory but in practice, it is a fallacy. You in America will see that someday. Democracy is nothing but a kingless regime infested by many kings who are sometimes more exclusive, tyrannical and destructive than one, even if he be a tyrant.” In our current situation and run-up to the November 2020 election, it’s impossible to dispute that observation.
Here are a few suggestions:
Abolish electoral districts. Establish House and Senate representation based on the actual number of constituents in each state. This will ensure that adherents to political parties and special interest groups outside the traditional Democrat and Republican parties have a say in government. Representatives will suddenly have an incentive to be honest, that is, they will fear for the loss of their seats if all Congressmen/women represent ALL the constituents in their state, not just a particular district. They will be forced to work together for the people. ‘Accountability’ will come back into the American lexicon. Like I said: Election Day = Judgement Day.
Place limits on, or entirely ban, political contributions. It’s well understood that, with few exceptions, to become a politician in the USA one needs to be rich or at least have very rich friends. A case in point, Donald J. Trump pledged to fund his 2016 campaign entirely out of his own pocket, without accepting any political donations. This was the ‘alternate fact.’ The real fact is that this boast turned out to be a smoke screen for Trump’s actual stealing from his donors via his own campaign fund.
Place spending limits on political advertising. A soapbox in the town square is no longer the place where ideas are propagated, and information disseminated. We live in a digital age where townhalls happen online. People are no longer isolated as they were in 18th century America. Everyone has access to social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where they can disseminate their own political views free of cost. The will of the people is not served when only big $$$ interests enjoy access to nation-wide advertising. Mike Bloomberg has the power to turn the November 2020 election in any direction he pleases, simply by virtue of his vast wealth. So far, Bloomberg is a Biden-Harris supporter, but what if he were to cross the floor? And why IS Bloomberg a Biden supporter? Only because the fake-millionaire Donald J. Trump is an embarrassment to the nation’s wealthy 1%, the social class for whom Bloomberg is spokesperson.
Enforce the Hatch Act. Elected and appointed government officials, employees, and contractors are expressly prohibited from using government resources and facilities for political purposes. No more GOP conventions on White House grounds. A former call girl (unproven) and gold digger (obvious) should not be haranguing GOP convention attendees in the White House Rose Garden dressed in a Soviet Army uniform (please see www.francescorizzuto.com/post/defending-melania).
Turf out ineffective, career politicians, sycophants and political retreads. It’s well known that House Speaker Pelosi’s family members hob-nob around Mar-a-Lago with the Trump Gang. She's third in line for the Presidency after Mike Pence. Voters need to ask why, when Pelosi and her party had the power to enforce all those snubbed subpoenas, they didn’t. Well, I’ll tell you why. It was because there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans. Their objectives are exactly the same, that is, to retain their own seats in the Congress by maintaining the status quo 'in perpetuity.' And when a nation of 350 million cannot field better presidential candidates than Trump and Biden, well, go figure. Aren’t there ANY qualified younger, competent, and honest people out there? Obviously, there are.
Abolish the Electoral College. Barak Obama once pointed out that America’s is essentially a single-party system wherein two squads from the same team pass the ball back and forth every four to eight years. It’s an Old Boys Club. The Electoral College ensures that it stays that way but, again, basing representation on population, not districts, will change that and eliminate the rationale for an Electoral College. Here is the root cause of America’s problems: the fundamentals are all wrong. A nation predicated on racism, bigotry and greed, wherein all the power bases are purchased by the wealthy for career politicians can never overcome the social pressures that are literally burning it to the ground because America’s problems are systemic.
Look into your hearts. Do you really think that a society wherein manhood/womanhood is validated by gun ownership, where there are more firearms in private hands that there are people, and where disputes - both domestic and international - are ultimately settled through violence; where one never knows if their children will return home from school in a bus or a box; where a burned-out tail light when ‘driving while Black’ can get you killed by a poorly educated, racist police officer; and where the country’s education system is among the worst in the world in terms of academic achievement in the sciences (26th globally, Finland is No. 1), and where a week’s stay in hospital can wipe out your entire life savings and home equity, is worth living in? I won’t offer references. Go to the internet if you need validation. Or just check your own gun cabinet.
I don’t expect readers to accept any of the above premises holus bolus, but please consider them. Our education system didn’t teach us critical thinking skills. Or any thinking skills. But that doesn’t relieve us of the responsibility for making the best possible decisions and taking responsibility for those decisions, right or wrong. The American system cries out for fundamental change but for that to happen there needs to be the will, as well as the skills, to change it.
And the last ‘fact’ on offer is that the American Passport has become invalid practically everywhere in the world. This country’s poor response – or rather, non-response – to the Covid-19 pandemic has compelled all the major nations of the world to close their borders to us. Like everything else in the USA, this Administration has put a racist spin on what is a global health crisis. Instead of building a wall between Mexico and the USA, the rest of the world has built a wall around us. They don’t want us and our problems. They laugh at our clownish President and the pitiful antics of his despicable 'base.' They fear our military might and economic retaliations like innocent children fear a schoolyard bully.
Unlike the Allies did for the Germans during WWII, other nations will not rescue us from our own bad decisions, our own mistakes, our own folly, and from the degeneration of our democracy into Fascism and the police state that we know is already here. November 3 will have no direct effect whatsoever on that reality. America’s problems are too profound for jingoism and flag-waving, and certainly no cause for celebration.
Think about this. Then vote as if November 3 were Judgement Day.
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