Fixing Our Broken Politics
Why Today’s Republicans Are Arguably The “RINO’s”
How To End Our Poisonous Political Culture That Punishes Consensus And Compromise
By Arthur Winter, The Lone Liberal Republican (not really, but sometimes it seems like it)
Our national motto is “E pluribus unum” (“Out of Many, One”), but should it instead now be “Sinere putrere” (“To allow to fester or rot”)?
Donald Trump is President, and the American nation is as divided as it can be. And as a result of the election, Democrats have joined much of the Republican establishment in benumbed disbelief.
Is there any future in consensus-oriented politics? Now is a good time to ask how the Trump phenomenon can contribute to fixing our broken politics.
This article will argue that a consensus-oriented political future lies in a laser-like focus on equality of opportunity, and an adherence to the best of what Ronald Reagan actually said and believed (as opposed to the ludicrous myths that have grown up around him), together with mining the rich vein of Liberal Republican politics that is part of the Republican Party’s proud history.
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If Lenin, Mao, Churchill and John F. Kennedy were to walk together down the streets of Beijing, Mumbai, Sao Paulo or Istanbul today, they would not argue for a nanosecond about who “won.” The world has become overwhelmingly a planet of people aspiring to live materially rich middle-class lives, where substantial personal liberty if not democracy is the norm, and where people believe that working hard will likely lead to a better future for them and their children. Much of today’s world more resembles America in the Fifties — with local cultures and modern technology — than the politically repressive, anti-capitalist places they were thirty years ago. These benefits have occurred on America’s global watch, and many of these benefits have come from ideas and policies for which America has been the chief proponent.
So why does almost no one in America feel like we have “won” anything in the last couple of decades? This should be obvious to everyone who witnessed the latest election. In America things have flatlined economically for many, and a perception that America’s power is in decline has provoked much anxiety. Frustration with the decay of America’s infrastructure has colored others’ perception of life in America (something President Trump promised to fix, and one may hope that both parties in Congress can start down a road back to consensus by doing so). A sense that there is an increasing disconnect between hard work and achievement also darkens people’s view of their and America’s future.
While it is commonplace to say that America is the land of opportunity, data increasingly demonstrates that we are not providing clear paths to upward mobility. This is in part because of developments in globalization and technology, but also in part because too often our politicians confuse equality of opportunity with equality of result. MANY more Americans will support proactive government policies that are laser focused on equality of opportunity rather than policies that seek to achieve equality of result. After all, the essence of the American Dream is the belief in equality of opportunity and that, with hard work, anyone in America can make a better life for himself or herself and for his or her children.