I went to Cardinal Spellman high school in the Bronx. In addition to being the alma matter of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor among other things it had a forensics team that competed nationwide.My senior year I was proud to say I was President of that forensics team. For 4 years I competed on the forensics team’s cross-ex debate team.To this day I credited my experience on that team as being a major part in the development of who I am today. The rules of cross-ex debate were simple enough if you were on the affirmative side of a debate you needed to show:
Significance of both the problem and that the benefit must be substantial enough to merit changing state or national policies affecting millions of people.
Inherency of the the problems cited must be inextricably connected to elements of the status quo are relatively enduring or are unique to the status quo or cannot be eliminated without reform to the status quo.
Plan that includes a concrete description of actions that will be taken to solve the problems cited in enough detail that the negative can understand and, potentially, criticize it.And finally
Solvency – present claims and ground to prove the benefits of the plan and that is it solves the problems cited.
If you were on the negative side of the debate you could win by proving through evidence that just one of the above was not true.
This I learned as a teenager. Sadly in today’s highest chamber of debate, Congress, none of this is practiced. Instead the debates have devolved into a I want, you can’t have, battle based not on facts and evidence and most importantly what’s good for the country but rather special interest and if you have a (D) or a (R) after your name. Adults elected by the populous acting more like children and having temper tantrums when they can’t get their way.
I’m thankful for the life lessons debate taught me I just wished the majority in Congress would share in those lessons.
How was it that Donald Trump, when all the exit polls showed otherwise, was able to capture the Presidency of the United States?
How is it that Donald Trump, when polls show he has one of the lowest approval ratings of all time, able to keep GOP politicians from revolting against him?
Why is it that Donald Trump has made such little effort to expand “his base” and seemingly is unconcerned about it?
I’m here to tell you it’s because of America’s dirty little secret. You see when we watch one of the many “campaign rallies” Trump held before the election and amazingly continues to hold after, at tax payer cost, we see what many liberals characterize as his base. Low income, poorly educated white males and females. Liberals see a stereotypical person they likely refer to as Billy Bob with a smirk and his wife sporting Make America Great Again hats, spewing hatred and fear against people of color. It’s why Trump constantly uses the wall and cherrypicks acts of violence and other criminal activities by immigrants in his speeches. Why he throws out lines like shithole countries. Liberals summarize Billy Bob is so poorly educated that he easily fooled by Trump because Trump appeals to their greatest fear. That they are losing a grip on “their” country.
But what Trump and the GOP know is there are a number of well educated, highly compensated, extremely polished individuals who deep down harbor the very same fears. They are Trump’s shadow base. They have friends who are people of color. They’re children play with your children. They are registered Democrats and they never ever say they like Donald Trump. In fact their social media is likely littered with posts you’ve liked denouncing Trump. But when they get behind that voting curtain and they are all alone they’re pulling the lever for Trump.
Why? Because way more than “Billy Bob” this was their country. White men of power had a long uninterrupted run of success in this country. They were the majority, ran all the big corporations and controlled the country’s politics. But then census data projected the US will become ‘minority white’ in 2045. More and more people of color began showing up in the executive lunch room and on the country club golf courses. Then the unthinkable happened Barack Obama won the Presidency. Not only did he win he and his family were looked at with the highest level of respect around the globe. It wasn’t so much about Obama’s politics, tough it would be naive to completely dismiss that, it was looking at a well educated, articulate man of color stand in front of the world as America’s leader. Sure there had been plenty well educated, articulate men and women of color in the spotlight before Obama but none had ever been President. Obama represented a glimpse into the future of this country and for some that was a frightening future
Now don’t get me wrong I don’t think the vast majority of white people are arming themselves and storing canned goods in preparation for the coming brown people apocalypse. In fact I’m more hopeful than ever that this country is headed in the right direction, if ever so slowly, with respect to race relations. But there are still a few dinosaurs out there who hide in plain sight fearful of the future. They’re America’s dirty little secret. They’re Trump’s shadow base and it would be best not to underestimate them again in 2020.
The surest way to control the narrative, to ensure that the few can control the thoughts and choices of the many through clever slogans and sound bites is to endeavor to keep the many ignorant.An uneducated society is the biggest threat to our democracy.The founding fathers understood this as Thomas Jefferson stated:
“Educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”
Public education has been under attack by some for many years now.Just last week The Washington Post reported that the Trump administration’s initial education budget would strip $10.6 billion from federal initiatives.Many of the cuts would disproportionately impact poorer school districts.Something the founding fathers would be dismayed at. John Jay was quoted as saying:
“ I consider knowledge to be the soul of a republic, and as the weak and wicked are generally in alliance, as much care should be taken to diminish the number of the former as of that latter. Education is the way to do this, and nothing should be left undone to afford all ranks of people that means of obtaining a proper degree of it at a cheap and easy rate.”
And John Adams wrote:
“The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves.”
Turning a blind eye to the dismantling of public education is to in essence relinquish our democracy over to the few who will continue to bamboozle the masses in order to maintain their wealth and power.
The problem with politics today is that the government is suppose to derive its power from the will of the people but we have essentially given up their authority. Having divided ourselves into two parties who no longer hold politicians accountable but blindly follow the sound bites of those in power based on if they have a (R) or a (D) after their name. Individuals who. have only a casual interest in educating themselves to maintain their wealth and power.
Let us take back our government by
Informing ourselves on the issues
Educating ourselves on the options
Holding our representatives accountable
Let us retake control of the government after all it is our government
The problem with American politics today
is that the government is suppose to derive its power from the will of the people but the people have essentially given up their authority. Having divided itself into two parties they no longer hold politicians accountable but blindly follow the sound bites of a few who look to obtain power as long as that individual claims are to represent their party. While simultaneously taking only a casual interest in truly educating itself on the issues of the day instead the majority of them allow their opinions to be molded by cable news personalities who profit by espousing the viewpoints of the politician on the side of their preferred viewers.
Inform yourself on the issues
Educate yourself on the options
Hold your representatives accountable
Take control of the government it is after all your government
The foundation of any great democracy is the
education of its citizens. For any democracy
to flourish its people must be knowledgeable
enough to comprehend the matters of
contention which are paramount to the well
being of the masses. Without an educated
populace democracy becomes nothing more
than an illusion to be manipulated to the will of the few.
There can be no doubt that we are a country divided. Sadly there can also be no doubt that much of this division is not based on an ideology by the people on what is best for the people of this country but rather what letter follows your name, (R) or (D). We have become more concerned with ensuing our “team” wins rather than educating ourselves on the issues and how it will impact us. This mentality has led to a blind allegiance to those in power. We have ceded the very government we so proudly hold dear to a few hundred individuals who profit on our ignorance. Our desire to have our “team” win means the powerful does not even need to hide their deception they do it right in front of us for as it was once said “The eyes are useless when the mind is blind.” The more the masses allow their minds to blinded the easier it is to manipulated them. They simply follow their “team” nodding in agreement with whatever decisions it makes. This thinking removes any sense of accountability from those in power as Albert Einstein commented “Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” For any democracy to effectively govern for the good of the citizens it represents those citizens must become informed about issues that can improve their lives. In many countries around the world the government has taken away the will of its people. We seemingly have made the conscious decision to abdicate it to a small percentage of the rich and powerful depending on what letter they have behind their name. We can not continue to allow our government to be dependent on political ignorance and blind allegiance for it will surely lead to our downfall as one of the greatest experiments ever endeavored – a government of the people, by the people, for the people.