Power

Several previous posts have focused on the realities I have encountered in Washington, DC in the three years that I have been here.  Indeed, I feel like a stranger in a strange land.  This arena is supposedly focused on providing the greatest value for the citizens of this country.  More specifically, the goal is supposedly fostering a healthy, educated, and productive population that is competitive in the global market place?

However, it is clear that ideology and policy play very minor roles in this city.  Conservative versus liberal is a minor debate.   The role of government is a minor issue.  What really matters – actually all that matters – is who has power, particularly power to stymie any action in any direction other than those supporting the ruling party’s status quo priorities.

In fact, recent debates, highlighted by the current impeachment, are about who has power over power.  Who can dictate what is discussed and how it is discussed?  Who can obstruct consideration of important societal issues?  How can the division of the societal pie be skewed to benefit vested interests?

The compelling nature of evidence has become irrelevant.  The soundness of a line of reasoning is meaningless.  The “powers at be” want to benefit their sponsors and care little about the public in general.  The future of our society matters little compared to satisfying the interests of their sponsors.

These insidious behaviors are most evident in addressing the challenges of climate change.  The rising sea levels that will first affect Miami, then New Orleans, and then New York City are not on their agendas.  They are basking in the donations to their campaigns from the extractive industries.  Money today always trumps the future.

In fact, power today always trumps power tomorrow or any time in the future.  Societal damage is almost always a future to be discounted for it is not now. The future involves loss of industries, diminished opportunities, and bleak prospects that cause great anxiety.  However, this does not seem to change how we support those who pursue power.  They simply covet the ability to control our future.

Here is an idea. Let’s create a hall of fame or shame that highlights how people have positively or negatively affected society.  Make it a place where politicians’ descendants can see the true impacts of their forebears.  President X oversaw and supported the genocide of Native Americans.  President Y locked immigrant children in cages and denied them food and care.

We can show leaders for whom they really were.  Not leaders, not statesman, but craven, self-serving narcissists who cared for little but themselves.  Perhaps the hall of fame or shame can provide alternative means for substantially desecrating the reputations and memories of these leaders.  This could make it such that no descendant would ever admit to a relationship with such a curse upon humanity.

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