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Democracy?

Clearly we have a problem here. But we have misidentified the cause... sort of. We have a minority of people in our country with a majority of the power. Naturally, those with the money make the rules, so of course. But that's not what I am talking about. I'm talking about those who are seeing their historic majority shrink to the point that it is no longer a majority. Folks who are accustomed to thinking democracy and getting their own way are the same. Those who would wrap themselves in the flag and call themselves patriots while doing everything they can to keep those who disagree with them from voting. Confusing patriotism and democracy with getting their own way.

Most folks want their own way, that's understandable. There is no judgment coming from me on that issue. But if the way we resolve everyone trying to get their own way is violence or chaos, then none of us are safe and our society simply fails. There are many ways that have been established to allow many of us to get our own way on societal issues. Here in the United States we have decided upon a representative democracy where everyone gets a voice in the decision making process. Our Constitution claims that everyone is supposed to have an equal voice but then there are some things rigged into the system that insure those who live in more rural places get a greater say so. This is likely because our founding fathers were mostly wealthy land owning farmers and they could not help being a little biased. Regardless of the reasoning, this flaw has helped contribute to a lot of the problems we have today.

The tradition we have established in this country is that some folks can and should be able to have a greater voice in the decisions made. Those folks who are caucasian have become accustomed to that group being them. To the point, currently, that participation equals majority and any outcome besides the white population getting any result besides being the majority is unpatriotic and nondemocratic. Yes, the habit of almost always being the majority has caused those who are so spoiled by it to somehow transpose and mix up the definition of what democracy is actually meant to be: (MAJORITY RULES), to instead mean, if white folks all show up and participate they automatically get their way. And yet, to listen to most republicans it is the very majority of voters who oppose them and defeat them in the contests we call elections, that are the non patriots. The majority of votes it seems is only a just and fair validation for getting your way if you are white and/or republican. And why not? Our electoral college and the way we distribute Senate seats insures that states comprised mostly of large land owners in rural communities get a lopsided portion of the Senate seats. (Not much gets done without the Senate). Those rural communities lean strongly republican. It's almost as if the republicans feel justified because the land should be voting, not the people.

This "tradition" of getting their way despite being outnumbered has recently begun to shift. Finally a large enough majority of other races and demographics have managed to offset the built in disparity woven into our Constitution. Like any group beginning to lose it's grip on power, the republicans are doing whatever can be done to hold on to it. Not because they are evil. Only because they are human and all humans want to have things their way. If the shoe were on the other foot the Democrats would be reacting in the same way. But it's not. The efforts of the republicans to start a formal "Apartheid" here in the US. by using voter suppression, attempting to thwart or intentionally misinterpret the law and even open revolt are all natural results of a power shift from those accustomed to being in charge and losing their grip on power.

How do we fix this you ask? We start having conversations with our fellow citizens again. Start reminding the other side of how much we all have in common. Help remove the fear they have when they imagine us dictating the rules to them. Make them see that the differences in how they would rule and how we do is so very similar. Get out from behind your screen and your locked front door and go talk to people about "uncomfortable things". Find the common ground that exists between us all and help them realize what unites us is far greater than what divides us. Maybe help yourself learn that lesson a little better as well. Get rid of the R's and the D's and just have a conversation about issues and problems that beset our society and realize we all want basically the same things and only disagree slightly on how to get to the solutions we all want. Help us all start seeing neighbors and fellow citizens as human beings, not the enemy. I truly believe a lack of understanding the other person's or people's point of view and reasoning is the source of most conflict in this world. When we understand the concerns of our fellow human beings we are better able to accommodate their concerns so that the rules we make to govern society take those positions into consideration. We could stop being so polarized and stop being so fearful of the "awful" things the other side is going to do when they are in charge. Wouldn't it be nice to have an election where "your way of life and your fundamental beliefs" won't be whisked away if the other side wins? Let's fix that. I cannot do it alone, I need your help.

Here's a good conversation to have for starters. Our SCOTUS is like the dog who finally caught the bus right now. The conservative justices are foolishly drunk with power, overturning everything they can get their hands on if it leans even slightly left. Our society will not tolerate this grievous shift in fundamental direction for long. It is inevitable that the SCOTUS will get changed in some manner to prevent further abuse. Likely when fed up Americans vote for enough Democratic senators that the filibuster can be bypassed and the number of justices can be changed with a simple change in law. When that happens the temptation will be to make the new number of justices thirteen instead of nine and then allow the democratic POTUS to appoint four new liberal justices. This would give the liberals the one vote majority needed to reverse every awful, politically motivated decision, being handed down by our current, almost completely illegitimate, SCOTUS. Inevitably, what will happen if this is done, is the Republicans will change the total number of justices to fifteen once they again control the House, Senate and Presidency. The filibuster will be a non issue because the Democrats will have already created a carve out in order to change the number of justices just as the republicans have already created a carve out to get their unjust and stolen super-majority in the current SCOTUS. The number of justices will increase each time one side or the other wins a majority in both houses in Congress and the Presidency. Eventually we'll have a SCOTUS with more justices than the Senate has senators.

To avoid this ridiculous scenario, the Democrats, in the spirit of compromise and fairness, should make the number of SCOTUS justices twelve. The new law regulating the number of justices in the SCOTUS should abandon the ridiculous and obviously untrue assertion that SCOTUS justices are somehow not human and like robots are able to make fair decisions that are not influenced by their own political affiliations. The "litmus test" for future justices that has unofficially existed all along should be formalized and an equal number of liberal, conservative and moderate justices on the court should be required. Never again should one political mindset hold a majority of justice positions in our SCOTUS. If the justices split evenly on any given case the ruling from the lesser court stands. It would be nice to see something similar implemented in the lesser federal courts as well.

This is a way to insure a fair non political judicial system in our federal government. It is a way to restore the reputation of the SCOTUS. It is a way to start trying to show respect for those folks on the other side of the issue (whichever issue that might be). It is a way to get that other side to maybe start respecting our point of view on the issues. One tends to get back what one gives. If we want respect for our position we must respect the position of others. As crazy as they seem, we seem just as crazy to them. They are likely not as crazy as the talking heads in our media make them out to be. Let's start reducing the insanity. I know we can do better.

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