It’s time we wrote what the Democratic/Republican establishment fear to admit and the zealots fear we write – our process is a broken one. COVID-19, just like 9/11 or any crisis to date, more than patently laid that bare for us.
This moment was a long time coming. The fundamentals were precisely why the Democrats never ended wars, closed Guantanamo or repealed the Patriot Act, nor will they ever. It’s the same reason why it took Tea Party Republicans, allegedly fiscal conservatives, to show us what reckless spending and endless bailouts really look like. It was no different than it taking 2006 freshman Democrats to give George W. Bush far more endless war than he could ever hope for.
The cause is simple – the ballot access laws are such that any party looking to establish itself must take on a task that not even the Democratic National Committee or Republican National Committee could ever pay for, staff and execute. This leaves you with no adult in the room. You have no broker of peace. You have only the imposers and the imposed upon, always looking for additional ways to restrict people, eliminate competition, take money and create the very inequities they complain of.
It’s justifiable what each of these imposers does once they get the opportunity. It’s okay to riot on the highway, occupy several blocks of a major city and sack a federal courthouse if your team is doing it. Just the same, it’s perfectly okay for a president to incite insurrection or suppress freedom of speech if he’s a member of your team of imposers.
There is no accountability. There is no restraint. There is no consistently, logic, empathy, compassion or consistent rule of law any more. There is no question on what measures or restrictions cost. There is only reckless spending, reckless indefinite restrictions and outright looting of both the U.S. Treasury and of your purchasing power to the extent there is a lack of political will to demand you and I pay the true price up front.
Decades of our ballot access system are exactly why most Americans eligible don’t vote. Now, major platforms that previously directed their influence to silence, deplatform and suppress the adult in the room from not mere dissent, but even the simple utterance of helpful suggestions, have been directed by Democrats against Republicans – and vice versa. The rest of us, the sane, who just want problems solved on a good faith basis, absorb all the collateral damage.
COVID has been no different. Any solution, whatever it is, absolutely must be expensive, special-interest based and involve extraordinary amounts of over reach of executive power and maximum potential to eliminate political opposition. The standard is to call those who don’t agree with you a communist or a racist, and all who hold rallies for opposing views are deemed superspreaders.
Anything that has remotely resembled rational discussion on science, the ongoing process of which is never settled, is automatically shouted down. The standard set by the two warring factions, Democrats and Republicans, means COVID must either be nothing (some errant flu or sniffle) or it must be the end of humanity such that it justifies a battlefield in every restaurant and grocery store struggling to stay afloat.
We do not have, and it is unfortunately evident even in these pages, true, rational public discussions. Discussions are there to learn and help us all figure out what is right. We don’t even have arguments. Those are to determine what the best approach to a problem is, and how to better define it.
What we have is the epitome, the end result of our failed process, having subsumed itself with tribalism and identity politics. Power only cares about what it has planned to do for some time, and searches for justification to do it. We have moving goal posts. It is such that, as much as I celebrate the departure of Donald Trump, the Democratic and Republican Parties just simply cannot let him go. They are unwilling and unable and certainly have no incentive to empty necessary space to solve the pressing issues of the day.
We wanted to have a rigged ballot access system, and tolerate it. The price was problems we cannot vote our way out of. That includes 400,000 Americans who did not have to die, and did because we monomaniacally excluded even the mere exploration of interventions and therapies in favor of wildly unprecedented extreme measures and fatal double standards. It includes the mathematically now inevitable failure of Medicare, Medicaid and state pension funds. It also includes the $26 trillion and growing Donald Trump falsely claimed we’d pay back after he failed to lead that last charge he promised to.
The adult in the room is already against the next war, the next restriction and the next attempt to impose one more additional dollar or lost day or normalcy further. There is another way that doesn’t involve these things. That way requires you to demand it.
Dan Reale is chairman of the Connecticut Libertarian Party.