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Welcome To The Doghouse!

I’m not allowed to watch the news anymore. You can probably guess at the many many reasons, but the main one is that my wife won’t let me.

I’ve always held unpopular opinions about history, government, gardening, pet care, child rearing, fiscal responsibility, and foreign policy. When the news is up there on the screen I tend to rant my questions out loud, howling to an empty sky.

It scares the dogs, and I never get a good answer anyway.

Congress can't pass a meaningful law. The president can't govern by executive order, even though he'd really like to. The national debt is skyrocketing. Prices are going up. Purchasing power is going down. Getting sick for too long means bankruptcy. Secure retirement is a pipe dream. The representatives that we send to make our laws are owned by somebody, and we’re always trying to figure out who.

Every time an election rolls around, we are told by candidates chosen by someone else what the stakes are. Immigration, abortion, guns, climate change, taxes, race, police, national defense, social justice. We vote for them, they go off to the capital, and when they come back in a couple years to run for re-election, all those issues are still there, not fixed even though we cast our votes and sent our tax money to do it. And the real issues? The ones that cause empires to fall—Senators for sale, Congressmen who are beholden to someone other than their constituents, an empty Treasury, a divided citizenry? 

Those things aren’t on the ballot, and never will be.

Unless we demand it.

The political system of the United States is a lot like Thanksgiving Day at my mother's house--dysfunctional, expensive, and makes you a little nauseous.

If you’re a reasonable person going about your day, I have one question for you that you probably don’t want to answer: how does this end? If our lawmakers are for sale to the highest bidder or paralyzed by hyperpartisanship and the President sits idly in the White House because he believes his hands are tied, who exactly is working on pulling America’s proverbial car out of the proverbial ditch it’s been rotting in for the last fifty years or so?

And what can we do to fix it? Congressional term limits? Eliminate all campaign contributions except the individual? End primaries? Pick our representatives the way we pick our juries? Move Election Day to Saturday?

If you know your ancient history, America is the first century BC Roman Republic. By the year one AD, the Republic was no more.

The same way we probably don’t want to face the question of how it ends, there are some other hard truths we need to look right in the eye—we allowed this situation to get out of hand, so only we can fix it.

If we don’t, it will end, and it won’t end well.

At the turn of the last century, a group of investigative journalists founded a magazine called McClure’s. They investigated things like the role of big business in government, economic corruption, wealth inequality, and Congressional shenanigans. They shed light on all the ills of their society. Sometimes they won, and took down a monopolistic trust or exposed the horrific conditions of the working poor. Sometimes they lost. And when they did, the editor of the magazine gathered them together and told them that if the politicians were no good and the businessmen were no good then there was no one left but all of us.

His point was that there are way more of us than there are of them, and that if we all get together, we are unstoppable.

Join the conversation with me and the dogs on the I’m Not Allowed To Watch The News Podcast, and let’s figure this out.


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