God, speaking through the prophet Amos to the privileged leaders of Israel, said that they needed to put aside all that they had been doing to skew their society for their own selfish benefit and let justice roll down like water. What would it look like for that holy counsel to be adopted in our own time in these next four or eight years?
Several times in the last few days I’ve heard Republican leaders explaining how the party had lost touch with the American public. Getting back to the basics, the tried and true foundation of Republican ideology, is what they had to do, they said. And that meant reconnecting with the public on the need for smaller government, lower taxes and less regulation. I am amazed that what they do not, and apparently cannot, understand is that the American public is tired of that old saw. They know perfectly well it is utter nonsense.
What the American public wants is an efficient, well run government, a fair tax system, and intelligent, responsible regulation of that which needs to be regulated for the well being of our society. What the America public wants is a government in which the Fourth Branch is not a cadre of well heeled lobbyists whose primary interest is their own acquisition of power and influence on behalf of corporate executives whose personal interests are often at odds with what is best for their own investors and the public they purportedly serve with products and services.
In 1961 President Eisenhower warned against falling victim to a military/industrial complex. His exact words were: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military/industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” They were prophetic words that went largely unheeded. He might have added that we also need to guard against a treasury/financial complex, an FDA/pharmaceutical complex, and all the other complexes shielded by an adept Justice Department and the selfish self-interests of congressional leadership.
These are lessons the Republican Party has not learned, not just in this administration, but in every Republican administration since Reagan. It remains to be seen whether the Democrats will do any better, but we can hope.