America is at a crossroads

The administration has exposed weaknesses in our democratic system

■ Richard Flores / Contributed

Our country and our constitution are going through perilous times.
As American citizens, we are fully aware that our current presidential administration, congress, and the supreme court are not functioning in accordance with the principles of our constitution and the values of our democratic form of government. Therefore, they are endangering our way of life.
The President and his administration are out of control, and the Republican Congress is not living up to its constitutional obligation or their oath of office to safeguard and uphold our constitution. The U. S. Congress is not providing its obligatory duty of providing a “check and balance” to the executive branch.
The founding fathers’ concept of having three separate but equal branches of government has collapsed – it’s nonexistent today. The Republican Party members in congress are violating their oaths of office and therefore should be removed. They are more interested in advancing and implementing their corrupt political party ideological agenda to the detriment of our form of government and our democratic values that have served us well for over 200 years.

Perilous ideological time
Today, America is in a perilous political, cultural and ideological time. America is under attack from within and from without and is in peril of not being able to continue our great experiment. America’s democratic government that has served us well since War World II, and has kept world order and relative peace is in jeopardy.
America’s democracy is under attack from an authoritarian worldview movement that is coming from the outside and growing on the inside. The attack to disrupt and dismantle is coming from a white nationalist ideology that historically has its origins in the dark caves of the delusional minds of authoritarians. Internally, this form of ideology has its origin in the southern confederate white supremacy that was used to justify the use of black slaves and treat them like personal property.
In recent times, it has come from the era of the German white national movement of the 1930s, under the Hitler government, and their idea of world domination by the German white race. Good people can only imagine what kind of world we would be living in if they had won War World II.

Using fear to get power
It is well recorded by the annals of history that certain people with authoritarian values use people’s feelings of fear, hate, and desperation to gain personal political power. The pitch is that these subjects are being neglected and left behind, that their jobs are being taken away by some adversarial group like the immigrants, people of color, or some religion, that their feelings of white supremacy and entitlement are under attack, that they are victims, and that the only way to straighten things out is to obey and follow the dictates of a strong man.
These authoritarian individuals do not like democracy because it curtails and sets limits on their power. They yearn to have the power of a Hitler, a Mussolini, a Putin or some emperor sanctioned by God in where the power does not come from the bottom up, but from the top down. The right to govern yourself, of course, is then nonexistent.
Today, the American people, conceivably are at the doorstep of drastic social, cultural, and political change that can alter our form of government. We have the choice either of devolving into some form of a totalitarian society that will be filled with fear, conflict and stress, offer reforms to our constitution and our democracy in order to provide the needed protection and safeguards, or the third option is to set a new direction for our future, a future that entails, among other things, the adopting of universal principles and values. These might be the pursuit of respect, peace, balance and harmony in all matters.

Envision a brighter future
We can envision a future that will pursue the establishment of America’s indigenous circular philosophy of positive inter-relationships and inter-connectivity with each other, with the natural environment, and with our planet.
We can envision the formation of a new transformational movement of the people, by the people, where all men and women are truly created equal and the primary reason for government is to provide freedom, safety, and the maximization of everybody’s human potential.
Imagine a society where once again the power of the government is subservient to the best interests of the individual citizens, and the primary duty of the government is establishment of a sustainable society for the future. The new movement would embrace the natural philosophy of the circle of life and the universal concept of “a single human race in a singular finite planet.”

Trump exposed weaknesses
If there is a bright spot in the relationship between our constitutional and democratic systems, it is that Trump has exposed weaknesses in our safeguards and protections of our constitution and democracy that need to be modified to survive as a viable democratic nation. Weakly formulated democracies that compose the democratic bloc are under attack, not only in the United States, but around the world.
I would suggest a few general strengthening measures that should be instituted in order to protect sanctity and integrity of our Democratic system.

• Make it a requirement, through education and enticement, that every eligible American citizen must vote as part of their duty as American citizens.
• Overturn the United Citizens Supreme Court decision that has corrupted our political election system by allowing American oligarchies, interest groups, and corporations to contribute, without disclosure, as much dark money as they wish to political campaigns – in essence buying politicians.
• Set limits on our elected political leaders to one term. It is pathetic to see senile old men in their 70s and 80s refusing to step down. The U.S. President’s time in office should be limited to one 8-year-term, the House of Representatives to 6 years, and set limits on our senators to 8 years. And there should be a mid-term referendum for the purpose of gauging voter approval.
• Establish federal and state “Truth and Anti-Corruption Oversight Commissions” to hold politicians accountable and obligatory to their oath of office and adherence to the value principles of the U.S. Constitution and laws of our country.
• Make appropriate revisions to the First and Second Amendments in order to protect and strengthen the values and principles of our democratic system and way of life.
• Eliminate the un-democratic electoral college system and replace it with the popular vote. Return purity to the constitution concept of one eligible person, one vote.
• The U.S. Supreme Court justices should be directly elected by the people in an election process. This change is meant to keep the court justices independent from political influence so that they may adhere to their check-and-balance obligation. The term limit for federal and state judges should be 10 years.
• Political parties, individuals, organizations and corporations that fail to live up to their constitutional duties and legal obligations should be disbanded and/or prohibited from participating in the American political democratic process.
• Since a core principle of our U.S. Constitution is that all men and women are created equal, with the right to life, liberty, and justice for all, it is imperative that people who harbor and express anti-ideologies contrary to our American values and principles should be censured and given the option of reformation or expulsion from our shores. Racism and discrimination should not be tolerated or allowed to pollute and contaminate the social fabric of American society.
• The Justice Department’s attorney general should be independent and elected by the people and should serve no more than 10 years with a midterm voter-approval referendum.
• Judges, U.S. Justice Department officials, F.B.I. employees, police, and government employees should be political nonpartisans and adhere to the truth, with strong values of integrity and morality. History has taught us that corrupted countries plant their own seeds of destruction when they violate the universal principles of balance and harmony.
• Today, America’s economic inequality is at its highest. Due in part to the administration’s tax give-away, the top 1 percent control 40 percent of the nation’s wealth and the top 20 percent control 90 percent of the country’s wealth.
• American society is being divided and set against itself due to Trump’s divisive attitude and his attacks on minorities and immigrants.
• The administration has withdrawn America from N.A.F.T.A. and the Asian Pacific Economic Agreement and has put in place destructive tariffs on our trading partners that are going to weaken our economy. He has withdrawn America from the world climate-change conference, and his administration has adopted policies that have allowed the pollution of our water, air and lands.
• His deregulation of the financial industry means higher costs to the consumer, fewer consumer protections, and possibly will set us up for a future depression.
• The trump administration has attacked our international friends, allies and NATO.
• It has damaged our national intelligence agencies that keep us safe and is threatening – or has fired – federal government personnel for having different points of views from those of the administration.
• It has dismantled national institutions and established projects and killed viable programs meant to strengthen our society and keep us safe.
• Trump appears to support white nationalist party movements in America and around the world, and he has befriended our enemies such as Russia, North Korea, and other authoritarian governments worldwide.
• He has refused to condemn Russia for the 2016 meddling into our national election system and today little has been done to protect America from another future attack.
• He has weakened the effectiveness and integrity of our national security institutions at home and around the world.
• He is under investigation for collusion and conspiracy with the Russian government against America. He has and is trying to sabotage the Mueller investigation.
He has tried to undermine the free press and has called them the enemy of the people; he personally attacks members of Congress and people in general that don’t agree with his agenda, a tactic used by authoritarian regimes to gain and maintain power.
Reject greed
and corruption
As Americans, we cannot and should not accept greed and corruption from our president or any government official. Trump’s attack on integrity and morality is corrupting the American soul and will contaminate all segments of American society and our way of life. The Congressional Republican Party is putting party ideals above the best interests of the country, is destructive, and should not be acceptable.
Republicans as well as Democrats are bound by the constitution to represent the people and to take care of their needs, but instead most of them have become water carriers for rich elites, corporations, and special interest groups.
The Trump Republican voters in return for their vote get lectures on reasons to be fearful, are provided with distraction antics and illusory promises as if we were in the Barnum-Bailey circus. And Trump core supporters continue to be provided with a hefty dose of white nationalist entitlement sermons.
How can someone who behaves like a 6th grader become President of the United States? By lying, calling people names, making false promises, appealing to hate and fear and falsely accusing people of things that only exist in a pathological mind.

Lost credibility
Trump, by his own behavior and actions, has lost every single shred of credibility and believability. Every American citizen has the duty and obligation to protect our constitution and our democracy from attack – foreign or domestic.
We cannot let somebody take away our power out of pure personal interest. It is vitally important for the people to exercise their power to vote this coming election day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, in order to place a check on this president who obviously is a clear and present danger.
We can and must do better. Our future as a democratic country depends on it. America at this electoral crossroads reminds me of a statement made by Benjamin Franklin to a woman outside Independence Hall when she asked, “What have you given us, monarchy or a republic?” and he responded, “We are giving you a republic” – if you can keep it!

Richard Flores is with the Latino Political Organizing Committee and can be reached at 951-651-8715.

Editor’s Note: The Valley Chronicle does not necessarily subscribe to the views of its columnists and reprints articles and opinions for the purpose of stimulating robust debate.

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