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Letters from Downunder

Radical Solutions

Submitted by Lindsay
Melbourne Australia!

The empires of the future are the empires of the mind Winston Churchill, September 1943

(11/7) You are about to venture into the unknown again, a nail biting journey into discovering the reality of having someone new as president, as well as a whole new corpus of civil servants. Yes, I realize you believe you already know what to expect, but from past experience I can say you are wrong.

Itís possible, even likely, that Donald will have either fallen on the sword or the Republican party will have used the guillotine before then. Not to do so would give an imprimatur to immorality, chicanery, blatant dishonesty and total disregard for the welfare all Americans by the whole of the Republican party, which no one could seriously entertain. Of course the question of how this came to pass will reverberate around the nation for a few days or weeks, then quietly fade because more important issues will be on the cycle.

They will seem to be more important, but are they? Trump type issues are far from uncommon, and stem from the fear of asking one simple question: WHY? Why did his message of overthrowing the system appeal so strongly? Why did 9/11 occur? Why was laissez faire economics allowed to spiral out of control? Why have the extreme right been allowed to dictate foreign policy? These and similar fundamental questions have generally been ignored by politicians and the media, because they are at odds with underlying national philosophy: A nation as great as ours makes the rules and answers to no one.

This is the pride that comes before the fall, and contrary to all sense, continues to dominate thinking Ė and the further to the right the more the domination. Introspection is not a word thatís preached from pulpits, consideration of weakness is a venal sin, and while Darwin is often a dirty word, survival of the fittest is the jacket fitted to all citizens.

When congress decides that the first order of business is not to secure supply but to perform some soul searching and admit that the American way has been derailed, and then to put everything off until a plan is forged to not only determine why these catastrophes happened, but the ways in which they can be put right. Solutions depend on understanding the problem in detail, beginning with, ĎWhat have WE done wrong?í OK, thatís a pipedream, but some real soul searching has to be done, some high level humility shown if the underlying causes of this mess are to be dealt with.

Like many great ideas a free market economy was an astounding addition to trade, creating prosperity for the middle class while keeping the ratio of wealth dispersion in bounds. Coupled with laissez faire economics and the dismantling of regulatory controls, the prosperity of commerce was a firework that sparked copies around the world. The morality of this was never discussed, because it was known that the probity of CEOís and boards was as good as gold.

Government was inefficient, wasteful, interfered in business - which was totally able to run its own affairs. Yet a major or crisis erupted, one that very nearly destroyed you and us. How could this be? Simple: probity had turned into greed. When corporations are allowed to police their own worlds they make rules to suit themselves. They deny others the ability to discover or understand what they are doing. This transformation occurs for one, and only one reason: the quest for profit outstrips all other considerations. Politics is only a means to an end, no matter which side youíre on, and the assurances of adhering to the law are tongue in cheek at best.

Social responsibility, moral rectitude, community connections are put aside for the pursuit of gain. Legislation is geared to enhance this process. Neoliberalism is sold as the panacea for all problems, checkbacks and crutiny are diverted, and it finishes up with the only thing trickling down from the heights is the sewage. Milton Friedman, for all his promise, forgot just how corrupt the worship of money makes anyone.

Thatís what Mr. Trump has actually focussed on, the resulting decimation of the middle class. That heís quite unfit to become president does not alter this, but it does raise a seemingly insoluble problem: What on earth can the Republican party do about it? Even more importantly, what can America as a whole do about it? Well, at the distance I live from you, and free from the many minor issues that hover around this issue, there is one thing that stands out. Itís not something that is allowed by the constitution, but is something that was ratified as recently as 1950. That is, the number of terms a president can serve in succession. So here it is:

Arrange for President Obama to stay on another term. Let him step down for a day, then be reappointed. He is the ONLY president you have had in the past fifty years with a clear vision for the future, a moral perspective, the ability to address the enormous problems you and the western world now face, and above all to present to the world a picture of an America that is powerful, mindful and sane. The whole world (except China, Russia, North Korea, and Syria) would breathe a sigh of relief. So would 90% of all Americans, once they began to see the results.

I guess that solution is rather unlikely, so here is another solution: You may recall the war crime tribunals after WW 2, where the usual excuse for those crimes was ĎI was just carrying out orders.í That didnít go down too well, and many Nazis were executed because obeying an order does not absolve you for carrying out a crime against humanity.

So if Mr. Trump or Ms Clinton are elected and subsequently order any of you to take unconscionable actions, saying ĎNOí will at least show your countrymen and the rest of the world that morality is alive and well in America. You may go down in history as the martyrs that changed the world, and not the cowards that allowed it to go to hell - it is the future of the world that is at stake here.

Given that, you can and must find the will and means to achieve either option Ė or others as radical. As Winston Churchill said, the empires of the future are the empires of the mind.

Barak Obama has the best mind to lead your country, the best of your citizens have the resolve.

Letís make the world as safe as possible.

Read Past Down Under Columns by Lindsay Coker