Over the course of our time writing The Gun, we’ve explored issues of U.S politics, world politics, philosophy, as well as whole hosts of other assorted categories. These issues that we’ve discussed, and thrown back and forth to each other, are often times very pressing issues at the time of our writing about them. The subject of our previous posts – North Korea, and viable solutions to deal with it – is a prime example. And not only are these issues important now, but I’m quite confident that many of them will continue to be relevant for years after this work’s publication. However, even if some go on to be solved and some don’t, they all share a contemporary commonality: they’re all questions without agreeable answers.
How do we solve the illegal immigration problem? We discussed several solutions throughout the course of our econversation, and – I believe – even managed to reach some points of consensus on several key areas of the issue. But, in the political soccer game that is American politics, this problem has been kicked around the halls of Congress for nearly two decades. And this is just one example of the many pressing matters that face our country, and don’t have a solution. There may exist proposals for the solving of these matters, but they lack a truly concrete solution. Gun control, healthcare, and the list goes on. They all occupy the same political limbo that is keeping the United States from pressing forward.
Now, I know that there exists an argument that the American legislative process is supposed to be slow. It prevents hasty legislation from being passionately shoved through the channels of Congress, and quickly enshrined into law by the anger and fear of the people. I recognize that argument, and even agree with it. Proposed laws should be fully explored, thought about, and developed before they’re proposed for establishment. Logic moves slow, but irrationality moves fast. I’ll take slow logic any day of the week.
However, even with that being said, the leisurely pace imposed upon our legislative process by the Founding Fathers was still supposed to result in governance and the passing of laws. I want to be clear that I don’t think the system is the problem. By “system” I mean the rules, norms, and guidelines of the United States government. In my view, none of that is the problem; it’s the people within the system that are the problem. Not all of them, of course, but a certain selection them. Those who we have entrusted to adequately govern the United States of America have failed, and have relegated us to a seemingly inescapable position of stagnation in terms of the development and growth of our country.
Even though certain sections of the outlook I’m describing can be heard from many sources around the United States, I’m not one to advocate for taking a sledgehammer to the government that was gifted to us by the Framers. In any solution I might have to this issue, there will be no revolution, there will be no constitutional convention, and there will be no systematic overhaul of any kind. The last time a group of Americans reformed the United States government, it was done in secret and without public consent. From within an isolated hall in Philadelphia, the Framers took it upon themselves to throw out the Articles of Confederation in 1789 – effectively a coup d’ etat with a favorable outcome.
Would anyone trust today’s political elite to do the same: throw out the Constitution away from the prying eyes of concerned citizens? Anyone that says “yes” either just can’t grasp the gravity of the situation, or is one of political garagemen getting ready to haul the Bill of Rights off to the dump of history.
So, if radical systematic reform isn’t the solution, then how do we remove ourselves from this trench that we’ve dug ourselves into? I framed this as a question because I’m not sure if I have an answer. It seems ironic that the question of “How do we answer all of these questions,” doesn’t have an answer. I’m very interested to hear your thoughts on the matter, because I think such a question might be more effectively handled by an experienced academic, such as yourself. However, as I bring this piece to a close, I’ll share my initial thoughts on tackling this matter.
It would seem to me that the only way to correct this issue of legislative and developmental stagnation in the United States is for there to be a shift in the political culture of the country. We have a wide swath of the American electorate that’s uninformed, uncaring, and unhinged, but they’re entirely sure that they know how this country should operate. Now, I realize that it’s their right as Americans to espouse their half-formed political ideas on the forums of Reddit and street corners of New York City, but they are wholly unaware that their political ignorance is perpetuating the problem of Congressional inactivity. We have people voting for bad representatives, and against their own interests, with smug smiles on their faces, as if they just secured their spot in the VIP club of America.
Jimmy Carter was right in 1979 when he told America that it had a “crisis of confidence,” but he got it backwards. The problem today is not that we doubt ourselves too much, but that we don’t doubt ourselves enough. I see this as a core problem of our current situation, because this inability to believe in the competence, intelligence, and intentions of other Americans is causing people to plant their heels in the dirt and refuse to lose ground to their perceived political enemy. Only when we discard these toxic elements of political culture can we move forward once again.