Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Final Solutions

Probably this blog should be entitled merely “solutions,” as I think not all solutions necessarily need to be “final.” Besides, nowadays when we think of final solutions we tend to think of the Nazi attempt to genocide the Jews. I would not want to be seen as favoring such extreme measures. But what does a nation do when it has a fairly large and well organized group of subversives? I think what Republicans have been doing for the past few years should be considered subversion. I don’t know what else it might be called as it is certainly not “politics as usual.” I have been led to wonder if the Founding Fathers were simply naïve, careless, or had some reason I do not understand for not leaving us any solution to urgent problems other than the potential ballot box. Republicans announced early on they would not support President Obama, wanted him to fail, and would vote “no” consistently. They have remained true to their word. In effect what they have done is simply refuse to govern. I don’t think the Founding Fathers anticipated such a development, believing, I think, that anyone who aspired to high office was fundamentally a patriot whose primary interest was in the good of the country. I doubt they thought any group would make national welfare second to their narrow political interests. The result of this is that we have no viable means to deal with overt subversion other than waiting eventually to vote the wrongdoers out of office, a solution that allows for all kinds of damage to occur in the interim. The same problem arises when someone abuses his or her office where the only recourse is impeachment, a truly complicated, difficult, and very time-consuming process with no guarantee of success (think Clarence Thomas, for example). There appears to be little we can do about this.

While I am not recommending other solutions I should point out there are other, quicker, more drastic solutions to problems such as subversion and abuse of office. In Tsarist Russia, for example, (and even more recently in Russia) such people could be exiled to Siberia either for a time or permanently. They could also simply be arrested and placed in jail, (or mental institutions) as happens in many countries around the world. In even more extreme cases they could be lined up against a wall and shot. Obviously we cannot use such solutions, nor should we want to, but our only solution, elections, is not very efficient, but the only solution we have.

Our entire justice system is slow, cumbersome, expensive, and inefficient. I believe this sometimes leads to the neglect of cases that surely deserve attention. This is often a problem for small cities or counties that do not always have the money to pursue justice to the end. For example, a woman was tried for killing her husband, exonerated by a clever lawyer who argued she had been abused, and arguably should have been re-tried, but was not due to lack of funds. In this case I think justice probably was served, but what of other more important cases. In my opinion Bush/Cheney and several others in their administration should be tried for their blatant (even) admitted war crimes. At the same time I am aware of how such trials would split our country politically for months or years and disrupted the important business of state.

Innocent until proven guilty, guaranteed free speech, equality under the law, multiple appeals and reviews, are all wonderful ideas but they are not efficient, economical, or in some cases fast enough to produce justice (sometimes guilty parties die before the process plays itself out). Democracy, even a pretend democracy like ours, has much to recommend it, but it is not without its shortcomings as well. I suspect these kinds of problems could be remedied but given our dysfunctional system that is not likely.

Along these lines, should the wealthy Wall Streeters, CEO’s, and others be worried about the Occupy Wall Street phenomena? I should think not if they would admit their guilt, pay their fair share, and make some attempt to help rather than hinder the recovery. If they cannot give up their unconscionable greed (even a little bit) things may well get worse and worse. It does not look like Occupy Wall Street is going to be merely “a flash in the pan.” Our final solution can only be to vote all of these subversives out of office when the time comes.

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

John F. Kennedy

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