Thanksgiving (n): traditional holiday in USA on which we contemplate what we are grateful for in our lives, usually followed by lots of food and family fun
Okay, I’m probably supposed to be busy hosting the relatives, which I am. But, our younger dog, Tippy, decided to get up at 5:30 a.m. and start running round. Thus, I got up, heated up my first cup of coffee, and got her settled down, so as to not arose the relatives too early. This has also given me time to proofread my current letter to my congressional representatives, who are embroiled in the current political spat: the Impeachment Inquiry.
This does bring up an aspect of our society for which I am thankful: the right to think independently and express those views through a variety of methods: conversations with folks (who are willing to listen and express their views too), communications with elected officials, and letters to the editor of our local paper. Agree or disagree, we can have a voice in our society.
And, this brings up the point that my communication below focuses on: when we disagree, commit moral or lead offenses, insult each other, or otherwise get into conflicts, we have the possibility for considering forgiveness. That topic, I will have to address more fully later.
Representative Mooney, Senators Capito and Manchin,
During the past few weeks, I have been following the impeachment inquiry hearings. When able, I listened to the hearings on the radio, otherwise I followed on the morning or afternoon news reports while commuting. I shall not voice an opinion on the questioning or testimony at this time, as this is the responsibility of the Congress to determine. I wish to address, rather, two issue which I believe underly the events of this year.
First, political campaign funding has become too easily corrupted by interests domestically and internationally, such that millions of dollars flow into election races from sources for which the elected officials will have no direct responsibility. We have seen this in West Virginia elections which appear to be mostly funded by out-of-state individuals, corporations and organizations.
My simple solution is for federal and state laws to limit campaign contributions to come from citizens who would be represented by the candidate. For instance, you or other candidates for this district could only accept contributions for voters in this district. Senate candidates could only accept contributions from voters in the state of West Virginia. The same would apply for state elections. If elected officials only accept contributions from registered votes, they will represent those in their district, not outside interests. This would require that you and state official draft, debate, and pass such legislation.
Second, negative campaigning has become the dominant means of getting elected. While this does have short term results, we are seeing the long term regrets of destroying our opponents through shame: officials are not elected because of what they believe or have accomplished but because voters are voting against some other candidate; disinformation and distortion are more important that factual information; winners look like thugs while looser resent the personal attacks; voters distrust the process; fewer citizens are interested in being involved in the politics; and revenge, sabotage, and derailing dominate the legislative process. And, candidate become tempted to over-step civility and legality to win at all costs. We become “us versus them”.
The divisions in society, and the possible improper behavior of candidate/President Trump are easy to see as the result of these two factors in our elections.
Whatever direction the impeachment inquiry goes, I think that we need to consider a third concept: forgiveness.
Resentments already exist on all sides. Some call the impeachment a sham process. Others complain about Democrats and Republicans treating witnesses with fawning compliments or disrespectful attitudes. Some see this process only in win-lose, zero-sum game outcome. Whatever wrongs, insults, offenses we may perceive, we will only progress as a society if we figure out the end-game: how do we forgive those wrongs, insults, and offenses?
I hope that all my readers had a chance to sleep in, enjoy those whom you love, have some good eats, and can pet your dogs in a free society. Thanksgiving all.