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Climate change and extreme politics have come together to bring us frightfully dangerous times.

Choosing “political party over country” has been the result of political polarization in Washington.

Gaining power and keeping it now has become the primary political objective of politics today.

The Supreme Court has now become totally political… and a complete champion of states’ rights.

As a result, the party in power in most states is passing extreme laws… about the right to bear arms, right to life, and reshaping districts to make it almost impossible for the party in power to lose an election.

Social media are also fueling hate groups… paving the way for autocrats, dictators, and increased violence. Some even talk of a social media-inspired civil war.

Verbal assaults on police and the FBI are producing threats of violent attacks on them… and their families.

These are extremely dangerous times.

Once power has been gained, the objective became to keep it no matter what.

  1. Media revolutions changed everything… most especially politics.
  2. Politics has now become a game with all new rules.
  3. The Republican Party has fine-tuned playing this game.
  4. Winning and holding on to power became the only objective, no matter one’s personal beliefs.
  5. Personal integrity and traditional party ideology are now fading away.
  6. Democrats, focused on internal party disagreements, have been criticized for not playing this game more skillfully.
  7. This game will likely lead to an autocratic government… and along with it the end of fair elections and American democracy.

Politics today has become a game with new rules that require saying whatever it takes to win and hold on to power, whether its true or not.

Not too long ago political parties developed idea-based platforms, ratified them at their conventions, and then competed to win elections.

Redistricting (often called gerrymandering) in each state allowed the dominant party to pass laws and rules which virtually guaranteed that the party in power could hold on to that power.

The Republican Party gradually moved from advancing conservative ideas to using redistricting and filibusters to hold on to the power they had gained.

Party politics became a power-playing game focused on controlling election districts to maintain power and win races.

Republicans in Washington focused on stopping Democrats from accomplishing anything while Democrats focused on advancing social programs and debating among themselves the best way to do that.

Democrats therefore ended up focusing more on infighting between progressives and moderates than on developing idea-based platforms they all could rally around.

The July 16 issue of the Economist abandoned it’s nonpartisan policy and argues that in the U.S. only Democrats can save democracy… but to do so they must get their members all on the same page.

The fact is… Gerrymandered power could end up destroying our democracy..

It depends on how long NATO continues to support Ukraine and how long it will take for the social media generation in Russia to take charge.

  1. At first, Putin expected to defeat Ukraine in just a few days.

2. But he quickly learned that Ukraine citizens are willing to fight and die for their freedom.

3. Putin’s longtime dream has been to bring back the old Soviet Empire.

4. But he obviously has not understood how new media revolutions are changing everything.

5. Young people everywhere are thinking differently about the world and their role in it.

6. Russia’s future will ultimately be shaped by its Internet-savvy generation.

7. And there may even be a few in Putin’s inner circle that are already seeing this coming.

If NATO countries support Ukraine long enough for young Russians to take charge, Putin’s dream of restoring the empire will certainly fail.

The U.S. and its’ allies continue to share a belief in freedom and democracy, but differences are beginning to emerge on other critical issueseven those related to the future of Ukraine.

New York Times opinion writer Tom Friedman wrote sometime ago that the world is flat, suggesting that anyone with a laptop could now have global influence. Since then digital technology and the proliferation of social media platforms have created a world of misinformation and widespread confusion… a world that we now must reinvent.

In his new book, Ian Bremmer, founder and CEO of the Eurasia Group, describes how globalism should be reinvented. He lists three big issues that cannot be avoided by every country in the world, small and large:

1. Coming pandemics and other contagious diseases; these can be better managed worldwide simply from the lessons we have already learned.

2. The international ravages of climate change; dangerous extreme weather events producing physical damage will continue to get worse.

3. Endless technology disruptions; most especially artificial intelligence (AI) confusing what is real and what is not.

In addition to dealing with these big issues, Bremmer also sees dangerous conflicts developing between the two super powers: China and the U.S. He therefore suggests that the U.S. and China will only avoid eventual war by agreeing now to compete mostly on trade policies and activities.

Very strong institutions will be necessary to address these and other issues. The United Nations, the World Health Organization, and the World Bank must be strengthened, and some new ones will also no doubt be needed. The day when the U.S can lead the world is over. Institutions must take the place of relying on countries.

Is the Supreme Court now out of step with the majority of Americans? Has it become just another political organization?

A friend, a retired OB-GYN, has a long list of when and why some pregnancies simply must be terminated.

His list ranges from life-threating complications of the mother and baby to a woman having to live with the mental trauma of incest or having been raped!

The potential for serious medical problems and personal moral issues are compelling reasons why a woman should be able to chose what is best for her own body.

When terminating a pregnancy becomes a political issue, well-meaning legislators too easily outlaw all abortions, ban contraception (including the morning-after pill), and thereby eliminate the personal rights of the mother and father to collaborate with counselors… and choose the kind of future they will face.

The digital media revolution has confused the marketplace of ideas, provided powerful communication tools to extremists, and established situations where repeated lies start to sound true.

In the case of terminating pregnancies, serious medical conditions and mental problems often result… and these can last a lifetime.

Using his party’s script, a Republican Congressman from Texas repeated that instead of going after Trump again and again, Democrats should be discussing gas prices, inflation, the pandemic, the border and other issues.

Actually, all of us, including the news media, are discussing these issues every day, including criticisms of the current government. In addition to reporting these issues, the primetime hearing gave journalists all they will need to add their own investigations to their daily agenda.

Maybe we will even learn the names of those in Congress who asked for pardons while Trump was still President.

Will any Republican Party loyalists change their minds about Trump? Maybe only a few. But even if they don’t we all will come to know the truth. And those still in denial will be condemned to dishonor… and eventual political defeat.

This should not be a political issue. It’s a “preserving democracy” issue. Finding, reporting, and acting on the truth is what matters. Otherwise we risk living with an autocracy… or even a dictatorship.

The real heroes are those who choose our Constitution and Democracy over party loyalty!

The United Kingdom is not perfect. As in the United States, the UK has many ethnic tribes threatening it. But the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebration appeared to pull the country together and reminded UK citizens what it really means to be British!

The Internet and social media have facilitated political polarization and tribal anger, and made it more difficult to find this kind of cultural commonality. Currently, tribal groups in the United States are trying to change the founding date, arguing that Columbus was not the first to discover America. Some want to tear down historical statures, arguing that many of our founders were tied too much to slavery. For these and other reasons many even want to rewrite our Constitution.

Whether you are black, brown, white, gay, straight, trans, Democrat, Republican, man, or woman, we must simply find a way to think more broadly about what it means to be an American. What really unites us?

July 4th is coming soon… and this year it could be our Jubilee!

Here is a check list of initiatives to consider…

  1. Require background checks.
  2. “Red Flag” requirements to report dangerous and mentally ill people to law enforcement.
  3. Required after-purchase training.
  4. Include gun shows and buying-on-the-street in background check and training requirements.
  5. Ban military-style weapons for citizen purchase.
  6. Impose limits on ammunition purchase.
  7. Voluntary buy-pack program (successful in Australia).
  8. Increase minimum age for purchase.
  9. As stated by the Atlantic victims of school mass shootings should refuse to return to school until effective national controls are approved.
  10. As I stated in my previous post (Lesson 625) the news media should continue to report the gun control story long after news interest wanes.
  11. Fight everyway you can for rational gun laws that continue to protect citizen gun rights.

Finally, the news media is focusing on pointing out the obvious contradiction between believing in “the right to life” and the willingness to do all we can to protect society from “mass killings.”

Journalists are finally teaching us how most other countries have mental illness and videogame-obsession problems… but few if any have mass killings. Why are we the exception?

We are also finally learning more about how the gun-lobby works in Washington, and how it finances political campaigns.

We are also finally learning how social media platforms are being used to effectively mobilize small groups of extremists, and how public opinion can be effectively ignored.

How can anyone who really believes in the “right-to-life” not be be willing to even discuss the killing power of open-carry laws, unrestricted gun shows, no background checks,18 year old’s buying high powered guns and ammunition with no questions asked, and/or no required training in responsible gun use?

We must find a way to separate political issues from moral ones! Declaring my right to do and own whatever I want is simply too self-centered. “The greater good” must come to mean much more!

Simply put… political polarization has created an urgent moral crisis that really should have nothing to do with politics!