America's social fabric is fraying at the seams

It is not a great credit to democracy when following an election people demonstrate yelling "not my president."

Dr. Richard D. Small, | updated: 20:02

OpEds Dr. Richard Small
Dr. Richard Small
INN:RS

From afar America looks in decline. Not its military strength nor its economy, but its social fabric. The founders established a democracy albeit with some reservations. The debate then about whether the population has the wherewithal to support a real democracy seems prescient. A quick reading of the news, tweets, and comments by government leaders proves the point.

Democracy flourishes when the population is educated, engages in serious debate and accepts the rule of the majority. That does not seem to be the case today. It is exacerbated by one-sided and biased news coverage rather than objective reporting and balanced debate. It is not a great credit to democracy when following an election people demonstrate yelling "not my president." Has democracy in the United States been reduced to permanent division and refusal to accept election results when you do not agree with the outcome?

The country seems split into two tribes--Republicans and Democrats with each detesting the other and no evidence of cooperation that would benefit the country. There are many examples: a special prosecutor finds no crime by the sitting President, yet the House of Representatives is bent on impeachment. That does not seem to be in the interests of the United States. Perhaps it is in the interest of politicians to be heard above the noise of the crowd.

Moreover, much of the criticism of the current administration seems--for lack of a better word--illogical. Yes, NATO members were not paying their share of costs and were content to let the United States pay more. Even European politicians agreed that greater contributions are needed. The trade imbalance with China has been a rallying call for many years. Why the criticism now when the issue is finally being addressed?

The refusal to support a bankrupt UN Human Rights Council was long overdue as was support of UNRWA's special program of 71 years duration to support Gaza. If you give a government bent on war money to buy food and pay for hospitals and schools, it has more money to invest in weapons and war. I also question whether the current Gaza population are truly refugees. Perhaps their grandparents or maybe even their parents who were infants in 1948, but certainly not the current population. And should the world support them forever? If so, it would be a singular example. Not even the Ibo's or Rohingyas merited such support and they suffered far greater hardship.

Yes, a wall on the Southern Border of the US is needed. In every country of the world, people wishing to immigrate to the United States must go to the American Embassy and request a visa. Quotas determine how many will be admitted in all categories, and many are turned down even for a tourist visa. But the southern border is open and there is a free flowing, visa free, stream of immigrants. An entirely illogical system. My question is why is this not fixed? It seems to me that to score "good heart" points, realities, logic and fairness are ignored. In this case, tribal loyalties do not support or protect the country.

So, I offer a despondent view from afar but I also ask myself what should be done? A return to the values that made the United States a strong vibrant country should be undertaken. Debate should be encouraged and listened to. It is not only possible, but realistic that there will be good ideas on both sides--left and right, Democrat and Republican. News media should be expected to offer balanced and accurate coverage of the news. I have no idea how to regulate or enforce such a balanced coverage, but I urge Americans to read and consider both sides of an argument and then decide the best course.

In the end, decline is not owned by politicians, but by all Americans and I hope they will take control of their fate.




 




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