Many people are trying to diagnose the “real problem” in America today. The president is saying that the poor and disenfranchised are not being cared for enough. That corporate greed has stolen America’s standard of generosity and character, and that we must move to the future. The conservatives are saying there is too much reliance on the government. That greed is what makes capitalism and our economy work and that the “future” has been tried in other countries and failed horribly. The middle is saying everything will be fine if we can all stop arguing.
I say it is none of these things. I believe the one thing missing from America today is logic.
Plain and simple, good, old-fashioned logic.
Many, many problems can be sorted out this way in the home, in the states, and in the country as a whole.
I have this liberal friend, whom I adore. We disagree on nearly every political issue, and we really talk primarily about politics. The reason I consider him my friend, despite our firm ideological differences, is not based on whether or not we agree or argue, but rather on the way in which we communicate. We can have a lively debate and argue our sides, and at the end we reach a point where we realize the other has come to their conclusion logically. There is no animosity. We still do not usually agree, but if logic and reason are applied, I can only grow in my respect for his opinion. I can see his point of view.
Now, I know that this would require two things: logic, and humility. Neither of these exist in abundance and they seem to be distant relics of the past in D.C., but I stand by my statement. How different would our world be if politics worked this way?
Everyone in the federal government has sworn to protect the Constitution, so all persons involved should then agree to use that document as a reference point. Once the starting point is agreed to, arguments can be solved logically. Simply ask: “Is that Constitutional?” If the answer is no, then ask “Should the Constitution be amended to make it so?” This would inevitably bring about raucous debate. The third question then should be something like, “Will adding this amendment narrow the focus of the Constitution beyond what the federal government has the power to do? i.e. Should this be left to the states?”
It really doesn’t seem that hard. At the end of the day even if people still wanted to go against the Constitution, it’s simple to point to the document and say, “You swore to protect and uphold this. This is what we agreed to as a reference.” See: logic.
It all seems simplistic, but I’ll give you a simple example.
As a conservative, I hear the side of the debate which says reliance on government aid of this kind makes people feel entitled, and that this kind of charity should either come from churches, from the families or from those receiving benefits working more or working harder to get ahead. I agree with this to some extent. I have received food stamps and I remember a point where I did the math and realized it would actually be better for us financially if we didn’t take that second job because we would not make back the money we’d lose in state benefits. I was so ashamed for thinking that way.
We decided to work. We decided that autonomy was important for our family, but not everyone chooses that path.
There are people who know what the limits are on income for receiving medical, food and other benefits and will not take jobs where they earn more than that. Some were raised to believe that the government owed them the money. That kind of generational thinking is a hard cycle to break. On the flip side, I know there are people out there who do work multiple jobs, and many hours but still fall at or below the poverty level, and those with physical or mental handicaps who cannot earn any money or cannot earn a livable wage.
The logical thing here isn’t to throw out the system entirely. It isn’t to add more bureaucracy. It isn’t to belittle those who are part of the system, and it isn’t to encourage the autonomous to earn less so they can join in.
It seems to me that the logical thing would be to re-evaluate minimum wage. Consider things like a flat income tax so people would be able to keep more of the money they make. Time is already limited for the food stamp program- a person must re-qualify every 6 months in my state, but more can be done. Families can learn to budget better.
I’m not saying it will stop the fighting (in fact, I think the fighting is good for us sometimes). And I’m not saying we would all agree.
I’m only saying: logic is what’s missing.