Some of our fellow Americans believe we are heading for a cliff, where our country will end up in the dust bin of history. We seem to be going though tumultuous times, and many columnists are writing a woe column.
I'm not. This is why:
I love history and believe the past is the key to the future. We have had some bumpy times over the last 200-plus years, but if we take those bumps from the viewpoint of history, they are just ripples in the water made by giant ocean liner the USS United States. Yes, we struggled through a civil war, a depression, and multiple other conflicts, but our country has always come out stronger than before. There must be a reason.
We call our country a democracy, but it is actually a constitutional republic, where the governing bodies and the president are elected and their actions are subject to judicial review. We're not a capitalist or socialist country, but are a blend of both. That mixture, which has stood the test of time, is the reason our nation has been so successful. That's why I am an optimist. I believe we have just begun our march into history.
Our success has been emulated all over the world with mixed results. As others try to create our blend of democracy, they end up omitting some of the key factors that have given the United States its place in history as leading country of the world. When our founding fathers wrote the Constitution and later the Bill of Rights, they looked at the nations of Europe to pattern the best and protect the people from the worst.
In order to do this, they came up with a series of checks and balances, which make it extremely difficult to change any of the core elements of our Constitution. That's why, after several centuries, it has only 27 amendments. Our writers wanted to be sure, as the political parties and presidents changed, that trying to change the Constitution would be difficult.
Then, in order to blend equality and representation, senators and representatives would be a mix of both. Senators would be based on all states having equality and representatives would be based on the number of voters in each state. Although there have been complaints about inequality because a senator from California represents a lot more people than one from Alaska, over the years those checks and balances have been an essential part of why we are such a successful country. That also carries over to the election of delegates who elect the president.
By omitting parts of our framework, other countries have created governments that rock back and forth, changing elected officials at the whim of a political party or having a constitution that can be easily changed by the party in power. That flaw has given way to a number of dictators around the world whose party changed the nation's constitution so the president could remain in power. They didn't have checks and balances.
As I look at our country from my perspective over the past 40-plus years, it seems that as problems surface, they always seem terrible at the time. We have impeached two presidents, seen one resign, and have been in several wars. We have had a number of small recessions and one big depression, but we have come out of what seemed at the time chaos stronger than before.
Over those decades hundreds of unconstitutional bills have been passed and rejected by our judicial branch, and all of those attempts at change have caused barely a ripple in the United States' journey forward.
When we look at the workforce in our country, we see a steady improvement in wages and productivity. If we take a deeper look, we should understand that the key factor in our economic well-being is steady increase in productivity. The more a country produces from the same amount of workers directly affects its citizens.
Americans are productive because we work hard and efficiently. Technology has been adopted throughout almost every part of our society. The infusion of more women in every part of our economy has doubled down on productivity. Of all the advances made to increase the overall gross national product, women have contributed the most.
As this country moves forward with possible impeachment of the president, it will be only be another ripple in the water. Our forefathers birthed a document that foresaw many of the possible pitfalls that would befall a young nation, and with our judicial system balancing the legislative and executive branch, this country moves forward no matter what party is in power and who is president.
That's why I don't worry about every item that comes up concerning environmental regulations or about the weird bills that come out of our Legislature. I'm no shrinking violet when it comes to protecting our environment or promoting equal opportunity for women or a dozen other critical items that have to do with our country's well-being. However, as I write or protest about various things which have to do with the well-being of our citizens, such as global warming, I take solace in the fact that our ship of state is not in danger of sinking.
Our country is resilient and exceedingly strong in repelling outside aggression or misguided politicians within the nation. We can live quiet, peaceful lives knowing what may seem like political or economic chaos will be merely a ripple in the water.
Email Richard Mason at email@example.com.
Editorial on 10/06/2019