David Nightingale: Politics 2017

Jun 4, 2017

As an Independent, I believe that the greater good has to be the fundamental aim of government in a healthy and successful society.

Our 2-party system (as earlier in history) appears now to be hovering in a state of near-warfare -- or what I see as 'footballization' -- us against them, win at all costs, to heck with everything else.

Needless to say, running a country is not football. 

I have friends on both (quote/unquote) 'sides'.  If people cling to their teams or sides or parties in this way -- eg, we are a Republican family, always have been and always will be -- thought is suppressed and sensible progress goes out of the window. We must destroy Obamacare because it came from (again quote/unquote) 'them' -- instead of sitting down and improving it for the nation. One party says 'Oh no, we'll substitute our own version', while the other team may be reluctant to admit that their system had faults. The fact that many countries have long ago achieved universal healthcare is of negligible interest; pass an act quickly, even if as yet unthought-out. We can't have a system introduced by the 'opposite side'.

Such antipathy towards the other side (and it goes both ways) has always arisen. That a recent well-qualified Supreme Court candidate could be held up for a year because he was 'from the other party' did not take into account his first-rate qualifications. (Fortunately, from what I see as a voting Independent, Gorsuch is also a first-rate candidate.) But Congress could, if it wanted to, come to a permanent solution to this kind of ridiculousness, agreeing not to allow candidates to be held hostage, and making it compulsory for up or down votes to be held during the exact tenancy of any and all presidents. As things stand now, one can imagine a Supreme Court judge dying a month after the election of a new president, and a proposed new candidate not being voted upon for four years!

As I look at friends I do notice some clear differences. A few tend to want to help those who don't even deserve helping -- these would be what I call excessively liberal Democrats -- and others who don't mind, for example, raping the earth. There are people making themselves exceptionally wealthy at everyone else's expense -- coal and oil come to mind, negatively affecting everyone's climate and atmosphere. Their aim is money, but there are hi-tech cleaner energy sources that have to be emphasized as we go forward. I do not wish to see, for example, beautifully cleaned-up rivers, cleared of pollutants now being proposed for use by massive oil barges; such things should be phased out rather than reverted to, for the mutual benefit of everyone.

There are also those who practise the philosophy of 'me, me, me', like that of our current president, but I submit that that's not productive. Why? Because, whether its family or country, it leads to dysfunction. I also have to wonder why the Republican party, with many good members, has put itself behind a shallow and self-important macho man with negligible knowledge of the world or history or politics, a vain character unable even to apologize for stupidities and misdeeds. Trump's statements such as 'I've just come from the Middle East' as he landed in Israel, or 'Obama was not born in America' are only two examples from many. And when shown Obama's actual birth certificate, Trump countered with a shrug -- no apology, no shame, that would be a sign of weakness. How can a whole party be taken in by such a person, whose words are those of pre-schoolers, and who claims he can solve any problem easily. How can a whole party be behind such incompetence?

Well, time is up. I'm just saying that good government means to compromise mindfully, and work things out intelligently -- which is different from playing football.

Dr. David Nightingale is Professor Emeritus of Physics at the State University of New York at NewPaltz and is the co-author of the text, A Short Course in General Relativity.

The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management.

Dr. David Nightingale is Professor Emeritus of Physics at the State University of New York at NewPaltz and is the co-author of the text, A Short Course in General Relativity.

The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management.