My country, our country, is failing. Like physician to patient, one has to assess vital functions, deduce the causes, and plan the treatments. Our patient, the USA, should be in the emergency room now but she seems to ignore the pain and staggers along while her friends and enemies watch and wait.
The USA has great bones on this North American continent – abundant space, natural resources, and a framework called the Constitution, where the nutrients of the body (we the people) can thrive if we maintain a healthy lifestyle. But like the citizens themselves, the body has largely grown obese, disorganized and is losing function all too quickly. Why?
Great bones require great muscles working in coordination, but the USA’s muscles, industry, education and government, are increasingly not working together, with regional disfunction brought on by lack of a strong central nervous system.
The muscles aren’t getting the nutrients they need because the cardiovascular system is weakened like our infrastructure. Our roads and bridges are crumbling and have not grown to keep pace with the body. Our electrical grid is nearly as old as our oldest citizen.
The brain, being the center of the central nervous system, has to be operating at full capacity daily, therefore the executive branch must be led by an intelligent, educated, worldly, self-sacrificing person and staff who make decisions to benefit the entire body, not just the head or specific organs. A fish rots starting at the head; and we have born witness to a dysfunctional brain that no longer accepted and processed new information. This led to erratic misfiring (behavior) causing multiple system failures.
In contrast, a healthy brain accepts neuronal stimuli, processes it and responds appropriately for the best outcome of the body. A healthy brain does not attack its own systems, organs, body, but directs energy to fight the disease, to mend the broken, to nurture and heal. The recent past administration (brain) did the opposite. It disregarded the neural inputs such as intelligence briefings, scientific evidence, expert medical opinion, facts. It endangered the body just as does a virulent virus that eventually kills the host, and it’s response to a global pandemic was to first deny, then eventually attack it with rapid response developing vaccines followed by politicizing those same vaccines after the body rejected the brain. This resulted in hundreds of thousands of lives lost by having a large percentage of the body ignore and refuse the prevention. The current administration at least recognizes the problems and listens to expert opinions but it responds like an aging brain; slowly and timidly.
Similar to a body attacked with multiple infections, our Immune system is overloaded with diseases from within, losing its ability to fight those from outside. The three branches of government collectively act as the body’s immune system, with each checking the others in order to maintain healthy balance and normal function. But they no longer are functioning normally. For instance, one large part of the legislative branch, and more alarmingly of late, the judicial branch, has largely surrogated itself to the other (executive branch) such as Republican Senators were to the president, and remain so even though there has been a change in leadership brought about by the body’s removal of the old brain. Meanwhile the sickness spread to the judicial branch by destruction of the normal functions via a team effort of the past administration and abuse of power of the legislative branch selecting partisan justices – likened to a shot of stimulants that brought temporary pleasure at the expense of long-term health (an impartial and independent judiciary).
The body has become weakened by the same virus – one that started long ago and has been growing in number of disenfranchised groups of citizens. Those citizens have become an infection that has attacked the vital organs of a functioning compromising Congress, an informed electoral college, and most catastrophically, elected a diseased brain and pay homage to that brain despite its obvious sickness. What supports this diagnosis?
For our complex system to work, we must have an “informed electorate”. One that is knowledgeable about the roles of its governmental system, and the extremely important role of the free press. The USA must have a voting block that understands the importance of, and recognizes, facts versus “false truths”.
In the past few presidential elections, it has been damningly apparent that this is becoming quite the opposite. People are largely uninformed because they have gone to their bubbles and only listen to the messages that appeal to them. Fox News is like a steady drip of narcotic painkiller to the Trumpian tribe while MSNBC provides the vitamin B shot to the left.
Both cases of the extreme represent the sickness that the body must fight, not enable, such as the past brain was doing with one while trying to eliminate the other (cutting off the nose to spite the face).
We need to return to an informed electorate. This will require making a clear distinction between talking heads and news reporting, fact vs. fiction, as the lines have become blurred. So how do we fix this? First, we must free the patient of dependency on the constant drip of harmful medications by identifying ‘fake’ news. This will be one of the greatest challenges because of the surgical precision needed to remove false content in news reporting while protecting free speech.
We need to unclog the arteries of information that feed our democracy: real-time fact checking of politicians and reporting. But who shall do the fact checking? This is possible in today’s high- speed digital world. A panel of industry and governmental representatives, scientists and specialist, and non-partisan organizations could be created to edit what the internet promotes as facts so that they truly are the best representation of human knowledge today; and then train AI to do the work in real-time. This task certainly does not belong to the titans of the internet and social media because there is no assurance of avoiding conflict of interest.
Education and physical therapy are needed to re-train the brain and body (inform the electorate) to function normally again using reason and logic to respond to stimuli versus reliance on basal reactions only. This requires investing in education, in teachers (paying a competitive living wage), modernizing schools and curriculum; and bringing back a healthy dose of history, government and civics. Without this, history does repeat itself and the uninformed elect poor leaders, or worse give rise to dictators.
We must remove the cancer that has invaded our electoral system. Break the cycle of the body fighting itself (Rs versus Ds) like a surge of rampaging T-cells attacking the very organs they are to protect. Inoculate the body to lessen the destruction by introducing a third political party that will force the others to work harder at compromise to help organs and systems function synergistically.
Introduce a second treatment of term limits for politicians. This will expunge the tired old cells and/or dangerous cancers that exist due to their parasitic evolution of siphoning resources to feed themselves (and their constituent organs) at the expense of the body.
Work the muscles and strengthen the body: invest heavily in re-building infrastructure, creating a positive feedback loop of: a contented population via a living wage and access to affordable healthcare, informed voters, renewable energy, equitable taxation, security brought by reversal of accelerating climate change – generating wealth for all.
Randall Jones, D.E. (PhD, MBA)