Divided States of America: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation

The United States is frittering away its role as a model for the rest of the world. The political system is plagued by an absurd level of hatred, the economy is stagnating and the infrastructure is falling into a miserable state of disrepair. On this election eve, many Americans are losing faith in their country’s future (…..) Does this sort of a stonewalling already signify collapse of a representative democracy? Naturally, an opposition party’s role must be to fight government’s policies. Nevertheless, such deep-seated opposition as there has been in the Barack Obama years is unprecedented in the last few decades of American politics. Many bills were never even put to a vote in Congress, because Republicans, more frequently than ever before, threatened to use or did in fact deploy the so-called filibuster, a delay tactic with which votes on the legislation can be completely obstructed. In last five years, Republicans in Congress have used the filibuster a record-breaking 385 times, or as much as it was used in the seven decades between World War I and the end of the administration of former President Ronald Reagan in 1989. According to a current study, since 2007 Republican lawmakers have tried to torpedo more than 70% of all bills before they were even put to a vote. This applied to only 27% of proposed legislation in 1980s, and only 8 percent in the 1960s. “This level of obstruction is extremely unusual,” Norman Ornstein, a congressional scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, told Newsweek. “And core of the problem is GOP.” The claims that Republican leaders agreed, on the day of Obama’s inauguration, Jan. 20, 2009, to rigidly block his policies, are now well-supported by credible reporting. In the last four years, it seems as if one half of America, the Republicans, has been determined to spoil everything for the other half, the Democrats, regardless of issue and whether or not these obstructive tactics have helped or harmed the public good. This is hardly anything less than a systemic crisis. This obstructionism is largely attributable to the group within the Republican Party known as the Tea Party. As filmmaker Sorkin claims, the coalition of ultraconservatives has developed into the “American Taliban.” They view Darwin’s Theory of Evolution as the stuff of the devil, homosexuals as diseased and women as subordinate to men. They oppose contraception and are so filled with hate in their efforts to ban abortion they don’t seem to object when violent anti-abortion activists burn down the offices of liberal doctors. They claim that according to the American Constitution, the United States is a Christian country, which isn’t true, their platform contains demands to eliminate all taxes or even get rid of the central government altogether. All of this could be dismissed as some marginal aberration if Tea Party were not such a driving force behind Republicans, shaping tone and superficial content of entire political discourse. And when there is also a lack of perseverance on the part of government, an accusation that does apply to Obama administration, when important proposals are abandoned in the face of the slightest resistance, the work to shape future of United States, which its founding fathers saw as “work in progress,” becomes gridlocked in a fundamental way. This gridlock applies to all political spheres. America’s schools, for which the country spends more than any other nation on earth, are more like “dropout factories” in big cities like Chicago and the capital, Washington. Some 1.3 million students drop out of high school each year in the US before they have the chance to graduate (…..)

Link: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/divided-states-of-america-notes-on-the-decline-of-a-great-nation-a-865295.html


Acerca de ignaciocovelo
Consultor Internacional


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