There comes a time in great civilizations when progress begins to slow down. There is a moment when people in any walk of life, any industry, any reason of things they do, begin to see that the world is failing to move us as a society forward. When forward progress is slowed or even stopped, it falters our inspiration, slows our growth, and cripples our journey into the future.
Throughout the millennia, the status quo is harbored by those who are complacent by the current moment, whether that be the speed of innovation, the amount of capital invested in industry, and/or the certain social momentum that brings society forward without leaving past traditions behind. For some, stagnant progress enriches when, in reality, it constricts many. Most of society’s leaps ahead are based on predictions. However, such predictions are fundamentally based on things in which they are trying to escape. Predictions of the future are often based upon the abilities of those who rely upon the accomplishments of the status quo. History is littered with examples of such.
According to an internal memo by Western Union in 1876, “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.” With “us” being the key phrase here, those in power are sometimes blind to the wishes of others because of their own internal capabilities and mission to enrich themselves, thus becoming a slave of their own desires.
On October 9, 1903, The New York Times commentated on the probability of human flight by stating, “…it might be assumed that the flying machine which will really fly night be evolved by the combined and continuous efforts of mathematicians and mechanicians in from one million to ten million years…” This of course was proven wrong by the Wright Brothers achieving sustained, fixed-wing flight just two months after that article was published.
It was not just in the beginning of the twentieth century that predictions based on others abilities were made, such false predictions are still made in our common era. In USA Today, in the April 30, 2007 edition, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer claimed, just after the first iPhone rolled off the production line, that the device would not receive any significant market share. Again, this was just before Apple created a device that would transform the technology industry and change the way in which people interacted with each other by putting a computer in the hands of a large fraction of the people of Earth. The people saw this device has revolutionary to their daily needs and wants, thus opening an entirely new notion as to communicate faster, more creatively with each other.
This brings me to the discussion of the political climate. In 2016, there were vast predictions regarding the outcome of the presidential election – mostly ending in Hilary Clinton’s absolute, unadulterated victory. Those in the media were very sure of this due to the information they were receiving from their own circles. These circles contain most of the Washington ruling class, Hollywood stars, social dignitaries, and many more individuals who have lost touch with reality throughout their lives. It’s really no fault of their ow, though. It’s tough to get out of your comfort zone. It’s tough to relate with people who come from exceedingly different backgrounds, but it’s something that needs to be done to keep your feet on the ground.
There is no debate that both political parties are less than stellar. This is due to many things: fighting within the parties, lack of leadership, uninspiring rhetoric, and inaction. I believe that the lackluster performance from many on The Hill is because they have lost touch with us. When one gains power over others – political power – it seems inevitable that a moral weakness develops in the person who exercises that power. It may take time for this weakness to become visible, creating a problem from within the solution.
The problem with politics is politics itself. Aristotle said that humans are political beings – combined in power with both speech and reason. However, it seems that now our speech far outweighs our reason, rather than our reason defining our speech. Our reason is the basis for our speech; it is only the platform from which we act. Speech has power and that power can do many things – even change the way in which we perceive the world. In a world where perception is now reality, the media controls perception, thus dictating predictions. This was most certainly demonstrated when Mika Brezinski of the show Morning Joe was explaining the play of then-candidate Trump, “He is trying to undermine the media and trying to make up his own facts,” she said about Trump. “And it could be that while unemployment and the economy worsens, he could have undermined the messaging so much that he can actually control exactly what people think.” “And that, that is our job,” she noted, referring to the media. Of course, we all know now that it is the media’s job to control what we the people think.
Since LBJ’s Great Society, elected Democrats, mainly establishment Democrats, have lived off of promising people handouts without any real answer to their plight – only putting bandages on open, festering wounds. How is it that in the same 50 years since the civil rights bills were introduced, single motherhood went from 20 percent to over 70 percent today? Why is it that under liberal criminal justice reform policies that the government incarcerated black fathers and replaced them with the state?
For over half a century, they have flourished by increasing their power to control the population. I have long thought the lack of political and societal progress in this country was to be blamed on the fact that establishment types on either side of the political spectrum are either dumb, or just don’t care. However, both are incorrect. I now believe that as one becomes accustomed to being a part of the ruling class, they lose touch with what really matters and lose the moral imperative which brought them to the forefront in the first place.
Democrats have used fear to create an opposition that they can control. Their predictions are based on misinformation that steers the minds of those that vote for them to give the party elites more power. They have now also become defined by what Nancy Pelosi stated, “We [Democrats] are the opposition party.”
Republicans have not been the greatest either. For years, while the Democrats have been the party of bad ideas, the Republicans have been the party of no ideas. Since the election of Donald Trump, many Republicans have been frightened. This is due to endless allegations of sexual misconduct, racism, and seeming out-of-touch with their constituencies. However, instead of fighting back against unfound claims and blatantly false information and allegations, Republicans continue to apologize for themselves.
This party needs a change – a big one. The Republican Party must cease being a horde of niche politics based on the opinions on those who have never had to struggle to pay rent, never had to choose between having heat or food for the month, having to sacrifice their future of college to provide for their families.
We need leaders that disregard that calculated tactics of political consultants who tell candidates the areas in which they should campaign and the areas that are “Democratic strongholds” or “Republican holdouts.” For too long the strategy for electing a candidate to office has been the decision of the least worst – there are no better candidates. We have put our trust and well-being in the hands of those whom have neither in their interest.
The phrase “absolute power corrupts absolutely” has come to near fruition. Being elected to higher office, being thrust into the spotlight, or becoming a titan of industry does not make one better than the others – it only gives them more responsibility. That responsibility is only met with the reward of honor and honor has no quantitative value. The qualitative value, however, is the forward progression of society for the benefit of us all.
The American people have been yearning for someone who inspires us not through braggadocio, or bullish commentary, but through faith and formidableness. The aristocracy is dead, for it should have never existed in the first place.
A storm is coming. The thinking of the past will not aid troubles of the present and future. Abraham Lincoln once said, “I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.” We have forgotten that the United States government is of the people, for the people, and by the people – not the other way around. Our Congress should fear us – not the other way around. Our leaders should be workers and not just a cog in the machine of the ruling class. Reality is staring us in the face and it is our job, the people’s job to perceive it and how best to handle it in order to push ourselves forward into the future.
We must realize that we have the power to begin the world over again. Our inalienable right to alter or abolish this government is not just a constitutional right, but a societal and spiritual imperative. We must have people in government that are not there to forward their own agenda, but the agendas of every single person they represent, because that is who matters – that is our, “e pluribus unum.”
By Alex Lemieux