Where we're headed (a.k.a. I'm worried)

(These are some thoughts I've had after reading To Combat Trump, Democrats Ready a G.O.P. Tactic: Lawsuits in the New York Times.)

I'm worried.

I'm worried about my country.

Believe it or not, I'm not talking about Trump. Of course he's horrible, and he's something to be seriously worried about, but I think he's really only a symptom of a much deeper issue in America, which is this: we are in an arms race with ourselves. (One might also describe it as civil war.)

I mean, think about it. Republicans (I'll get to Democrats in just a sec) have spent the last 8 years creating and perfecting tools to block legislation from going through. Government is about compromise, and they refuse to compromise. They shut down the government for cheap political points[1], continually and covertly passed almost-but-not-quite-unconstitutional antiabortion laws, and topped it all off with a taxpayer-funded lawsuit againt President Obama - just to name a few malicious maneuvers they've used.

Now that Republicans control both Congress and the White House, Democrats are gearing up to use those exact same tactics against Republicans. It's shameful behavior, and it's unbefitting for a democracy. This country is supposed to be about elected officials finding ways to compromise with each other so that everyone's as happy as possible, but instead it's turned into a situation where everyone is laser-focused on pushing through their full political agenda, no matter how unproductive it is and no matter what the cost.

Here's the big problem: I may think it's shameful behavior, but that doesn't mean I don't support the Dems. I completely support it, because the incoming administration's agenda is completely horrific to me. I support the Democrats' intent to utilize lawsuits because I don't think politics is just a game; it's life-or-death. Somewhere out there, there's a kid who's dying because conversion therapy has pushed them to the brink of suicide. It's a glaring human rights abuse, and Mike Pence wants to fund it.

Republicans may have invented the do-nothing Congress, but now they can't put the genie back in the bottle. The Democrats and the Republicans are now stuck in a legal arms race, and neither of them can turn back because then the other side would destroy them. And that makes me very worried, because if we're in an arms race, that begs the question: what's the breaking point? And what happens when we hit it?

I don't have the answer to these questions. I don't know how to stop us from reaching that breaking point. I dunno, maybe if we were all just... more patient? But sadly, that seems extremely unlikely. Sometimes I wonder if there simply isn't anything to be done - if America is the great experiment in democracy, maybe this is just the inevitable failure of that experiment.

All I really know is that we need to do something, and soon. Because if we don't, we will grind ourselves out of existence.


[1]: we actually know for a fact - from staff present at an early meeting - that none of those orchestrating the shutdown believed it would accomplish anything. They just wanted to score points with their base. This is fact.

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