Tear it Down 8/13/20

Thoughts by Richard Bleil

Attorney General William Barr had an interesting quote, apparently in an effort to appeal to the Republican base and frighten people from voting Democrat. He accused the left of wanting to tear the entire system down. The exact quote is “I think the left has essentially withdrawn from this model, and really represents a Rousseauian revolutionary party that believes in tearing down the system.” “Rousseauian” refers to a philosophy by Jean Jacque Rousseau (1712-1778) to believed that people are essentially good until corrupted by civilization.

My first thought, as usual with this man, was “what an idiot.” But, then, I came to a realization that he might actually be right. I consider myself a liberal, and, yes, I do want to tear the system down.

American politics have been morphing, taking the power of the people and giving it to the powerful few. Recently it’s been demonstrated that hundreds of millions of dollars in small business relief funds were taken by the ultra-wealthy spent hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying Congress to cut taxes. This is a dangerous cycle that cannot be sustained and represents an oligarchy that has been built on top of our democratic way of life. As more money is spent supporting big businesses that honestly should be self-sustaining by now (like oil subsidies for example) and taxes on the ultra-wealthy are continuously cut, there comes a point where there simply will be no income to direct towards the wealthy any longer. Then what? Economic collapse? Yes, as a liberal I want to tear down the oligarchy system and return to capitalism where people are expected to pay their fair share based on income.

For the past four years, we’ve seen a president, with the full support of his party, trying to staff every department with loyalists, including those that should remain independent such as the judicial system and justice system. William Barr himself is currently employed thanks to this effort to muscle out any independent thinkers, as many attorney generals were fired for refusing to open politically motivated investigations with no purpose but to help the president win a re-election or discard proof of wrongdoing in the 2016 election, or even the upcoming one. As Barr rails against the left claiming they only want “complete political victory”, the current Republican party has stated a goal of stacking judges with as many “friendly” judges to their cause as possible. Yes, as a liberal I want to tear down the corruption and bias intended to favor one party over the other, and one group of people over the rest.

Tearing down failed systems is the only way to change, and we need positive change today. Even many Republicans are expressing concern for the direction of their party. Unfortunately, people fear change, which is why incumbent politicians are so overwhelmingly elected to additional terms despite what they’ve done in office. The adage is “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t”, but if you know there’s a devil, why keep giving the devil power?

Even our bodies tear down old systems. When we exercise, physiologically we are tearing down weak muscle tissue so it can be replaced with stronger. Our skin cells grow old, die and sluff off making room for new ones to build. Ironically, what I want to tear down is not what our nation is built on, but what was built on our principles.

The more I see, the more I realize that our nation has drifted away from the founding principles. Citizens and states have given too much power to the federal government. Thanks to tax breaks and three “trickle-down” presidents, the chasm between the classes has reached what feels to me to be a critical level. As the middle class is taxed to the point of breaking, the wealthy continue hoarding money and spending it on lobbyists to make more money in a feedback loop that feels suspiciously close to “kickbacks”. The concept of all men being created equal has morphed into that old joke of “but some are more equal than others” as the justice system leans to favor white upper-class men over any other demographic. Our budget resembles that of an expansionist nation as opposed to a peaceful one while cuts are the rule of thumb for education, health and social support.

Yes, I want to tear the system down and get back to who we were envisioned to be by our founding fathers. Of course, it helps to recognize that change is nothing to be afraid of.

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