Like it or not, the president of the United States embodies America itself. The individual inhabiting the White House has become the preeminent symbol of who we are and what we represent as a nation and a people. In a fundamental sense, he is us.
Well, here is another possibility, one which I am currently researching. The group Represent.Us, is looking to organize regular citizens both progressive and conservative to remove all the bribery, graft and corruption from American politics. They believe we can work together because All agree that Big Money corrupts. Check it out!
“I am by temperament a conservative and a traditionalist, wary of revolutionary movements that more often than not end up being hijacked by nefarious plotters more interested in satisfying their own ambitions than in pursuing high ideals. Yet even I am prepared to admit that the status quo appears increasingly untenable. Incremental change will not suffice. The challenge of the moment is to embrace radicalism without succumbing to irresponsibility.”
Bravo Andrew - and I like all of your suggestions.
I sense a movement, and not just in this article, towards solution-oriented thinking.
And I am all for it.
We all have a job to do - survival is at stake.
Let’s get on with it.
WOW! This is the most intelligent and comprehensive article that I’ve read in years, on this particular topic! Professor Bacevich is most likely too honest to ever become President, although his intelligence is sorely needed there! His ideas and thoughts, however, stand on their own! This essay should be required reading in all High Schools and Colleges. It is essential to understanding how we got here. It is the best History text yet written that so perfectly summarizes the interplay of politics, economics, war, technology, social trends and prevailing myths of the last three decades in America.
Thank you, Mr. Bacevich! If my reply does not do your writing justice, it is only because words fail me.
Copy that nighthawk !
Thank you, Mr Bacevich, for raising the level of discourse once again. Your work, and your vision, comprise a breath of fresh air in a debate grown all too stale, divisive, and bitter.
I love all of the suggestions in your agenda except for the balanced budget item… Without deficit spending, FDR could never have enacted the New Deal, so I think there is a place for it. When it lets us believe that we don’t have to decide between guns and butter, as you point out, then it’s being used inappropriately. But this shouldn’t preclude its use for positive change. For instance, I would put us deeply in debt if that would enable us to mount the kind of mobilization of resources needed to seriously address climate change, or to provide equity in opportunity, health care, education, housing, or food security for each other.
Wow. Cool group; thanks for the link.
The good professor meets the rest of us walking down the road. Aside from his surprising call for more immediate action (responsible action of course), the question that comes to mind after reading this essay is just who should do the ‘We shoulds’ suggestions he cites.
Yes we need to rid our democracy of the elitist Electoral College. Um? How?
Yes we need to end gerrymandering but the question is how?
Remove oligarchy’s direct access to political policy? Fine. By amending the constitution? Whoa! What is to stop them from ‘amending’ in ways that we wouldn’t like. A constitutional convention opens the Pandora’s box and what America would be after it is opened is anyone’s guess!
A balanced budget? Um? No comment! Lol
A return to the draft! The professor avoided using the actual word but he is talking about a draft. A non military term of service in communities etc would be better than a return to involuntary military service. Perhaps in environmental service?
Better taxes? Does he mean our not giving more tax cuts to the rich? Isn’t that some kind of a sin?
Free college, real job creation and action on climate change (the latter two have a direct connection possible)
A third party?
A venerable list of ‘we shoulds’ which most of us already know (and agree with - sans the draft) but as always professor, it is the **how tos’ that are what we need to know!
A list of how tos would be helpful!
The 5th preliminary step - a conservation corps effort -
could be the best or worst step. CCC vs Twitler Youth.
Absent IMO is nationalizing the rails. BNSF Buffett won’t do it.
GM and Ford can’t see the EV handwriting on the wall. Wrongfully,
they’d like us to believe the self-driving car idea isn’t totally idiotic.
“So when Chester A. Arthur (1881-1885) or William Howard Taft (1909-1913) left the White House, there was no rush to immortalize them by erecting gaudy shrines – now known as “presidential libraries” – to the glory of their presidencies. In those distant days, ex-presidents went back home or somewhere else where they could find work.”
you would never guess that taft went on to become CJ of S Ct
Feeling your fear Mr. Bacevich,
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
Indeed, but there will be no mulligans on this one - it’s war against all by all - women hating men, men hating women, every ethnic group demanding equal opportunity, LGBTQIA community demanding their day in the sun and finally, white privilege, being the patsy for it all. This cannot end well.
Meanwhile, the wars go on as they go on.
“INCREMENTAL CHANGE WILL NOT SUFFICE.”
I’m almost all the way with you, manysummits, and nighthawk. Yall are right 90% if you agree with Andrew Bacevich.
I do read tomdispatch.
The terminology I’m inclined to use for Bacevich’s point I disagree with (#4) is terminology it seems I can no longer really get straight. First encounted it reading a Thomas Palley article in Atlantic Monthly back in mid-90s. It’s “demand-driven” (or demand-led) vs “debt-driven.” I’m guessing this TRNN spot gets demand-driven right (scanned it quick just now). My idea of debt-driven is, for example, QE that goes to banks and stays with banks.
NOT INCREMENTAL is the profound point. We’re supposed to be a “multi-tasking” society, but no one can see this??? I agree with Bacevich that NOTHIN will work…without all 9 pts together [or maybe he figures little will work without all of’em…I know he wrote time to begin the debate, etc]. Yep, minus one. Sorry, but IMO you’re not gonna close all the loopholes and raise taxing levels fast enough…to offset gov created jobs (which we should have). The wealthy have to see the light…that it’ll work. Then they’ll come onboard for raised rates. What I propose is “Bacevich Bonds”…all buyers endorse the other 9 points…ALL of’em. Yeah, maybe they’d start off as ideological bonds…but we need a solid name behind’em to get the thing roll’n. My old party the Dems have gone off the rails pump’n up Russia and ignoring other factors, cause…they’re too “complex,” as Masha Gessen puts it. They’ve flipped over to McCarthyistic mindset is what it is. For once in a way, glad my mother’s on another plane.
“Is it Time for a New Deal Federal Jobs Program?” (Bill Black and Stephanie Kelton…and Jay) http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=16683
As long as money is legally regarded as speech and corporations as people, working within the system to effect change is chasing one’s tail, unless, of course, you happen to be a billionaire or a corporation. We might get lucky and actually land some responsible people in office to temporarily relieve inequality and the excesses of our corporatocracy, but a political system that runs on money can never be permanently reformed. It will always be one or two bought politicians away from slipping right back to where we are now.
Bacevich’s laundry list of things to change makes for a good discussion, but most of us could come up with our own version at this point. The harsh reality is that the power elite in this country will not allow anyone’s laundry list of things to change see the light of day via the voting booth. A functioning democracy this is not. The status quo will be defended against all opponents. Sharpen your pitchforks, people. The system will need to do a crash and burn, as in a true revolution, before any real change can be made and if we wait long enough, climate change will literally do it for us.
I see a glimmer of hope with local communities striking out on their own in defiance of federal and state laws to protect themselves and their environment. This may be the way the first battle lines are drawn in a much needed revolution. It won’t start from the top.
Drones’ll spot the fresh gleam on your pitchforks, cause they’ll be hovering by the barn window.
Yeats’s one poem (The Second Coming) has produced more usable quotes for titles and references than any work of Shakespeare.
The crude Andrew Jackson’s 1828 ousting of an impeccably pedigreed president, John Quincy Adams, was nothing compared to the vulgar Donald Trump’s defeat of an impeccably credentialed graduate of Wellesley and Yale who had served as first lady, United States senator, and secretary of state.
Hillary was an historically bad candidate, from a party that was corrupt.
I’ve liked just about every piece that Bacivich has written as well as a couple appearances on Democracy Now. I would vote for him in a second over even a more progressive rival (I guess because I am an elitist so I like the idea of actually having a smart person in the job - he’s much smarter than Obama in my opinion).
I don’t know his position on a few key areas - it would be too painful to vote for someone who wasn’t behind some form of universal health care that didn’t involve for profit insurance companies in any way. I’m sure he’d be good on environmental positions.
But Trump was, and is, worse! Much worse!
What an anticlimax to this remarkably clarifying essay that universal health care was not numbered as one of the foremost prescriptions for change. It represents a binding together of citizens. It shows that our government, in caring for us, cares for us. The difference that would make in our perceptions of the worth of ourselves and our governing bodies cannot be exaggerated. In fact, I’d recommend (as a ‘how to’, wereflea) beginning with the last of the recommendations. I want to vote for the Single Payer Party. That would be our platform, with other like-minded ideas to follow.
In other words, recruit Bernie Sanders for a third party.