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  • Writer's pictureB. Thomas Marking

State of the Union

by President T. J. Carroll



Good evening to all my American brothers and sisters, wherever you are, on or off this planet.  Assembled before me is the top echelon of the elected and appointed leadership of our nation, and, as President, I am here to make the traditional annual report to them on the state of the union.  However, in this Information Age, they know as well as I the challenges we face, and they know what needs fixing. And yet here they sit. 


So --  I am dismayed to report to you all that our body politic is unwell.  It is under attack from a virulent new strain of an old plague.  This is an opportunistic virus that escaped from the political laboratory that was our fledgling nation.  In fact, our first President alerted us to its presence and raised the alarm in his farewell address.  George Washington still speaks to us with timeless truth, warning that the “spirit of party” will “enfeeble the sacred ties” that bind us as Americans.  His enlightened soul saw this disease as our nation’s worst enemy.  Quote:


“The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.”


Unquote.  While the germ of party has been in our body politic almost from birth, the worry now is that our antibodies are being diminished daily, allowing the cancer to spread.  This degeneration was first noted in our public media.  Turning away from their mission to inform, many radio and television networks  now serve only to indoctrinate. 

Social media then emerged as a promising new drug in the fight against misinformation.  However, it was quickly neutralized and subverted to facilitate the contagion of disunion.  The malady of party then spread to our educational institutions, from universities down to grade schools.  United States history is now synthesized rather than studied for its many hard-won lessons, and the minds of our young are now encouraged to indict, rather than to inquire.  Then follows the business world.  Billionaire CEOs now throw their wealth at partisan causes, without regard to the impact on their bottom lines, much less  the welfare of their employees.  Money, after all, is power in our diseased political system. 

 

Mirroring the whole of society, every branch of government is suffering from the same malady.  While patriotic and dedicated career civil servants in all 440 federal agencies labor to do their duty,, they are buried under several layers of partisan appointees, installed temporarily to do the bidding of the current ruling faction.  This particular strain of the virus is most destructive in the agencies and institutions whose mission it is to fairly enforce and interpret the laws that preserve society.


Thus, we seem to be on a path well marked by civilizations long expired – the path our first president feared most.  Oh, there are many fine Americans trying to address the symptoms of this political epidemic.  The cure, however, must first be administered at the source of the outbreak, in the houses wherein dwell the political leper colonies of our time – the parties.  


Every American knows that our political system is diseased, and every American knows the remedies required.  Unfortunately, every American has also realized by now that our Legislative Branch will never take the prescribed medications.  Even those fresh-faced candidates who promise to inject a healthy dose of reform are soon inoculated by their financial benefactors to support stasis.   


This condition of political malaise is unsustainable. The prognosis is a slow and painful death for the ideals that define America.  I, however, will not accept that this is our inevitable fate.  Therefore, I will begin, tomorrow, the development of a new vaccine -- a Citizen’s Select Committee on Congressional Reform.  They will report to me before year’s end on all the measures recommended to restore civility, cooperation, efficiency and fairness within the two houses of Congress, thereby restoring public trust in that institution.  Then, if Congress has not already turned the corner, I vow to mobilize the American electorate to force feed the required meds to Congress.


I think you know that what’s coming is going to taste like cod liver oil, but I’ll gladly give you a taste: 

**       Term limits.

**       Campaign Finance Reform 

**       The end of gerrymandering

**       A streamlined legislative process, immune from partisan alteration.

**       Real penalties for failure to produce a multi-year balanced budget.

**       An end to the attachment of riders unrelated to the core legislation.

**       Stricter ethical standards and external adjudication.

**       No exemptions from the laws imposed on other citizens or institutions.


This course of treatment, this political wellness program, may restore the American Congress to a position of respect within our nation and beyond our borders.  Furthermore, I expect this healthier lifestyle to spread from the Congress out through society, just as did the original contagion. Our Congress will become a model of civic virtue.


But I have one more bitter pill for all of us in this chamber to swallow.  It is time that we in government stopped behaving like parents and treating our citizens as children.  They have grown and matured over the centuries, acquiring wisdom perhaps surpassing our own.  It is past time that we recognize them as full partners in the American process of government, assigning them a central role in determining the major national policies that affect their lives. The constitutional amendment I have already proposed to Congress defines the process that will finally guarantee to The People the sovereignty they were promised so long ago.

 

The All Mighty has blessed America and given us a sense of destiny.  Therefore, let us here tonight highly resolve that this nation, under God, shall be reborn, and then once again lay claim to the title of “World’s Leading Democracy”. 

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