THE CAPITOL CONNECTION: How safe is our democracy?

THE CHANGE OF SEASONS is upon us. There is that moment when we realize that the long days of summer are almost over. The heat wave has passed and one swims at one’s personal discomfort. You look at the massive clouds in the sky and you realize that we will soon be seeing snow and ice. Maybe you have a friend who has fallen on the ice and you remember how dangerous things can get. You proceed at some risk. There are potholes in the road and the sidewalk is buckling. If you trip on a hole in the road, you can reach out to try to break your fall and end up breaking three fingers in the process. That’s what I did, and it brought home the fact that as you age, the risk of breaking bones increases. Now we know why it is so important that the people to whom we pay taxes keep the roads in good condition.

It only takes seconds to change your life for many months. I’m talking about doctors and hospitals and a whole change in lifestyle. It’s all a matter of odds. If you put that left hand out to break your fall, you risk changing your life. That’s when it’s time to make new rules for self-preservation. My new rule is to always look down.

The change in seasons also makes you aware of other changes around you. It’s clear to all of us that the politics of our nation are also in flux. We may have once thought that our democracy would last forever but we know now how easily it can be put at risk. This Trump guy came along and was willing to subvert what we thought was a near permanent democracy. He surely represents a clear and present danger. Now the feds are after him big time because he appears to have played fast and loose with the rules and in doing so, put all of us in real danger. When he left the White House he is believed to have taken some very important, classified documents with him that could very well compromise our nation’s security. You could only wonder what he might have done had he been reelected. Read more…

THE CAPITOL CONNECTION: Are police corrupt?

WE KNOW THAT POWER CORRUPTS and, as Lord Acton famously put it, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

We certainly know that power resides in certain places. We’ve all seen how from time to time, police officers have been known to abuse their physical and legal power. When we witness a police officer putting his knee on the neck of a perceived perpetrator, for example, there can be a huge public reaction. I suspect that the majority of people who choose to get into law enforcement are doing so for the right reasons, but as in any profession, there are bad apples and these are the ones I’m talking about.

Frankly, I would not like to be a cop. Part of the problem is that cops tend to stick together. If someone on a police force acts out, there is always the question as to whether or not his fellow officers will call “foul.” There is indeed a “thin blue line” that, all too often, is not crossed. There are a lot of rats in New York City. But when you are called a “rat” in a police department, it is a very serious charge. The police are not alone in calling out rats. We know that virtually every profession considers double crossers to be undercutting others in their primary group. Hey, college professors do it to people in their ranks. Read more…

THE CAPITOL CONNECTION: We need more ‘fixes’ to our laws

IF THERE IS ONE THING I AM WORRIED ABOUT, it’s the possibility that Donald Trump will once again be “elected” president of the United States. The man is a tyrant. The January 6th Committee has shown without a doubt that Trump doesn’t play fair and is willing to cheat. Let’s face it—there was a real attempt by the Republican Party to steal the election and they aren’t finished. It’s clear that there are many ways to put the fix in. All they have to do is make rules that will ensure that their side will win. The instrument to do that in many states, mostly red in color, is the state legislature, which sets the rules. As the old saying goes, “Money talks, all others walk.”

When you assert that you stick to fair and democratic procedures but in actuality, you load the game so that you will win, you undermine people’s faith in our democratic institutions and do grievous harm to our system of government. When that happens, you are dealing a mortal blow to our ability to fairly govern ourselves.

You and I both know that it’s all about money. The more you have, the better your chances to win. You can spend it on television advertising or in newspapers or putting your message on line. You can hire lobbyists and public relations people. The problem is that there is inevitably a quid pro quo involved. In many cases, politics has become a “fee for service” arrangement. If you want something, you find some money to make it happen and if that means supporting someone’s run for public office with that money, that’s what you do. Those with reservoirs of money have a lot more power than those who do not share their good fortune. Read more…