Climate Change Alert | Opinion | Salt Lake City Weekly

Climate Change Alert 

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Anyone who thinks the midterm Senate elections were fair, simply isn't thinking. The dirty tricks of (mostly) Republican election officials were responsible for the disenfranchisement of millions of voters on the basis of unnecessarily picayunish signature matching or the unfortunate situation of not having an official street address. The number of disallowed votes was staggering, and that alone had the potential for corrupting the election process. That's awful stuff, but the election meddling, mostly on the basis of race and income, is only part of the problem. Those of us who have spent our lives believing in a government of the people, by the people, for the people, are facing the daunting, uncomfortable reality of a greatly-flawed U.S. political system.

Regardless of what the founding fathers envisioned, today, they rest uneasily in their graves, wondering if their dreams will survive. They never fathomed that greed would overpower the Constitution, that votes would be shamelessly bought by the country's special interests, that the nation's justice and court system could become a punitive arm of the executive branch, and that race and religion would provide the criteria on which to base exercise of constitutional guarantees. Nor did they even imagine that their country could be headed toward a ruthless autocracy, led by a substandard president who is no more than a common thug. Those patriots who nurtured our country's first breaths were by no means perfect, but I'd be willing to bet not one of them could be the boorish, pussy-grabbing, monster who sits in our White House today.

The protections set up by those men should have foreclosed the risks of a morally-and-socially-bereft, rabid ruler who fails to measure up even to the lowest leadership standard, and who manipulates the workings of government to serve only himself. He is a toxic narcissist, a term that was yet un-coined in the 1700s—though history had already suffered dearly from their existence. Every society has had its share of what I call—for no better word—evil. Men (and women) who have no conscience, lie with a charming glibness, feel empathy for no one, and fear truth as the unbearable witness of whom and what they really are. Alexander the Great, Henry VIII, Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler are a few examples. All have left destruction and pain in their paths.

As if horrendous leadership isn't enough of a curse on Americans, we also face an alarming specter—the individual citizen's place in elections being drowned-out by a truly shocking reality—that the popular vote, the very core of a democracy, means essentially nothing. We've seen it over and over, candidates who are elected without the winning numbers. Elections like the 2016 presidential election and the 2018 midterm are making it abundantly clear that the American voter is only a small cog in a cumbersome, complex, and frighteningly fallible mechanism, and that our system's design makes it dangerously vulnerable to catastrophic failure when a narcissist is at its helm.

One of those vulnerabilities is the screaming question, "How can voters show such remarkable strength, dramatically tilting the balance of the House while being soundly trounced in the Senate race? One would logically believe that, since the anti-President Donald Trump numbers exceeded his allies by more than 6 million, the Senate results would have corresponded with the House thrashing.

It doesn't seem to make any sense, but that's the way the founding fathers formed our government. Somehow, they totally reneged on the value of the individual vote, instead making the majority subject to the minority's political agenda and allowing an electoral college to usurp the power of the people. Additionally, the system is rigged to marginalize and devalue voters in the heavily populated industrial states, while embracing the worth of voters who just happen to live in mostly-rural communities. Wisdom seemed to dictate that the little states would be heard; it was done to ensure that they were not overrun by the big ones, but it also gave small voices excessive power. That's contrary to the premise of majority rule.

Trump's continuing control of the Senate, despite a popular Democratic majority of millions—should be a concern for everyone. While the promises of draining the swamp are still echoing in our minds from Trump's mostly-noise, self-aggrandizement in the 2016 campaign, it seems that, much like rising sea levels due to elevated world temperatures, the political climate is causing the slime to get deeper. Like his appointments of foxes to protect the hen house, he has given the gators the job of patrolling the swamp. This is true of Trump's musical-chairs cabinet, and even more important, it has totally compromised the Supreme Court's ability to decide America's most important constitutional questions.

Just an afterthought: Think how much better off America would be today, if Fred and Mary Anne Trump had simply exercised pro-choice. Yes, there really are some babies that should never have been born.

The author is a retired businessman and a former U.S. Army assistant public information officer. He lives in Riverton with his wife, Carol, and one mongrel dog. Send feedback to

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