I believe we are witnessing a deep disenchantment of many American voters with those responsible for running the United States Government.
The belief in America itself runs deep in citizens. It has transcended a bloody civil war and the aftermath of racial inequities. It was sustained during the long depression of the 1930s and then powerfully unleashed by the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, ultimately defeating the Japanese/Nazi attempt for world domination.
This belief is built on and nurtured by America's founding principles of independence and equality, creating the dream that any American, through hard work and positive attitudes, can even become president.
Unfortunately, many Americans today feel we are losing the American Dream, because they have lost confidence and trust that the legislative and executive branch of government represent them.
To them, the nation's Capital has become the property of those who occupy it. The common 1st priority of legislators is to get elected; their 2nd is to get reelected. Following this priority is the battle for superiority of the Republican vs. Democratic agendas, which is fought nearly to a government shutdown.
These personal and political party priorities are increasingly influenced by lobbyist interests as well as by rich individuals, further separating our nation's leadership from most Americans. The net result is a warped America in which the rich continually get richer and the poor get poorer, while the middle class, previously the foundation of America, is disappearing.
America's greatness was built on the American Dream. Like any team, none of us in our country will be successful if we lose the glue that holds us together.
So I think the deeper message many American voters are sending to the Republican and Democratic parties is: Change or we will look elsewhere for presidential leadership.
Bernie Sanders is an avowed Socialist, a party that never had much success in America. Now he threatens to defeat the traditional Democratic candidate.
Is Donald Trump really a Republican? Certainly party officials don't seem to think so. Yet at this writing he seems likely to win the nomination.
I believe they are succeeding because they speak directly to the American people, not through their parties.
If this is in fact the key to their success, I suggest the more important, larger message is this:
To represent the government of the people, for the people and by the people of the United States, the first and foremost priority is to ensure American principles and people are fully respected. The failures of those who have governed us over the past few decades have allowed our land of opportunity to increasingly descend into one that favors the privileged while discriminating against the disadvantaged.
The priorities of governmental legislators should be in this order:
- The welfare of America and its people.
- The welfare of his/her constituency.
- The legislative body s/he swore to serve.
- The political party s/he represents.
- His/her own personal views.
It is assumed a legislator addresses all five of these priorities with conscience. "The art of compromise" allows the legislator to fulfill these priorities with a clear conscience, because s/he always knows whatever one's personal views, America is a powerful idea that includes all of us, and is always greater than any one of us.
I don't belong to any political party; I was disturbed with reported efforts to block the normal path to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court until after the election, which clearly seemed replacing No. 1 priority with No. 4 priority.
In our state of Maine, both Senators -- Susan Collins a Republican and Angus King an Independent -- believe we should proceed now. I believe they are individuals who respect those five priorities.
If all Washington legislators developed the same respect, they would not only restore people's trust and respect in our nation's Capital, I believe they would lead a renaissance of America.