Writing

Piece 55 – Weep for the Nation by. Raimondo Graziano

Weep for the Nation
By. Raimondo Graziano

This Monday that just passed, November the 11th 2019, was Veterans Day, for anyone who may not have been aware. It is a day where we honor all veterans of the United States Armed Forces. It is also a day to thank current service members for the important work they do of defending our nation’s shores. Regardless of how anyone may feel about the reasoning behind this country’s military engagements, disparaging those that serve is the lowest, basest most unpatriotic act a citizen not in uniform, not entrenched both figuratively literally on the front lines of honor and duty can commit – treason being the second. There are certain themes within the American body politic that are common to all Americans that go far above partisan divides. Ideals, ideas and a vision that is uniquely American and one that unites us all – whether we choose to see this for what it is or reject it; these ideals are The American Ideals.

We are at a point in our history where as nation we are harshly divided along partisan lines and I often contemplate if not for the rigid social structures and norm that prevail today, would the country have already plunged into desperate and tragic Civil War. Perhaps we have too much lose, or we are too dependent on one another for our continued struggle for survival in an increasingly unequal, inequitable world. Perhaps our reluctant codependency is what has stopped the rifles from unloading. Absent of armed civil strife, one can say confidently the divides along party are tearing this country apart and are seeping into all aspects of American life – from the media, to the companies of the nation, from the White House to the dinner table of your average American family. Perhaps most dangerously are the divides we are begining to see deepen within the Armed forces. Of those both currently serving and those who are the veterans of the country. There are concerted attacks on American institutions such as the courts, the rule of law, and the legislatures by partisan hacks on the domestic front and rogue actors who wish to seek American descend into chaos. The politicization of the historical apolitical institutions which govern the lands norms and customs is a threat to our democracy and to our tenuous unity. The politicization of the Armed forces however – is downright dangerous and could jeopardize the national security of the country, and threaten the stability of the entire globe.

I read a piece recently from the New York Times about division in the country and specifically it spoke of the Presidents recent speech on the 100th New York City Veterans Day parade. The tension was palpable in the crowd of supporters and detractors alike.

Here is an excerpt from the article for context – “Thirty minutes later, as our group waited to enter the parade on 24th Street, I watched a man who said he was a Desert Storm veteran confront two women holding anti-Trump signs. He called them libtards and ungrateful. The women didn’t back down. A man wearing a Vietnam veteran shirt stepped forward to intervene.

“They’re patriots,” he said. “And I agree with them.”

The Desert Storm veteran looked at the other’s shirt. “Where’s your honor?” he asked.

“Honor’s what brought me here today,” the older man said. Then he held up his own anti-Trump sign.

“Same,” said the other man. Then they just kind of stared at each other for a few seconds before turning away.

As we marched up Fifth Avenue, ciphers and proxies for a republic as divided as we are about our elected leader, I thought a lot about those men and about honor, too. I should’ve said something, I thought, to bring them together. It was Veterans Day, after all.”

Truly heartbreaking when one begins to think deeply of how divisive the political climate is today on all fronts. The days ahead for the nation are going to be tried, we are grappling with who and what we want to be. I recall the President speaking briefly on Armistice Day, the name which Veterans Day was prior. Armistice Day was the day when the warring powers of the First World War, then the Great War, laid down their arms to discuss terms of peace. Perhaps this country needs a revival of Armistice Day. When we as a divided people lay down our and end our war of words against one another, end the acts of violence against those of the opposing the side, and sit down and discuss terms of peace to heal this broken country. For if we do not, one should surely weep for the nation, for the Republic.

Old Howard Union

Issue Brief, 12 – Intercontinental Rail

An intercontinental railroad that would run throughout the United States, comparable to those in other major industrialized nations would be a boon not only to the economy, but to the people of the country and to those proponents of cutting down emissions from major fuels. Poltical inaction on the issue is at the core of the effort to stop the start of what would be a major infrastructure investment in the United States.

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Show Notes

Important readings on the subject.

  1. https://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2019/02/20/high-speed-rail-usa-california
  2. https://www.marketplace.org/2019/04/04/us-has-tried-build-high-speed-rail-50-years/
  3. https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2019/05/07/why-is-there-no-high-speed-rail-in-the-us.html
  4. https://www.afar.com/magazine/several-high-speed-train-routes-are-coming-to-the-united-states/amp
  5. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-speed_rail_in_the_United_States
Old Howard Union

37 – Federal Reforms

How can a people oriented majority siphon away the hold and power of the elites of the country and put more influence in the hands of the people, how can we ensure that we live in a country truly for all Americans? Reforms on the federal level to fundamentally change the way in which our government works.

Show Notes
No show notes this evening.

Old Howard Union

36 – Reparations

Reparations have been at the forefront of discussions surrounding social justice prior to the very inception of the concept in the American political dictionary – the treatment of African Americans prior to the Civil War remains the one of the greatest strains in American History, next to that of the treatment and eradication of the Native Americans. Have we done enough to rectify these wrongs? What more can we do?

Show Notes

No show notes this evening.

Writing

The Imperial Presidency by. Raimondo Graziano

The Imperial Presidency

By. Raimondo Graziano

The presidency of the United States has always been loosely defined, the actual enumeration of the powers of the president encompass little more than two paragraphs in our constitution – the guiding document of our nation. Over time, the president’s power has increased significantly, and the propensity of the man holding office to use his unilateral or executive authority has grown stronger with every passing, election. Coupled with the continued capitulation and enabling by the President in offices own party, whoever it may be, the party has endorsed these actions through their complicity in the overreach in executive authority. While this has increased steadily over time, in the last hundred years, specifically and most importantly after the elections of President Franklin Roosevelt, the slow march towards the imperial presidency we have today has greatly fastened.

The Republic in many ways is no more – Congress has become a tool of the President to advance an agenda, and the work there truly shows when the majority party holds onto Congress; the courts too have become a tool to ensure the policies enacted, are constitutionally protected and endorsed by partisan judges. The executive, has broad powers today – than at any other point in history. We have an imperial presidency, and our institutions are threatened by them – whether or not this is good, moral, or immoral is not the question. The question is – are the American people in support of a more central government, do the American people endorse this imperial presidency – not of one specific administration but of what it means for the office itself.

While numerous administrations have used executive authority to push forth policy change and reform none have ruled by the pen quite like the 44th and 45th, the former and current presidents of The United States. Executive Orders have become the tool of choice for Presidents hampered by partisan divides amongst the Congress and a general inability to govern effectively. Lacking majorities in both chambers of Congress the hope of achieving substantial policy achievements is pitifully low. Through executive action however, the President can act unilaterally- though that carries with it the possibility it will be overturned by an incoming administration. However, the precedents that have been set over the course of the last decade are fundamentally reordering the very institution of the Presidency itself, centralizing its power, reducing the importance of the judiciary and Congress to mere pawns of the President and his party. From the 44th using his pen to rewrite immigration policy, to the 45th reappropriating funds through use of an emergency declaration at the Southern Border to build his wall – a core campaign promise.

Both broaden the reach of presidential power. Just this month, officials from nearly every major cabinet department have refused to comply with requests for documents and answer to subpoenas regarding ongoing investigations from numerous House Committees. This here touches on the concept of coequal branches of government. And on cabinet departments too, the number of acting secretaries who have not been confirmed by the Senate is astounding in the country’s history – the President himself has said it allows him greater leeway to work, in other words to centralize presidential control over the executive and to undercut the Congress, and use judicial appointments of ideologues pushed through speedy confirmations to ensure these changes are upheld. Where is the questioning of the American people on this? Where is our social responsibility? We are either distracted by banal mundane trivialities, or we have lost the will to care. Either way we in some way have condoned this rise of the Imperial Presidency.