Congress, as it has been frightfully clear for some time needs reform. Begin with the stark reality that the institution is highly vulnerable to violent occupation, guarded by a 2,000-person police force that let down its guard with mortal consequences. One of the insurgents and one Capitol Police officer are dead. But Congress is also vulnerable to other security breaches including cybersecurity and is sadly lacking in plans and preparations for emergencies and contingencies in times of national crisis let alone relatively normal times. Its ability to conduct the business of the country in times of trouble is anachronistic. Critical problems have been ignored for years. The Institution is disgraced by the way it conducts elections and how campaigns are financed, by the excessive influences of partisan politics on the policymaking process, and by crippled and ineffective relationships between citizens and their representatives.
The media is in crisis. The Trump era has exposed the corruptive, influences of all media, but especially social media. So many outlets no longer have quit being purveyors of information, and now are purveyors of propaganda, for both politics and profit. The media have become the most powerful player in politics and governance. It is time to reassess the role and responsibility of the press and the protections afforded them under the First Amendment. The press won’t do it, and similarly to Mr. Trump they simply will not concede fault or failure. They are in a state of denial about what has happened. Some other path to change must be found. There are good paths forward, which I have discussed in previous columns.
There is a fundamental need for restructuring of the two-party system. Both parties, Democratic and Republican, are handcuffed by internal ideological divisions, outdated infrastructure, too much injection of partisanship in the process of public policy, and a dearth of effective leadership. The two-party system has failed us as George Washington once predicted it would. The Republican Party has greater challenges in the immediate future, but Democrats hold a losing hand as well.
There is also a fundamental need for the natural enforcement of civility in our society and civil discourse in our politics. There is a need for the renewal of respect for our civic institutions, our national language, and our values. We seem to have lost sight of who we are, what we want this country to be, and how we get it there. What we have witnessed over the past several years is not it.