Ron, that was an incredible read. Thank you so, so much for taking the time to write all that out. Your point about the relationships between the unions, mafia, federal agencies and past presidents is a really interesting one that I’d like to explore further on my own time. The mafia’s infiltration of the unions is common knowledge, but it sounds like their tentacles extended further out into politics than many people realize. And I must admit that I never heard that bit about MacArthur being despised by many of his own soldiers. I suppose I can chalk that up to the sanitized storytelling of the history classes I took in high school and college.
I also totally hear what you’re saying about government’s role. The big problem with sweeping federal policies is that they too often fail to account for the fact that a single problem can have multiple causes, and those causes are often regional in nature, which is why it’s sometimes better for the feds to practice some much-needed self-restraint while untying the hands of local leaders and community members and letting them take the lead. But if that became a standard practice, a lot of federal employees would lose their jobs and agencies would likely start shutting down, which is of course a major incentive for the feds to continue consolidating power for themselves. I do believe that there are some issues too big for anyone other than the feds to handle, but I admit to being really disappointed with how people tend to view the federal option as the default option whenever a new challenge arises.
As far as the transgender issue goes, I have to admit that I’m not sure if I agree. I don’t know that President Obama’s directives on that issue had that much of an impact on the election. Is the discomfort that some people feel with transgenderism really enough to affect the outcome of a presidential race? I have to concede the possibility, certainly. But my gut tells me that the ever-expanding divide between Democrats and the white working classes in the Rust and Bible Belts — a divide that appears to me to be both economic and cultural in nature — was the bigger culprit in Hillary’s loss.
That said, I do wonder whether President Obama’s propensity for just pushing things through might have played a role, which your comment seems to imply (if I’m interpreting you correctly). The common wisdom was that the GOP’s obstructionism would ultimately lay waste to their electoral hopes. In hindsight, though, it may have been the Democrats’ attempts to circumvent that obstructionism through constitutionally-questionable directives and executive orders that had the bigger impact.
In any case, thank you again for sharing your thoughts on all this stuff! You’ve really given me a lot to think about — and read about, too, once I go find some good books that dive into the issues you raised.