You may or may not remember John Edwards. If you don't, I don't blame you; I've worked really hard at putting him out of my mind, and largely succeeded. But there is one thing he enjoyed saying on the campaign trial that came back to be recently, and it's actually worth a bit of reflection.
Edwards was the U.S. senator from North Carolina who became then-Senator John Kerry's running mate in the 2004 Presidential election. His character issues may have made a contribution to Kerry's defeat in that election, and he was, in any case, far from my first choice for the VP spot. Nevertheless, he was Kerry's choice, and he was so in part because his own campaign for the Presidency had drawn attention to the growing income inequality in America--or, as he put it "two Americas, one rich, one poor." (As a plaintiff's attorney, he was lambasted for knowing more about the former than the latter, but I'll leave that alone.)
If the twelve years (!) between that election and the current one have brought home anything, it is the fact that Edwards was right, at least when it comes to income inequality. And the two Americas he talked about are exemplified by the actions or inactions of separate branches of our federal government.
There's the America exemplified by the executive branch of Barack Obama, whose early and decisive intervention on behalf of our national economy prevented us from experiencing another Great Depression. As a consequence, even incomes, traditionally the last indicator of a recovery, are finally on the rise, despite years of obstruction and obfuscation by the not-so-loyal opposition.
And, of course, there's the America exemplified by the obstruction and obfuscation. That would be Congress--or, at least, its ruling party. A party that revels in the power of the purse, but uses--and misuses--that power as a weapon against the people. A party that needs to investigate its own powers to obfuscate and obstruct, presumably to find any limits to those powers--and then destroy them. Along with the rest of us. And, in a final burst of corruption, blaming the other side for not doing enought to save it from its own mistakes.
Will two Americas become zero Americas? The choice is yours. VOTE! I can't say that enough!