The biggest problem the Democrats face is their inability to do the small things.
Things like making sure that we have a good park system, roads, and other infrastructure. Democrats abandon the normal everyday governmental functions in the belief that only big things matter. By doing so, they open themselves up to derision and people believing that government is innately incapable.
What does that do to the rest of their greater agenda? It makes it impossible for the public to believe that government can do bigger things like universal healthcare. Every other advanced nation has a form of it, and for the most part, it is successful. Many Americans think that our government cannot possibly do so. Yet Medicare, which is universal healthcare for the elderly, is highly successful and well-liked by its users including this one.
The U.S. has well-armed police forces throughout the nation. In more and more jurisdictions, the police are resembling combat troops more that the friendly cop on the beat. There are more than a dozen other democracies that do not regularly arm their officers at all.
Most police in Ireland are not even trained in the use of firearms. In the U.K., the police are trained but most carry no weapons and have repeatedly turned down the opportunity to do so. Norway and Iceland have unarmed police forces as does New Zealand. A third of Iceland’s population own a shotgun or hunting rifle, and there has only ever been one death of a citizen by a police officer. The only unarmed force in the U.S. is the American Virgin Islands.
One of the basic reasons to have government is to protect citizens. In most of the countries named, the institution of policing is looked on as a guardian of the public and what the U.K. calls “policing by consent.” By contrast, in the U.S. the police spring into action with a commission of a crime. Otherwise, they lurk in the background waiting. That puts a completely different spin on how the forces are perceived.
This causes governments in the U.S. to have a different idea about what police should do. The Democrats see it as an army of occupation while the Republicans use it as a bulwark against those trying to invade their neighborhoods. The police must contend with a populous that has more than one firearm per person. Is there any reason why they feel under siege on patrol?
Even those of us who support the blue are never quite comfortable with their presence. They are still “them” with the power of arrest and worse. That is the opposite of the “policing by consent doctrine” or as we call it in America “neighborhood policing.”
The Republicans have already thrown in the towel as far as believing that government can do anything. The Democrats refuse to see that government can only operate efficiently under the right circumstances. That means leaving to government what the private sector cannot or will not do.
Parks, roads, and other infrastructure can only be accomplished under government auspices. Policing, firefighting, and other public safety roles are why government was created. Whether you are a Republican or Democrat, it is in society’s interest to have an efficient government.
If government can manage these things, then the American public would not be so hesitant about giving them more authority for things like health care and childcare.