There aren't a lot of people who tell the truth about voting rules. As the Senate takes up the bill the House just passed to drastically amend the rules that govern our elections, it seems like a good time to step back and examine what's really going on. For some reason, the truth is missing from almost all the reporting, both in the liberal press and in conservative media.

Both Republicans and Democrats approach debates over the rules and systems for our elections with the same fundamental belief: Making voting easy helps Democrats, and making voting harder helps Republicans.

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s2smodern

Did you know America is going bankrupt? Most people don't. Maybe the saddest part about our country's state of affairs is that all our vitriol and dysfunction has come at a time when we aren't even addressing our biggest problems. It would be one thing if America collectively decided we have to be honest about where we are as a country and we were in the middle of a charged debate about how to fix it. Instead, we are fighting about trivial things while pretty much everyone in the country, on all sides of the political spectrum, has decided our real problems are so bad we may as well ignore them. Have you ever had a friend who's had some horrible, embarrassing event in their life? The last thing you want to do is mention it. That's America and our debt problem. It's so bad that we don't talk about it anymore.

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s2smodern

If we're ever going to surmount this truly toxic period in our politics, each warring faction must realize that winning is not possible without help from the other. And by faction, I don't mean Republican or Democrat. The real dividing line in our country today is not Republican and Democrat, left and right. That still exists, of course, and in certain areas, our partisan differences are still clearly defined. The true dividing line is between the corporatists in each party and the average Americans in each party -- and despite what they think, neither the corporatist side nor the populist side can succeed in the long term without support from the other.

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s2smodern

Estimates are all over the place, but it's now beyond dispute that Soviet policies in the 1930s led to the deaths of somewhere between 7 and 12 million Ukrainians (about the equivalent to killing every person in Michigan today). It's one of the greatest horrors in world history. The world knew little about the Ukrainian famine at the time. When independent journalists tried to get news out about the atrocity, they were accused of promoting conspiracy theories. Sound familiar? The New York Times, whose Moscow bureau led efforts to protect the Soviet Union and crush dissenting viewpoints, has since apologized for its role in suppressing news about the famine. Based on the media's handling of COVID-19 reporting today, however, it's clear we have forgotten any lessons once learned about the dangers of suppressing ideas and dissent on unproven matters the way the Times did to such tragic effect all those decades ago.

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s2smodern

It's sort of shocking that a series of left-wing riots around the nation followed by a right-wing riot at our Capitol building haven't caused much self-reflection among the policymakers in Washington. It's convenient to think this is just some tiny group of crazies or this is all going to blow over. We have been thinking that way for years now. It's not true. Our once-great country is in a huge slide. Too many fellow citizens are hurting. Too many communities around the country are shells of their former vibrant selves. All this is a screaming wake-up call for change, yet we don't have any serious efforts underway to reform our system.

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s2smodern

President Joe Biden could have focused on any issue he wanted in his inaugural address. His base would have loved the whole thing to be about climate change or racial justice. Biden touched on some of these policy issues, but he focused most of his address on something totally different: national unity.

If anyone reading this doesn't believe that Biden correctly identified the issue of our time, I'm not even sure what to say. It's issue one, two and three.

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s2smodern

It's been obvious for quite a while that our country is coming apart at the seams. People on all sides are upset, and they want to punish their political opponents. We aren't able to disagree in a productive way. We demonize one another; we are too partisan; and we are definitely too angry. This isn't unique to the right or the left. It's all of us.

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s2smodern