I listen first to the Democrats and then to the Republicans, First to Joe and Bernie and then to DonJohn and Mitch. I think they are all talking about the USA and about our problems and issues, but it’s hard to know for sure. As best I can figure, the Dems think our most critical issues are healthcare and managing the people wanting to come in from Mexico. The Repubs are mostly concerned about the Dems and whether they will actually be able to displace DonJohn and Mitch in 2020.

It must be more thoughtful than it first seems, so I try to go a little past the surface. Joe and Bernie are focused on and fighting for the twenty percent of us who struggle to make ends meet while DonJon and Mitch are committed to preserving the status quo and the privileged position of the twenty percent of us who are getting along just fine.

I’ll take another pass at understanding what the fuss is all about. DonJohn and Mitch want to reduce controls and constraints on business and wealth expansion while Joe and Bernie want to regulate and contain business and wealth concentration to redistribute those benefits down the line to the workers among us and especially to the twenty percent least wealthy among us.

I’m thinking that both the Dems and the Repubs believe that the wealth engine is core to the wellbeing of the USA and that the key to their success is in what happens with the output of the wealth engine. Joe and Bernie think that the output should be distributed among all of us, while DonJohn and Mitch think letting the output continue to go to those who control the engine is the way to go. The Dems want more of the output of the wealth engine to go to the workers who actually produce the output, while the Repubs want the wealth to stay with those who hold the capital that fuels the wealth engine.

When thinking about the people coming into the USA from Mexico, DonJohn and Mitch want to close the border and further restrict if not stop people from Central America from coming to the USA. If possible, they would like a similar outcome for people trying to emigrate from many if not most other countries. Joe and Bernie are unclear about how open and inviting we should be but appear to think the current flow of people into the USA is not a serious problem, especially from Central America. More humane treatment of emigrants – especially parents and children – is a priority for Joe, Bernie and the Dems, while not so much for DonJohn, Mitch and the Repubs. For now, though, the status quo continues with no sign of change any time soon.

Healthcare is at least as interesting as emigration issues. Joe and Bernie think that all of us should have easy access to affordable healthcare – but perhaps more Bernie than Joe. Here “affordable” is the key. To the extent we can’t all afford healthcare, the redistribution of the output of the wealth engine would cover the uncovered cost. Since DonJohn and Mitch are opposed to redistributing the output of the wealth engine, they are opposed to any plan to assure healthcare for all of us.

From my perspective, the ongoing brouhaha reduces down to a fundamental disagreement over the output of the wealth engine, whether or not emigration is a common good, and how the emigrants should be treated. I suspect resolving the question about who benefits first from the wealth engine would by itself go a long way toward resolving most other differences, including emigration.

The Dems and Repubs continue to battle over whether DonJohn and Mitch are fit to hold their high offices, how insecure our election process is, who is most committed to serve the American people, how the USA should relate to and get along with other countries, who and what is responsible for the myriad problems and issues neither side is focusing on or dealing with such as homelessness, drugs, gun violence, global warming, deteriorating infrastructure, unaffordable housing, ineffective education of young children, systemic poverty, racism, and the list of pending crises goes on and on. I think it may have been Churchill who said that we never get the government we want but always get the government we deserve. If DonJohn and Mitch, Joe and Bernie are the best we deserve, I think we might do well to take a closer look at who we are and why they are the best we deserve. I suspect it may have more to do with us than with them.