| Saturday, November 8, 2008 - 08:45 am |
The frightening thing, Nix, is that my lampooning of the political diatribe, that I just wrote above, made perfect sense to you.
On the serious side.
I am sincere when I critique the body politic for its collective loss of objective thought and over-identification with particular parties, ideologies, or issues.
For example. The Republican Party swept into power in the US Congress in 1994 after the national repudiation of some extremely socialist attempts by the Clinton Administration to radically alter our health care system.
What did the Republicans do with their new power?
Pursue a popular President with scandal after scandal investigation and very little in the way of legislation that was popular with their constituencies.
The Democratic Party followed the same course after its gains under Bush 43.
Both Parties champion grand ideas and philosophies that capture the imaginations of their supporters and win fanatical loyalty from the masses. However, their actions upon gaining majority power are remarkably similar. Most legislation is bipartisan and most often does little more than provide some small benefit for a few special interest groups or industries. Which groups or industries benefit varies by the party in power, but the differences are shrinking.
As Congress reaches new levels of inactivity, the political rhetoric reaches new levels of incivility. Both parties demonize the other and preach shrill warnings of every conceivable catastrophe should their opposition win power. Yet, when the day comes when majorities change hands, the differences are barely noticeable. Only the targets of the endless investigations change.
This phenomena seems to be lost on the electorate, however. Minutes after elections are decided, the victorious party seems to forget all about their passions and ignore what their newly elected representatives ACTUALLY do. The brilliant ideas and gret promises evaporate like the morning mist, lost in the glaring sunshine of power. The losing party immediately returns to its talk radio and other favored media to bemoan the impending dooms and formulate truly paranoid conspiracy theories.
Both sides are nearly indistinguishable in this.
It would appear that the ideologies of both sides are so pure and profound, that no actual legislation to make them reality is required. If persons who espouse them are in office, that is sufficient.
The status quo is maintained. Big business profits and grows while being demonized by one side and greased by both. Likewise, the corporate dollars flow freely to both camps.
The government bureaucracies get their budget increases and grow with equal content. The party in power only changes the pictures on the walls after all.
The special interest groups who can see no further their guns, abortion rights, gay marriages, or favorite cause celeb are told "we're working on it" but action is not possible at this time due to the fact that other side still exists more or less.
That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but the effect come next election cycle is to create even greater anxiety and sense of hysteria within these groups.
It does make for more interesting TV and reading, however. That certainly makes the news media happy. They long ago abandoned any interest in facts or public service. It's all about market share and the fun of the race. After all, pontificating about horse races is a lot less work than actually getting out and trying to learn anything useful.
Thus does our political system lumber forward. Legislative entropy feeds public fervor. Disillusion grows rampant, matched only by the fever pitch of the rhetoric.
Obama the Messiah/AntiChrist has vanquished McCain the AntiChrist/Messiah.
At least this time we had an ethnic wrinkle to let us explore new arenas of paranoia and apocalypse.
The most ironic part of this Presidential election to me is this:
For the first time in a loooong while, we actually had two decent men who weren't terribly far apart on the "issues" campaigning for the office. I accept Obama as easily as I would have accepted McCain. How they would address the problems they will face as President differs, of course, but only because of the Parties to which they belong. Obama will face challenges McCain wouldn't have had to, and he will not have to fight some battles that McCain would have faced.
That aside, both are honorable men with honest intents. Both would have faced great difficulties from their own parties because of that. We get to see how Obama manages the Democrats.
Will he bring these folks into line or be stampeded by them?
We shall see.