Is It Time?
As I sit here writing this, the US Federal government is embroiled in a partial shutdown. Since both sides are refusing to even talk to one another (although they are doing an excellent job of talking past each other), the impasse doesn’t seem likely to end anytime soon. Most in the media are equally embroiled in teeth gnashing and other trivial pursuits, while ignoring the underlying reason for the shutdown. And no, I’m not referring to the Affordable Care Act. That is merely the causi belli that ultimately led to the current situation.
No, the underlying reason is that the nation is more politically divided today than since the days leading up to the Civil War 150 years ago. Despite media grandstanding (and cries from an ever shrinking portion of the population) for compromise and reconciliation, such a thing is all but impossible in today’s political environment. Fire cannot be reconciled to ice. Ammonia cannot be mixed with bleach. In today’s political environment, you cannot mix the driving forces behind each political party without similar effect. The results are explosive, caustic and predictable.
The reality is we are a nation with two competing, incompatible ideas on what a government is supposed to do. On the one hand, there is a concerted belief that government should be as unobtrusive as humanly possible. In opposition is the view that government exists to provide for the populace. The reason compromise does not exist on the major topics of our day is that the underlying belief systems are polar opposites. Everything else is window dressing.
The Obamacare mess is just the biggest example of this dystopia. It wasn’t passed in a bipartisan manner whatsoever. In fact, not one Republican voted the bill into law; not one Democrat voted against it. If anyone thinks the same bill would pass the Congress today they need a serious mental examination. It brought to the surface ideological divisions that were evident for the past 20 years, but buried beneath a veneer of political conformity. Like a volcano before erupting, fault lines and fissures have occasionally appeared. But the explosion came about with the debate and passage of that seminal legislation.
So, the questions begs to be asked, though I don’t see it being raised: is it time to dissolve the union and create two separate entities – one that can pursue a restrictive government and one to pursue a restricted government? I’ll leave the answer to that to you… Comment away!
It’s the “twoness”, an “us vs. them” dichotomy, in a world where complex problems require a third, fourth or eighteenth point of view to solve, that is at the core of our dilemma. What we need is multiple, viable, smaller political parties. With that, and short-term election cycles with mandated public funding, politicians would be required to compromise and form coalitions in order to govern.
Also, I think this less vs more government approach is a ridiculous way to judge the question, when what is needed is BETTER government. Better isn’t determined by more or less! It’s a matter of having people make wiser decisions.
October 1, 2013 at 2:54 pm
As to your first point, we effectively have four political parties, none strong enough to break the gridlock. The Old Days of R vs. D ended with the 2010 cycle and the emergence of the Tea Party and OWS. The President and most D senators belong to the Gov’t Solution/Pro Corporate Party. Most R senators belong to the NeoCon Party. With no one party, or faction, able to garner enough votes to move any legislation forward, we have gridlock. The Tea Party claims 3 Senators (Cruz, Paul, Lee) and around 40 congressmen, while OWS has 3 Senators (Brown, Sanders, Warren) and about two dozen congressmen.
As for your second point, that sounds like so much MSM drivel. How do you define wise government? To the members of the Tea Party, it is less government, period. To the members of OWS, it is more government involvement to promote a progressive social agenda and less corporatism. To the NeoCons, it is more government involvement to promote a socially conservative agenda and maintain a strong corporate state. And to the GSPC, it means more government involvement in promoting some socially progressive items, but not at the expense of corporations. So, the question of what is a “wise” governmental decision depends on which camp is answering the question.
But at least you’re beginning to try to come to grips with realpolitik, 21st century style.
October 1, 2013 at 4:11 pm