Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Let’s Make A Deal

“I agree, Lord of Darkness, if you grant me the following wishes: First, I would like the nation to be hurled into an economic crisis caused by Wall Street greed and recklessness. This will discredit free-market fundamentalism once and for all.”David Brooks

I just read the David Brooks ode to liberalism article and I must say he makes a compelling case not for the decline of liberalism but for the decline of our shared consciousness. The problem with pundits is that everything happens in a vacuum in their world. According to him there are no connections between any of the events that he described except that they occurred while Mr. Obama was President. So the link is not the failed policies of the Right, but that liberals could not clean them up fast enough. So the future of our governance is not based on those who caused the disasters but on how quickly those elected to repair them can get them repaired.

Using that logic then if I start a fire in a building and then when the fire department gets there I cut the water pressure to the hoses and someone dies in the building then it is the firefighters fault for not putting out the blaze quicker. What Mr. Brooks and many of his talking head friends fail to realize is that very few of the upcoming midterm elections will be decided by national issues. So while they will be trumpeted as the beginning of the end for Obama what they fail to realize is that following the midterms in 1994 Bill Clinton won reelection handily. I suspect the same will be true for President Obama. It is one thing to win an election in South Carolina running on corporate largess and apologies it is a far different thing to win nationally running on those issues. It is amazing to me how quickly these clowns forget that when we had a national referendum of policies the country overwhelmingly chose the policies of the Dems. Are we to believe that after four years of Republican prostrations in front of the corporate gods that the majority of Americans will turn away from those who are at least trying to solve the gigantic problems facing this nation?

Are we also to believe that the majority of Americans will agree with the likes of Glenn Beck that this President is a racist? If I have any complaint towards Mr. Obama it is that he has been too cautious towards the issue of race in America. The reason we are not moving forward as a nation is precisely because we are so divided. As a nation we are not using all of our resources we continue to choose tribalism over nationalism. We will not be able to compete against the likes of China and India if we continue to be willing to marginalize large segments of our population. We are going to need every able body and mind if we are to overcome the problems of energy, climate change, and retooling America. I read that some black leaders are offended by Mr. Beck holding a rally at the Washington Mall on the day that Dr. King gave his dream speech. Their fear is that Mr. Back will somehow diminish the stature of Dr. King and what he accomplished. To me this is akin to worrying about Joseph McCarthy diminishing the legacy of FDR because he accused him of having Communist sympathies. The biggest challenge to blacks in America is not Glenn Beck it is our refusal to deal with the problem that we are allowing women to train up our boys and the outcomes are abysmal. Instead of holding a rally to combat Glenn Beck we need to be holding a rally to recommit to our children.

Another missing component from Mr. Brook’s fairytale is that the Dems are not a monolithic party like the Republicans. An example would be what is currently taking place within the Republican Party with the teabag crowd if this were a Democratic group the Dems would allow them to caucus but that would be the extent of it. No one would suggest and rightly so that the Dems should adopt the lunacy of the fringe but with the Republicans that is exactly what they are doing. I guess when you are void of ideas and critical thought then any ideas seems plausible. The election of 2008 demonstrated that the Republicans were bankrupt of ideas and I have seen nothing since then to make me think they have found any now. With the political landscape of today you will never be a majority party if you are appealing to a shrinking base of gun-toting, history revisionist, pseudo patriots. I don’t know many Americans who want to see America returned to the “good ole” days of intolerance, bigotry, and robber barons. But I could be wrong and if I am then were all in trouble anyway.

Finally, the devil in the details that Mr. Brooks has mischaracterized is that leadership is what we elect President’s to have, that and a vision. Sometimes when you are leading a ragtag mob like America you will appear unpopular because you have to make some unpopular decisions, but the alternative which the Republicans are offering is to continue to defer these difficult choices until they are no longer choices but we are left with imperatives. Prior to the spill in the Gulf we had choices about how to conduct deep water drilling, due to our refusal to stand up to corporations we now are left with an imperative. Plug the hole. My fear is that there are many who are willing to shy away from the difficult in search of the easy quick fix. However when it comes to the issues facing America (climate change, clean energy, unemployment, depression, etc.) there are no easy quick fixes. So if the Right wants to govern based on popularity I suggest the majority of us begin to prepare our tin roof shacks because we are not far from a banana republic.

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure , the process is its own reward. - Amelia Earhart

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