Good grief… ENOUGH of the inane drivel populating my Facebook page. This is simply verbal instragrams on steriods. If political discussion of a serious nature, the kind designed to really help inform others and allow for the fires of a real discussion to burn away the dross and leave enough salient data from which educated and informed choices can be made, then this moronic, childish, simpleton level of posting needs to be replaced with a level that would indicate the posters’ intelligence is anywhere near what they would have the readers believe. But none are appearing.
We are facing a set of choices unlike any in recent history: they are clear and diametrically opposite in their philosophical bases. People of intelligence have, over time, championed both sides but few of them or that intelligence are in evidence. Facing this country are major issues on a wide variety of fronts, many of which go to the core structure of our society and some of which may go to the future existence of it. Getting lost in side issues or cartoon level thinking is simply to avoid reality and admit to mental dwarfism. Pretending to be somewhere in the middle is to demonstrate abject cowardice. Getting lost in the fear of oligarchies and holding that there is no difference between the candidates is ignorance gone to seed.
The choices and actions and policies of Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush or any of their predecessors is a red herring since none of them are running and the two candidates, if we are honest (hey, there is a concept) are different from any of them in their experiences, resumes, attitudes, and visions for the country. Blaming the past does not fix the future.. it usually just accelerates the worst potentials. Whoever brought us to this point, we are here, now, and cannot go back to change it; we can only go forward and deal with the realities facing us now not the screw-ups of the past that will make for interesting reading in years to come. There will be plenty of time to play the recriminations and blame game but for now, we face a deadly serious reality and we need to give THAT our attention while we still can. Getting high centered on issues that should be private matters and for which government should not be involved, either to prohibit or facilitate, takes us away from issues that can destroy the country both from without and from within.
So what IS facing us? On the geopolitical front we have Russia wanting to re-constitute the USSR, Iran wanting to reconstitute Persia, and China wanting to corral world energy resources. Any of those, much less all of them, pose challenges for our future and our future place in the world… and none of them bode well for us if achieved under the current players or regimes. Against that complex world, such side issues as who can marry who — or what – or how many of them, serves only to distract from the issues that, depending on how they play out, could render such questions pointless.
We have a mind numbing national debt and a crippling deficit that says to anyone with a calculator who is willing to review numbers honestly that we are spending and leveraging money for which we have no revenue source. Simple math and a review of IRS data shows clearly that taxing the entire tax base at 100% (much less the 10% that pay 70% of our revenue already) will not solve it. Our solutions are limited. Since we stupidly have a “fiat” currency we can always print more money thereby increasing inflation, devaluing the dollar, and as the great God Keynes himself said, destroy the country by debauching the currency.
Or, we can make profoundly painful cuts in entitlements until we get back on track along with reasonable and temporary tax hikes that do not drive off businesses and thereby lose the employees whose taxes we need. But as any household knows, what we cannot do is continue to spend more money than we take in or CAN take in. The results are always, without exception in the home or in the State (think California) or Country (think Greece) economic catastrophe and that renders issues of how and when can we kill our progeny pointless since it will not much matter if the country and its economy actually do go over the cliff.
We know, or should know if we are honest, that in an election cycle the candidates on both sides will play loose and fast with the truth in order to sway the greater number of the population to vote for them. Blind partisans will eat up their guy’s most outlandish claims and, at the same time, ignore or castigate those on the other side who cry fowl and “shenanigans.” But it is the blind partisans on both sides who got us into this mess and who will not now admit to it. So we know that we cannot rely on speeches, PACs, or other shills and hacks spewing the latest greatest clever sound bite. We can only look to the experiences, policies, records, and visions of the candidates to draw some informed and hopefully reasonable conclusions. Where DO they stand and how WILL they likely act on the REAL major issues? Those are the questions and debate intelligent folks are having, not the claptrap spewed out on Facebook from those unable or unwilling to participate in the discussions of real issues.
Here, to help us decide, Obama gives us an advantage: he has written books clearly spelling out his vision and naming his mentors who inspired it. He pulls no punches and neither do his mentors. Romney has no books and we have only his record as governor and businessman to look back to.
Based on those criteria however, we have candidates with two virulently different views as to where American should go in the future. And it is upon those views and those views only that we can draw some conclusions and pit those conclusions against our own views and visions for where we would like to see this country progress or even exist. One follows pretty closely the philosophical line from Rousseau, Godwin, through Marx and Engles and desires worker’s paradise filled with social justice as defined by the ruling hierarchy of enlightened thinkers du jour. The other has a cloudier more convoluted evolution of political thought and is nowhere nearly as clear as the incumbent, but roughly and generally follows the philosophical line of Locke, Burke, through Jefferson and desires a world of self-reliance and government whose role is simply to aid citizens to prosper by mostly getting out of their way and intervening only in cases of abuse.
One sees the Constitution as an impediment, at best a rough guideline when it serves and at worse an obsolete document to be circumvented when it conflicts with the vision and has given us a record to demonstrate that view. The other asserts an adherence to the Constitution, but we have yet no real record to indicate the truth of that statement so we have simply a known against an unknown.
And that means that an issue worthy of debate is the status of the Constitution itself and whether or not you or I believe in it and believe in its value. But to serve our own philosophies honestly we have to be honest about this issue. Our choices of action vis-à-vis the Constitution are incredibly straight forward: ignore it at will and render it meaningless or accept it in whole and, if in disagreement, work via the process spelled out in it to change it more to our modern liking but retain the structure.
Following their views of the Constitution we have a clear divergence of thinking on the structure of government itself and the roles and powers of its parts. One sees the executive branch as monarchical and able to annunciate laws and edicts or create at will agencies to promulgate and promote their wishes in spite of or in avoidance of Congress. We know that from actions and the record. The other claims to believe in the sanctity of the checks and balances spelled out in the Constitution but we have no real record from which to judge the honesty of those claims. Again, we are left with a known against an unknown; a known who has spelled out their vision and worked tirelessly and consistently to achieve it opposed to someone who has simply talked about theirs but sometimes vacillated in action. What a horrid choice and at perhaps the worst time in history to be reduced to it.
But known or not, honest or not, both sides represent a very divergent set of views about the proper role of government. If you truly prefer the side that would trash the foundations and start over, i.e. to, as Obama said, “fundamentally transform” us then be honest about it, spell out your ideal policies, plans, and rationales so we can openly, publically, seriously, discuss them and see which candidate best expresses or embraces them. But you, the voter, have to make them fit into the broader reality of history (and what has worked and what has not), the likelihood of acceptance by the country at large, and the impact on the future of the country and the future of us on the world stage. If the issues that make you vote for one person or the other do not rise to those levels of national impact then in my opinion you have no right going to the polls or opening your mouth.
Don’t regurgitate someone ELSE’S ideas like the vomit from a drunken politician with mixed chunks of various origins; tell us the issues that YOU think are formative and critical to the country’s future and then give us your thinking on them so we can chat intelligently and honestly. If you prefer the vision of Marx and Engles then have the guts and integrity to say so and support it intelligently. That can foment a good discussion. But supporting that vision while trying to pretend it is something else so muddies the waters as to render a logical and meaningful debate impossible. Or, is that what you want?
To do less reveals clearly not any manner of political or philosophical brilliance but a mind bereft of depth and displaying a paucity of cognitive ability. Someone who, had they an ounce of shame, would make sure their name never appeared next to the shared cartoons and posts that demonstrate for all the lack of thinking and adherence to blind, slobbering partisanship unburdened by the demands of sober review and evaluation of issues that are critical to our future.
I understand that I served in the military along with all of the other veterans, in no small part to guarantee your rights to be morons. But that doesn’t mean I have to enjoy having it come back to slap me in the face. I walk with a limp because of that service, the country therefore has a sufficiently deep meaning to me that it makes me cringe to think that people who buy into those cartoons and cutesy quotes, none of which they could originate themselves, as having attached to them even the most trivial amount of intelligence or relevance are going to the polls and voting.
With citizens like that we have scant need of outside enemies.