Daring to tell the truth

For at least thirty years, beginning most notably with the Reagan Administration, the nation has been steadily driving itself towards a cliff. Make no mistake, Democrats have contributed to this. Enamored with globalization and free trade agreements, America’s manufacturing and jobs steadily left our shores in search of cheap if not virtual slave labor. As if that weren’t enough, the money industry became evermore creative and devised methods of creating illusionary dollars, giving “Made in America” a whole new meaning.

There’s no mistaking that the public mood is sour. But the truth is that the much of the public is behaving and thinking irrationally.

With the media’s constant projection that Democrats are about to be creamed in November and with the steady agitation and propaganda for nearly two years by the Party of No, in tow and overwhelmed by the Tea Partiers, the electorate seems destined to be hoisted on its own petard. It appears to be determined to repeat the past and to be screwed all over again.

Although recent polls show the generic Republican beating the generic Democrat, some of those same polls show that the Republican Party’s favorability rating (24%) is even lower than that of the Democrats (33%). It simply makes no sense.

In a recent Washington Post opinion piece, Eugene Robinson questioned the current substance of the American electorate and dared to tell the truth.

“In the punditry business, it’s considered bad form to question the essential wisdom of the American people. But at this point, it’s impossible to ignore the obvious: The American people are acting like a bunch of spoiled brats.”…

“According to polls, Americans are in a mood to hold their breath until they turn blue. Voters appear to be so fed up with the Democrats that they’re ready to toss them out in favor of the Republicans — for whom, according to those same polls, the nation has even greater contempt. This isn’t an “electoral wave,” it’s a temper tantrum.”…

“The nation demands the impossible: quick, painless solutions to long-term, structural problems.”

We haven’t yet gone over the cliff, We lost control of the vehicle and ended in a ditch before we could reach that cliff. Whether we go over that cliff depends upon who pulls that vehicle out of the ditch, who repairs it, and which direction it is pointed when the vehicle gains momentum. We didn’t get to where we are over night and not just in the eight years of George W. Bush, although those eight years took us to the brink.

The 21st century needs restructuring . It requires new foundations. It needs a new motherboard.

Our infrastructure needs repair, replacement and innovation. Our nation needs to be weaned from its dependence on fossil fuels. Our national security requires that our dependence on foreign oil be ended and our position in the world needs redefinition. Consumer protections need implementation in any number of areas. A “green economy” needs a kick start for both economic and environmental reasons. In essence, our entire institutional vision and structure needs a sharp turn away from the direction that first surfaced in the early 70s and has been driving us towards calamity ever since.

The massive changes and challenges that face us will require years of effort. But as Robinson says:

“[T]he American people don’t want to hear any of this. They want somebody to make it all better. Now.” [emphasis added]

Some people, like Eugene Robinson, tell the truth, and others simply play on it. The Republican Party and its operatives are not stupid. They read the weaknesses of the American public quite well.

At the core of the Republican interpretation of human nature is the belief that people are bad, sinful, and selfish. So they craft their messages, both in style and in substance, to play to those traits, and in so doing reinforce them.

Are there bad people on this planet? There certainly are. Some are even close to home. But I don’t share the belief that humanity is fundamentally bad and sinful. I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t acknowledge that human nature has a strong and broad selfish streak.

Selfishness, for most people, is a leftover characteristic of childhood. And some people are either unwilling or unable to get beyond that. These people may become parents. Woe to the rest of us when these parents teach their offspring those traits that they never outgrew. And too many eventually find their way to the Republican Party as it now exists as both leaders and followers.

Are Americans going to allow themselves to be duped and manipulated by The Party of NO? Or are they going to demonstrate that they have the knowledge and judgment to sift through the agitation and propaganda that the Republican Party has foisted on the nation from the moment Barack Obama was elected as President of the United States? Are we going to be mature enough to recognize the hard work ahead of us and to know that it will require shared sacrifice, thoughtfulness, patience and a new vision? The answer to these questions will be known on November 3rd and will determine the future of this nation. We are a democracy. The choice is ours. Take a deep breath and vote responsibly.

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  2 comments for “Daring to tell the truth

  1. Gregory Iwan
    September 15, 2010 at 10:09 am

    What has long worried me is, what do the voters do once their new, replacement “leaders” are undressed and are shown to have no solutions? THEN watch out. The Weimar Republic was unable or unwilling to fix Germany’s rampant inflation and unemployment, so a new guy was ELECTED. His first name was Adolf. The French Republic was paralyzed because the wealthy refused to pay their share of taxes. So the finance ministry cut budgets over and over again. To no avail. Things grew worse, because there was NO PUBLIC SPENDING to take up the slack from a lack of private investment. The rich sat on their money and on their hands. The result? We know of it principally as the “storming of the Bastille.” Revolution CAN be a good thing, but be warned: it’s almost always very messy, and those in revolt do better when they are revolting TO something, and not just FROM something else. If we only want to be transported, we need to watch closely who’s doing the driving.

    As for parenting, well, children learn what they SEE. And from my vantage point, while they seem to see only the screens on their cell phone, I doubt they miss everything. Mom and Dad run stop signs. Okay. Mom and Dad say hateful things about their own government. Right. Mom and Dad cheat on their taxes. So? DOESN’T EVERYBODY? “A republic, if you can keep it.” — Ben Franklin

  2. SAM
    September 19, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    Most excellent and well-researched article. Thank you!!

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