I find myself frequently mirroring Larry Beck’s comments over at the Woodgate’s View blog (http://woodgatesview.com). (What do you think Larry? Are we brothers of different mothers?”) In today’s post he wrote about a wildness permeating our body politic as I was writing this post on much the same topic.
What triggered my thinking was a group of truckers who have decided to circle the semi-wagons around Washington, D.C. to force the President to resign. I wish them lots of luck with that. I suspect that their imagination didn’t extend so far as to include a scenario in which somebody considers them a serious threat and imagines that there is, say, a nuclear device on one of the trucks and the Fifth Cavalry shoots the hell out of their livelihoods.
In any case, as a student of history, I realize that American history is replete with myriad examples of absolutely stupid actions on the parts of ordinary citizens as well as elected officials inflamed by political zeal. But current events seem to be from a new richer vein of idiocy. I won’t say it’s the Mother Lode of stupidity, as I know that human stupidity is one of the most powerful forces in the universe and I haven’t seen any limits to it yet.
But truckers demanding the President resign or they will create the Mother of All Traffic Jams? Egad, how very, very stupid. And Republicans in Congress extorting the Executive Branch to achieve things they couldn’t otherwise? Amazing! Have they ever considered what things would be like if they succeeded?
Imagine the world of politics if extortion was the primary mode of “progress” rather than negotiation through a system of checks and balances. Every “crisis” would be an opportunity for “progress” to be made. Hurricanes, terrorist attacks, disease pandemics, bring them on! Every one of those would be an opportunity for some fringe group to extort their wishes from the body politic, otherwise “there will be no support for those poor victims” or “we need to respond quickly, so if you don’t ban abortion now, we may be overrun.”
Now, you say such scenarios are outlandish. Yes, they are, but by extension they seem no more outlandish than today’s political shenanigans than today’s actions seem as compared to those of ten years ago. Who would have imagined a political party threatening to destroy the economy if they don’t get something they couldn’t get through ordinary processes? Is anything more unpatriotic? Yet it is happening over and over, fueled by the zeal of self-labeled “patriots.”
Where did the licenses for these extortions come from? My suspicion is they came from political think tanks, specifically conservative political think tanks, which is ironic because conservatives tend to want to preserve social and political institutions to institutionalize power and maintain order. Not any more apparently. They got from “drill, baby, drill” to “burn, baby, burn” in record time.
It was conservatives that got the Fairness Doctrine aspect of media coverage thrown out. It was conservatives who bankrolled the hate mongers of the right-wing media. (They started by promulgating a lie, the lie that main stream media was “liberal” and that some balance was needed when there was already balance, which has now been destroyed in favor of a “conservative” media bias. I have laid this out in many posts in the past, so I won’t reiterate all of that here.)
But if there is a limit to the actions of the license conservatives have given themselves, I haven’t seen it yet, so expect worse, possibly much worse as the IQs of the conservative representatives drop and what remains of their morals evaporate. Their sense of common purpose with the rest of us is long gone already.