And that is what democracy looks like!
And I don't see us coming back from this one, folks.
Fareed Zakaria's piece today in the Wash Post, regarding the fact that years of dishonesty on behalf of the Republicans to their base, dishonesty about starving that big government beast, about the danger of the deficit and immigrants, about trickle-down economics, about pretty much everything, is what led to the likes of Cruz and the Donald, while thoughtful and informative totally misses the point.
The very nature of this two-party Constitutional Republic of ours has but one single rule that is constant: the party that is not currently in power exists solely for regaining power back. When the freshly defeated conservatives in the beginning of 2009 told their fellow colleagues in the House and Senate that their sole purpose from now on is to ensure Barack Obama and his fellow Dems FAIL, even if that meant the entire country failing, shit, ESPECIALLY if the entire country fails, well that is what I call accidental honesty. They were simply doing what is required of this rigged charade we call democracy.
This has been going on since the beginning, make no mistake. The only difference, and it is a big difference, is that it was never easier to galvanize a political base than in 2009, 2010, 2014 and so on. And that is because of THREE factors:
3.) Big city
I can't help but wonder if Obama and his team on the campaign trail naively overestimated the nature of this democracy and the individuals that make it up. Did they ever really think that this liberal-ass black community activist turned elitist professor from the southside of liberal-ass Chicago with a "Muslim" middle name and a father from Kenya could possibly unite a country of countries? Winning election and reelection was the easy part. But governing, you know, the part that truly matters, is another.
Interestingly, our democracy and our free-market system, those two main facets that make us uniquely American, allow for, encourage, and even force us, to bet against America...one just bets against our money, the other against our intellect.
We all have teachers in our lives who we never forget, and one of the few in my life is Tom Babcock, my Spanish teacher for two years in high school, with whom my class and I all watched the Twin Towers crumble live on TV that morning. He once said that America is the "bratty teenager of the world." We are one of the youngest countries, yet very successful and extremely powerful. We know it all. Screw all the others, like France, Iraq, Sudan, and China, who are ancient and have seen it all, who look down on us like an old grizzled war veteran to a 16-year old suburban kid whose only concern is next Saturday's soccer game and think, boy oh boy, have you got a whole lotta growing up ahead of you. Sweet kid..
But grow up, how? Besides waiting centuries for inevitable wisdom one thing could be done. The Founding Fathers saw this coming, and fearing that the public's freedom to choose their own leaders would be undermined by a dumb public, they created the free library system which we still have. Today though it's not enough, but the modern day equivalent may well be heavily subsidized, high-quality, debt free higher education for all. Incentivize it, so it's easy to accomplish whether you're Harvard-inclined or are better with your hands and prefer night school. At least then we'd have better critical thinking skills, at least then we'd have people questioning whether banning all Muslims, getting past the fact that it's immoral and unAmerican, could ever be practical or logistically-sound.
My inner cynic though thinks we just have to wait a few centuries and figure this whole thing out as we go.