I’m checking off all the things I wanted to accomplish. I seem to be getting there with the kids and grandkids, money, my other relationships, etc. But I still push very hard each day to get to things. This post of yours tightens up my own thinking. Reading Fukuyama gave me a framework on which to pin events in governance and politics.
Here’s the problem with the discourse: if I say that some Republicans are decent people who have opinions different from mine but who have a stake in the political process, I am going to be interpreted as saying I accept the Tea Party, the Birthers, the Obama haters (that somehow the Bush haters are the equivalent of Obama haters), the anti-abortion crap about axing babies in their cribs, the White supremacists disguised as seekers of empirical truth, etc. I do not accept these people. The Civil War was won…. by us. Most of this crap is an abscess in the South and shoving them off into the Caribbean and Atlantic would be a good idea. What about the Southerners who aren’t racist religious fanatics? What about the Blacks (many of whom are religious fanatics)? I’d give them a chance to get out. Then we’d reconstitute the Confederacy with its guns and bibles and let them eat grits and shoot each other.
Do you get the impression I am sick of these people and I want absolutely no misunderstanding over how sick I am about climate change deniers, the “bomb Iran now” crowd, and the corporate mentality that excuses anything if it makes a profit?
OK. Now, here’s a url for the Mainstream Partnership, a Republican organization as sick of the “only sluts want contraception” crowd as I am. They seem to espouse mainstream Republican policies, viz. low taxes, pro-business policies, a strong defense, and small government. What happened to that GOP? I could argue with them, appreciate their pov. I admit I’ve only heard Latourette, one of the founders, speak on tv, but I’m sure their credo is on their website: http://repubicanmainstreet.org. Libertarians I find to be immature politically, like socialists, not evil, just naÃ¯ve and often blind to the advantages they have in life, kind of like when Romney suggested young people just get a loan from their parents to start a business.
So it’s not the general politicians of either major party that bother me; I understand politics and what you call lies. It’s the all-or-nothing crowd: compromise = a pact with the devil. We live in a society dominated by the elite – every society does, that’s why the elite is elite: they dominate. The trick is to set up institutions that will moderate their power and spread the wealth around. We had that: unions are one example. But the unions were corrupt!!!! No shit! And Monsanto isn’t?? The AMA isn’t? The insurance industry isn’t?
And how about education? How many different theories of how to teach kids are out there? And just what to teach them? STEM? Foreign languages? Chauvinism disguised as history class? Raging crony capitalism disguised as business and economics classes? And art? Art’s good b/c hedge fund managers compete with each other over their art collections and you need to know art before you make your first $25 million robbing pension funds.
Anyway, my point in all this is that you don’t get to have power without stepping on a lot of toes, parsing your words, catering to all sorts of clients and constituents. That’s a democracy and it’s always been thus. The alternative is 4 or 5 thugs in a meeting hall shooting it out to see who gets to rob~run the country. Care to run for election in Nigeria? The answer lies in the institutions. We have them but they’ve been corrupted by the elite, the big money boys. It is ever thus, according to Fukuyama. We have to gauge whether or not we people we still elect have any respect for the institutions. You have to look at their track record and not swerve off course b/c they do something tricky or underhanded or suck up to a rich patron they have to promise stuff to. Where are they going?
Why did I support Obama? Not b/c he is Black; the Black people we knew in 2007 – and that’s a lot of people – we extremely skeptical of Obama; they were Hillary people through and through. (we could discuss why that is). Only after he won Iowa and they had a chance to see his wife did they switch over, big time. Why? B/c his name, for one thing, sounds African or Muslim and African-Americans are not crazy about Africans b/c they think they are better than Am. Blacks; most Blacks are intensely Christian (they are the MOST religious ethnic group in the nation but most White people do not see them as Christians like themselves – another point of discussion at some point). As my wife and I, who liked him after his 2004 convention speech, watched him and Michelle, we realized how conservative they are, not politically – they support the standard liberal agenda – but personally. Strict with their kids, church goers, modest dressers, etc. I believe most White people missed that and that Atlantic cover of the two of them as radicals displayed, IMO, the tenor of thinking about them of most White Americas, who don’t get the difference between MLK and Louis Farrakhan (they both hate White people – another point to discuss: where does that come from?). Quite conservative.
Obama’s strategy, what my wife labels “rope-a-dope”, seems to be paying off. We’ll see at the end what he has accomplished.
Did Obama frustrate the hell out of people like me? Sure. All of my friends want him to kick Boner’s ass and punch McConnell in the face. However, Trump is doing a good job of that (have you noticed the joke about Trump being a mole for the Democrats doesn’t get as many chuckles as it used to?). Slow and steady with a long-range plan and knowing your enemy. Obama knew all along that the bankers of the GOP did not want the crazies to get loose – a Klansman is just as happy burning down the bank as he is lynching a Black. The GOP itself is starting to tone down a little, to recognize the insanity of locking up half the Black male population (that wasn’t an accident) for crimes White people commit with near impunity. The mature ones recognize that women like and have sex and need birth control and abortion – that no one likes abortion but it is a health issue, not a moral issue – and that more women vote than men. They are backing off – ever so little – the Southern strategy and the Moral Majority. Eventually, Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh will occupy the same niche in our history books as McCarthy does (not Eugene).
So my advice is, and I am not charging you my usual rates in return for servicing my blog, to look at who will support the institutions, incl. the financial and military ones; who wields power effectively (Sanders is, IMHO, quixotic); who has power, i.e. networks and money; who is of a temperament not to get us into wars and other risky enterprises that are usually entered into just to burnish the image of the politician.