Friday, March 31, 2006

As The Tower Crumbles...

Anyone who has been reading "Comng to Terms..." since the old days (and I know there are not many of you left out there...) remembers that I was known to post a political rant or two.  I haven't been sharing my political views here, lately, as I have been writing for a political blog as well as posting my personal stuff here.  I wrote the piece that follows for "The Blue Voice."  But I think it's worthy of being shared here in j-land.  Because I would like you all to start thinking about the mid-term elections coming up in November...

I read an editorial the other day that explained how the "high ideals" that the GOP embraced with a flag-waving flourish around the time of Bush’s second inaugural have run smack into the realities of culture wars and protectionism. Yes….it sounded wonderful, back in January of 2004, to shout that the United States of America was ready and willing to carry the banner of freedom and democracy to the world. A couple of pesky roadblocks sprang up along the way. Like that the objects of our crusade failed to throw open their doors, fling off the chains of thousands of years of cherished customs, and embrace our Western ideal of the highest form of human government. And that our own leaders were so busy "spreading democracy" across the world that they forgot to nurture and support it inside our own borders. As if there is a finite supply of freedom, and for every ounce we bestow upon someone else, we lose an ounce of our own.

To the GOP, idealism seemed a handy tool to make their wealth and power-driven agenda palatable to the American people. Unfortunately, the GOP lacks recent experience with concepts such as the good of mankind and universal understanding. They had no idea where those ideals actually come from, nor how to control them. High ideals are meant to give birth to an agenda, not to be manipulated after the fact to conceal one.

Ideals have to be anchored in reality, or they get so high, they are out of reach. The GOP hadn’t a clue that there has to be some connection between lofty, abstract creeds and the guy sitting next to you at the lunch counter. Leaders like FDR, Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez, and even Bill Clinton, understood this. That you can’t just stand behind the podium, point to the sky and proselytize. That at the end of the day, you had to climb down off the dais, sit down and share a meal with the folks you meant to lead to that higher plain. You take your direction from the people. You need to know what they care about. You need to care that where they want you to lead them will be a better place for them—economically and practically, in their everyday lives—as well as a loftier plain for mankind in general. You need to understand what they are willing to sacrifice, and what results they expect. That’s how you get them to follow. That’s how you change the world. The Republicans, in their headlong rush to stockpile as much power and money as possible while their foot was in the door, understood only that their time on top was most likely limited. They could not spare a single second to listen to the people. Certainly not the Iraqi people. Nor even the American people. At least, not the ones lower on the food chain than, say, corporate executives.

Now, that idealistic Tower of Babel constructed to hide the GOP’s selfish, materialistic, xenophobic truth, has begun to crack and fall. Leaving the stark the image of a party whose real credo is "Build wealth, protect wealth" laid bare for all the world to see. The people—the American people, the Iraqi people, the people of the world—are beginning to take stock of the sacrifices they’ve been asked to make, and the results they have been cajoled to embrace, and two and two are adding up to zero. And now, now they’re casting about for a better answer. Who can blame them? And who is going to step into the vacuum and provide the leadership we so desperately need?


  1. I don't see myself as a particularly political person. I don't seek out political debate because I find myself constantly on the defensive if I try to engage in it. Probably I should be stopping here and pressing cancel. Something about this struck a nerve though.

    While I'm not a political person I am an American and we DO have elections coming up. Your last question was certainly valid and important. Who, indeed, is going to step into the breach and provide the leadership this country needs?

    I can't deny that I'm not thrilled with the way the current administration has handled things. I don't know that just voting for somebody because they are not a Republican is a good answer and it would seem that is what this entry would be aiming to suggest.

    We each should be examining as much as we can about anybody we are preparing to vote for and finding those we feel will do the best job. It is too limiting to refuse to vote for somebody just because you don't agree with the view of the party they belong to. I know it matters and is beyond the scope of this comment. I'm just saying I find it disturbing to see any one group attacking the other as if every member of that group was wrong. Our job as voters is to seek out the good candidates regardless of party. That would be easier, it would seem,  without the mud flying around attacking any particular party as a group. I can't see how it helps us much find the right candidate to vote for.

    Oh well this was just my admittedly very naive view of the world. I  still think people should work together, heck I even hold  doors for people and even will stand up on a bus to let a lady sit down. I do hope that  lots of  people between now and November will focus on that very last sentence in your entry.

  2. At this point I wouldn't vote for a Republican for dog catcher. Trouble is I don't see anybody on the other side. Dems might make some gains in November, simply just because they aren't Republicans, but you can't build and a platform on who you aren't.

    I believe the administration two biggest mistakes are the failure to realize that by its very nature the democratic process isn't guaranteed to give the results we want.

    And two, we've got people trying to refight old wars. Rummy and Cheney are refighting Viet Name-hoping to bury their own demons and the shrub is trying to outdo dad. The first Gulf War stopped at the Iraqi border. Damned if I know how we're going to get out of it. Lord knows our "leaders" sure as hell don't have a clue. What's really scary is that being totally useless and clueless doesn't seem to be enough to shake the true believers. Oy!


  3. who better to fill the GOP vacuum than John McCain.    The religious Right will block that, however,    A Clinton run doesn't generate a lot of excitement.    Real change may come with this year's off-year Congressional races.    I doubt it though.

  4. "For every ounce we bestow upon someone else, we lose an ounce of our own" is classic.  Great comment, too, about climbing down w/ the people--I want to say to "shrub" (love that) "Hey, I may not have voted for you, but you're MY president, too."  I have been missing your articulate political entries--I'll have to venture to the Blue Voice and hope to be able to find your voice there. I guess I avoid it because I'm already discouraged enough about the general state of everything without reading more.   I disagree with another commentator that you can vote for a good candidate irrespective of party; I respect McCain, but a Republican still has core beliefs that are fundamentally different from those of a Dem.  I recommend Jimmy Carter's Endangered Values book.  I, too, am frantic about who will come forward as an alternative.