The Political Blog to be Named Later is being born in interesting times, that much is for certain. We have one party that seems to have lost its mind, enthralled to a craven base, that wants more and more extreme conservatism in each and every member it elects. The Democratic Party, and its leader, President Barack Obama, are met with resistance on every single issue, whether their solutions be liberal pipe dreams, or originally thought up at the Heritage Foundation and Mitt Romney. On the most important issues of our time, one intractable, unsolvable issue, taxes, stalls all progress, and the American people grow more and more disillusioned and cynical every day.
The question, then, is what happened to make our national politics so toxic. Why has one of our parties lost its mind, rejecting the very premise that federal government can solve any problem at all?
Obviously, this is no small question, and the singular answer will not be found here. As a place to start, though, I would offer the very cynicism that I mentioned above. Everybody knows the type. Hell, they make up the majority of people you run into on a daily basis. Whether they’re liberal or conservative, quite possibly a majority of people believe that there is no real difference between the two parties, they are both full of, at best, idiots, at worst, deceitful crooks, only out to further their own power and wealth.
And in many cases people are right about Washington!
But, in my belief, it is that very attitude that makes our elected representatives so terrible. In short, if we as a country are cynical about government’s ability to function, then of course a large portion of the people we elect are going to want to shrink or eliminate that government! On the left side, if our young Occupy Wall Street members believe that even Democratic politicians are just as big of crooks as the corporate CEO’s who support them, and they stay home on election day (as we know the young do) then of course this drags our politics to the right, increasing our share of political nihilists who want to “starve the beast” of government!
Well, I’m here to say that you people have it all wrong. Sure, government, as in any immense organization, has problems. Anyone watching the botched rollout of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (Fine: Obamacare) or the spectacular tragedy of American foreign policy under George W. Bush knows that. But where would we be without it?
We all act as if we are the masters of our own destiny, believing that our ingenuity, blood, sweat, and tears are responsible for our successes. And that’s true, up to a point. But you aren’t going anywhere without the roads. You won’t get very far without an education. If your home is burning, or you have a heart attack, a government employee will come to your rescue. If you get sick, you’re going to be happy that you can go to a hospital that receives federal subsidies, that you see a doctor who was able to afford his education, most likely through some government subsidy along the way, and that the hospital is regulated in a way that you don’t get an infection. When we get old, one of the major pillars of our retirement has been, and will continue to be, Social Security. We don’t have to worry about our medical care as we age thanks to Medicare. As you read these words, know that a government agency, DARPA, gave rise to the series of tubes that eventually became the internet itself.
All of these things came from the federal government. Not some far away beast, giving us goodies so we will be good little citizens. No, these goods and services come from you, and they come from me. Our taxes, our pooled resources, provide the goods and services that we all agree we need. Government can do great things! A large part of this great country, from the Hoover Dam, to route 66, stretching from sea to sea, would never have come around if it weren’t for collective action and sacrifice.
So, cynical, pessimistic masses, get over yourself! We’re all in this together, whether you like it or not, and up to this point, we’ve been doing a pretty damn good job!