As I watch the slow-motion dumpster fire of ELECTION 2016! or whatever the TV is calling it these days, I'm thinking back to earlier elections and wondering why we thought we had it so bad back then? Those old "It's the end of everything!" contests look more like High Tea with the Duchess than dogfights and I'm more convinced than ever that the battle for the soul of the Federal government was lost by 1913.*
I'm reminded once more of H. L. Mencken on our system of government:
Sure, he wrote, "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard," but perhaps more to the point, he gave us this gem:
"Truth would quickly cease to be stranger than fiction, once we got as used to it."
I'm not entirely certain he'd be willing to stand behind that one in this year.
* What did we get in 1913? The odious Woodrow Wilson, who argued that government should not be deemed evil and advocated the
use of government to allay social ills and advance society's welfare in a textbook, The State, used in college courses through the 1920s. He believed that America's system of checks and balances complicated American governance,and wrote that the Presidency, "will be as big as and as influential as the man who occupies it." There's your modern imperial-style President and the all-encompassing FedGov, neatly wrapped up in one racist, eugencist package.
6 months ago