For years, I disliked both big parties in American politics: One was the party with plenty of room in their big tent for forthright loons, people who wanted to levitate the Pentagon for world peace, heal deep societal divisions through song, and had grand plans to fix the worst ills of modern life around the globe using my tax money, absolutely sure they'd be welcomed with open arms wherever they went. Their top figures were firmly rooted in the New Deal and kept trying to come up with a Newer Deal. The other party had a little room for people who were convinced rock music was just the most visible part of a huge communist plot and nobody deserved equal rights, but they kept 'em on a tight reign. They took a hawkish, realistic view of foreign policy and they at least talked about fiscal responsibility and keeping taxes low. They seemed like a party for adults -- a little dull, a little behind the times, but adults.
Decades passed. Government spending never went down. My taxes never went down. No matter how much free ice cream (etc.) the country handed out at home and abroad, some citizens still got a raw deal and some foreigners never seemed to love us; and no matter how many of them the government shot at, they never knuckled under, either.
Still, for most of my life, one of the big parties spent a little less (or at least claimed to), taxed a little less and their dumbest initiatives were easier to get around. When I bothered to vote, I usually didn't feel too bad about voting for their candidates if my usual third-party outsiders hadn't been able to drum up someone willing to lose nobly. When I didn't vote, I didn't worry much; I could count on both big parties to argue one another to a virtual standstill, raise my taxes a bit and become part of the normal background noise.
That changed. The low-taxes hawks started to get a lot more receptive to their nuttier fellow-travelers; the flower power party grew up and started burning a little less incense and doing a little more math.
At present, the old "adult party" has seated an outright con artist in Congress; they've got failed candidates claiming to be the rightful victors despite recounts and investigations proving otherwise and one of their losers appears to have been involved in drive-by shootings at the homes of his local election board. It's not a good look.
Most of my old third-party outsiders have gone clean over the edge. It wasn't a big trip for them but it's disappointing.
And I'm still not a fan of patchouli and wishful thinking.
What happened to all the grown-ups?
I go into elections these days with a carefully triangulated list of who to vote against. I haven't found anyone to vote for in years.
You have eloquently expressed feelings I suspect are shared by many, including myself.ReplyDelete
I hope this election cycle starts moving the needle back toward sanity, but I'm not holding my breath.
"I haven't found anyone to vote for in years."ReplyDelete
Yup, and therein lies the problem. If I wanna vote against someone there has to be someone to vote for. Crickets.
Machiavelli's "Discourses on Livy" covers a lot of what we are going through right now.ReplyDelete
My personal “Both Sides-ism” comes to a screeching halt when one side decides it just doesn’t want to take its L’s anymore.ReplyDelete