Wednesday, March 29, 2017

1776 A Familiar Date

© Paramount Pictures/Famous Studios

Wessay #1776? Familiar number.  Oh, yeah. Something of importance happened here in this rural backwater that year.

And now 241 years later, we have become a world colossus heading backward faster by the day.  Most of us old enough to read this will not live long enough to witness our collapse into a third world sewer.  But make no mistake, that’s where we’re headed.

We’ve elected a president who is like Kim Jong-un only a better braggart with less power.  A Baby Huey who throws his weight around carelessly and in the service of the people he thinks are friends. Sometimes, his influence is non-existent.

We saw the latest example last week when the House of Misrepresentatives ® failed to Stand by its Man, Ryan, and chickened out on the seven year plan to Make America Unhealthy Again.

And all of the know-it-alls are out in force saying this, that and the other thing will result. Let’s look at this and that.  No space for the other thing.

Will the failed and leaky Republican ship manage to come up with some kind of tax reform?  Will we really put $50-ish billion into new military hardware?  What about that infrastructure thing?  What about that “bringing jobs back” thing. Don’t get your hopes up, coal miners.  (The only industrial jobs on the horizon are for people who know how to make robots to do the work actual humans once did.)

Then there’s The Wall.  Really? Baby Huey campaigned on a hodgepodge of hot air projects and policies that can’t possibly be implemented now or in the near future.

He hoodwinked the angry white men frustrated by their inability to feed their families. Will they turn on him?

Splinter parties.  That’s the answer in many smaller countries.  France, Germany, Israel and to an extent Britain.

The far rights have their far right parties in all those countries. The far lefts have theirs.  And in the middle are all kinds of middle grounders.  Could something like that work here?  A lot doesn’t get done in France and Israel.  But a lot does. Why? Because people have to work together.

The two major parties here used to be like competing automakers:  Four wheels and an engine, with customers more or less brand loyal.

The US Republicans are essentially three different parties under one shaky leadership. The Democrats, used to intramural squabbling, have only two.  

And a lot of energy is wasted trying to herd these cats by people who don’t know much about cats… or about people for that matter.

Somewhere in that mess is the potential for a coalition government that might actually show at least a passing interest in governing instead of the squishy self promotion that seems to be the object of the various factions within the parties.

The “Freedom Caucus” is a party unto itself. So are the members of the “traditional” Republicans, and the oh so miniscule moderates. The Democrats have the establishment crowd and the “progressive” dreamers.

We’re at a fragile moment in our 241 year history.  And something as big and important as the United States cannot survive by self promotion alone.

Stability. We don’t hear much about that these days.  But we need to.  Think of where we’d be without it. There’s a balance to things and that’s what keeps us us.

An unstable chemical will explode when jiggled or heated or triggered.  

What’s the first thing they do when the ambulance brings someone into the emergency ward?  They stabilize the patient.

But there’s good stability and bad stability.  Bad? Sure, when a dictator uses it as an excuse to dictate.

And what’s going on today in governments from Congress and the White House to state capitals to county seats to city hall?  That’s instability bordering on chaos.

We don’t have a dictator.  Yet.

What we do have is destabilizing of our institutions and therefore our way of life.

The things we were told all our lives to count on are eroding like a beach in a hurricane.

And sometimes -- this time -- stability can come only from coalitions.

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I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
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© WJR 2017

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