Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Direction of the Polity

I have given up trying to understand what is happening politically in the United States. One hopes that, no matter whatever developments are to come, we will survive the current turmoil. I suppose that back in the late '60's, when most adults felt that all hell was breaking loose, I would, as an adult, have felt pretty much the same way. (But as a young tusker, it was groovy). When your world is threatened, no matter whether it is the smug world of '50's consumerism and international hegemony or the, well, '00's world of consumerism and international hegemony, one tends to react, sometimes violently. But, it is still beyond me why the vast, relatively homogeneous, world of the American prolateriat, all those people who work in Exxon stations, Food Lions, Blockbusters, bowling alleys, McDonalds, "environmental" services, construction, landscaping, etc., seem to now reject any sort of change from the status quo. Ironically, it may be seen in the future as the almost spectacular success of the media machine dominated by Fox News.

The fact that many Americans believe such things as the viability of Sarah Palin as a presidential candidate, and question such things as the place of President Obama's birth, is a testament to media driven craziness. Americans have always liked flamboyant personalities. At least Huey Long  had some credentials. But Joe the Plumber and, particularly Glen Beck, are personalities of an entirely different order.

Perhaps I am making too much of this. Perhaps I should be more sanguine. After all, my country has made it this far with lots of stresses including a bloody Civil War. But it seems that the hub of all this, the machine that is Washington, D.C., has, to use an euphemism, suffered a spanner in its works. If you think Health Care is broken, and it is, trust me, then that human collection inside the Beltway is really in trouble. This will all come to a heady crux over the next week when the Democrats try to get the Health Care Reform bill passed. I am not sure what the odds are, Jimmy the Greek would know, but they can't be good for its passage. (I didn't realize that JTG had passed away in 1996.)

What then? Well, one group of "lawmakers" will have demonstrated that they have potent spanners. This is the same group that used to believe "What is good for General Motors is good for America." Not. The problem is that once having governed by hurling spanners, where do you go from there? Is it any wonder that less than one out of five Americans trust their Congress. Elections next fall should be interesting.

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