Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners. And necessity has made us allies. Those whom nature hath so joined together, let no man put asunder. What unites us is far greater than what divides us.
Over the last few months, I've been wondering whether the country President Kennedy represented still exists, whether his half of the "us" can in fact be represented as he did. Is there still a "we" in the "us" or is America no longer one country? Can the President legitimately "represent" US?
I thought the intra-American vitriol had peaked during the presidential election in 2008 - from calling candidates terrorists to questioning their birth and religious affiliation, because in the weeks that followed, it felt like we were moving back from the ridiculous to the sublime.
Today there is NOTHING the Republicans can do that will inspire Democrat support or approval, and vice versa. I bet if Speaker John Boehner(R) were to give money to a homeless person, Nancy (the idiot) Pelosi(D) would find a way to condemn it as a political act aimed at eliminating Federal social programs. Such is the lack of quality, maturity, and civility within the government.
The very concept of governing has lost meaning; American politicians' only goal is to win, and then raise enough money and create enough polarity to keep winning - there is no compulsion to actually do anything (serve) whilst in power, who cares about that!
Whatever "they" do, "we" have to hate and decry, even if we agree (or agreed) with it. If they do something that the electorate thinks is good, we have to spin it as misguided, anti-freedom, anti-common man, anti-jobs, or (last resort?) treasonous.
How did politics become so devoid of honor? I blame Karl Rove, who in crafting George W Bush's candidacy, saw that the only way to win was to target the religious right, prey on their fears, and make them hate, truly hate John Kerry. It was a brilliant strategy, and obviously successful. Now all politicians passionately embrace the low road.
Each side is so effective with their spin, they've erased the essential principle of democratic rule - that the wisdom of the broader electorate will attenuate the candidates' radicalism. When politics comes up at the coffee shop or at the dining table, it is easy to find "regular” people parroting either the MSNBC or Fox argument depending on their bias, and expressing the same vitriol against “them” that they hear on TV and from political talking heads.
The electorate has been manipulated, and can no longer do its job of keeping politicians honest and focused on governing.
The American government divides power among three branches so that no one agenda will or can dominate. But today the President (executive branch) largely controls his party in Congress (legislative), and with a majority in the House and Senate, is able to have his way on most things. The Supreme Court (judicial) is nine individuals with a lifetime tenure and the power to interpret laws as they choose. The current Court is comprised of five conservative and four liberal judges; many 5:4 rulings happen along "party" lines, and while the Court wishes to avoid this, it occurs more and more frequently, especially in cases where the Executives and Legislatives are also divided according to party propaganda.
If Mitt Romney wins his party's nomination (likely), and if he is able to activate the Tea Party with sufficient force to maintain the House majority and also win a Senate majority (possible), he will, with this "friendly" Supreme Court, essentially be a despot.
While he may have been (perhaps still is) more moderate than his rhetoric, he knows how to appease "them that brung him," in order to sustain majorities through the midterm elections, and then get reelected in 2016. Winning = radicalism + fear mongering.
Even within America, does the picture JFK painted still apply? Can Americans of both stripes be neighbors, friends, partners, and allies? Is there more that unites us than divides us? Or has Karl Rove put us asunder? It took a several years to foster the revulsion each feels for the other; I imagine it will take much longer to repair the rift and establish real trust. I do know that the longer we mistrust, the longer it will take to undo the damage.
Not ironically -- this rift was created by our leaders and blossomed with our assent. Not so long ago, a group of traitors wrote these words within a proclamation saying that enough is enough:
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Here in the 21st century, the so-called Representatives inside the Beltway might well be worse than the despotic Brits of the 18th century.
So what will this primary and the upcoming election say about US?
Have we endured a long enough train of abuses and usurpations? Have they evinced a desire to once again establish new guards? Or will we just placidly whine about it and order another nonfat decaf half soy latte?