Hey, all you people who stayed home November second insisting it didn’t matter which party occupied the White House and Congress, how’s that no-step forward-two-steps backward workin’ out for ya? Are you pleased with the kinds of people in leadership positions who promise a bright future for a country in an inertial lockstep that impedes rather than promotes innovative policy, sheltering what they define as the American way?
That “way,” is characterized by a free market, fiscal free-for-all that awards greater control of capital to the few while squeezing out middle and lower-income earners who decry what they call “class warfare” mistakenly believing they may join the ranks of the wealthy one day. They support candidates least likely to clear a path to the top because the campaign to ‘take the country back’ is in reality a cynical embrace of the status quo, or a deception dished up by intellectual lightweights like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the lady from Alaska, all guaranteeing a further erosion of our national brain-trust.
Right-wing pundits and pols spend most of their time attacking the president and Democrats in general when it would be ever so refreshing if learning their craft meant knowing something about the nation’s history and the Constitution instead of distorting facts to suit a partisan agenda. How did critics decide to waste even a second’s time challenging the president’s Thanksgiving message with a lot of gibberish about how the Indians experimented with socialism and the Pilgrims changed course and advanced the cause of capitalism?
It is more than a little disturbing to realize that we have reached a point in our history when entrenched partisanship destroys sensible dialogue and uninformed people with loud voices make dubious points to support anachronistic views that add nothing to discussions about the country’s founding or where it should be headed. One Republican caller to The Washington Journal actually suggested that Democrats were afraid of intellect, this from the supporter of a party that had the effrontery to field low-intellect, wild-eyed, radical candidates an alarming number of whom were unfortunately just elected. Another caller said it had taken Obama just two years to destroy the economy and thank heavens a new Congress would save us from fiscal ruin.
Do people like this ever listen to news reports other than the ones Fox News delivers? Is our education system so deformed that under-schooled zealots speak with authority about issues too complicated for far smarter, better-educated minds to resolve? The sad fact seems to be that some leaders of little intellect and diminutive educational credentials depend on the ignorance of constituents to elect them to positions of power.
Consider some of the Republicans vying for leadership roles in the new Congress and the ideological forces that seek to shape policy. The electorate has been bombarded with right-wing insistence that government be guided by the Constitution and, oh yes, religious principles, although the two positions are diametrically opposed to each other. No religious preference should ever be used as the basis for holding elective office says the Constitution but time and again groups like the Family Research Council direct believers toward a particular candidate or policy and some members of our governing bodies try to inject their religious preference into legislation.
Joe Barton and John Shimkus are joined in a contest to chair the House Environment and Commerce Committee. It would be hard to find two more inappropriate candidates for that position. Barton is your typical Texas-driven big-oil partisan who apologized to BP for the fund President Obama established from which parties injured by the oil spill could seek recompense - - what Barton referred to as a “slush fund.” Shimkus on the other hand is a Christian fundamentalist who says man is not the cause of environmental fluctuations. Only God can destroy the universe as was made clear in Genesis, he says, when God promised Noah the world would not suffer another flood of his making.
And then there are the birthers still questioning Obama’s legitimacy. What a disheartening display of mindless partisanship and religious perversity. If we as a nation want to hang on to a shred of respectability and avoid becoming the laughing stock of the free world, responsible people will have to take a much stronger position on what it is we stand for as a people and stop acting as if intelligence were a non-essential element in our governing apparatus.