Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Echo Chamber

The two major parties have alternately governed the country for more than 150 years…yes, for more than a century and a half. For more than 69 per cent of our nation’s constitutional history, the Democrats and Republicans have clutched the reins of power. Despite a gut-wrenching, devastating war between the states, a severe and debilitating depression, and numerous other monumental challenges, the two old parties have managed to preserve their places in the halls of power. Some of the time their governance has been inspired and selfless although more frequently their leadership has been partisan and damaging for the country. Sometimes the policies and leaders that they have promoted have been “so-so,” as the nation capitalized on its own industriousness to continue thriving. Their slogans have become tiresome, and their remedies do not work. Their priorities have become distorted, and their mindsets have been locked onto venal self-interest. When their lips are moving, it is as if we are standing in an echo chamber. The words are unceasingly repeated. Their ideas are predictably uninspired. Their ethics and honor are noticeably absent. The time has come to reassign their exclusive representative franchises to the people.

If you are familiar with Ayn Rand’s, Atlas Shrugged, you may have noted the current status of our country to be eerily familiar. Productivity and excellence have been pressured to yield to equality and fairness. Bureaucrats insert themselves into nearly every commercial transaction, and producers’ choices are limited by excessive government intervention. In a free society most transactions consist of contractual agreements between two parties. The present environment in the United States has inserted a third and sometimes a fourth party into the mix. The result is that what began as a simple transaction becomes unwieldy with the intervention of the federal and/or state bureaucracies. The execution of the contract becomes difficult and costly because of the constraints placed on the process by the government interventionists. The suffocating atmosphere may discourage future attempts to engage in mutually beneficial commerce wherein the overall GDP is incrementally diminished. This present sad state of affairs has come under the guidance of Republicans and Democrats. Neither old party has served us well.

So, how do we go about correcting the course of our nation after those two entrenched parties have steered it so far from where we started? First, we must ignore the meaningless words of the echo chamber. Both parties have been spouting the same lines of worthless promises for decades. Judge the parties and their candidates by their actions…their votes. If they express one attitude, but support their leadership for another view when its crunch time, we cannot afford to tolerate them anymore. We must insist that candidate address specific positions when they meet with us. Vague generalities are cop outs that allow the politician some “wiggle room.” We should pledge that if politicians are squirming, it is because we hold them accountable…not because they’re wiggling off the hook. The politicians, Democrat and Republican, do not fear us. So called “conservatives” speak of excessive spending and big government while approving bloated budgets and new programs. Compassionate “progressives” encourage big government slush funds for their political allies while they’re cheering “humanitarian” military intervention into third-world countries who might qualify as basket cases.

When an antique becomes a hundred fifty years old, its value may increase, but it remains a brittle, uncomfortable, old antique. Often, antiques have aesthetic value but very little practical value. Today’s two old parties have outlived their value for the nation. The Democrats have become a cluster of special interests to which their candidates must pander, and the Republicans’ biennial “big tent” appeal has diluted the principles and the message of the Grand Old Party. Neither party has a commitment to principle although they each have their favorite slogans and “hot buttons” that they employ to fire up their respective bases. Both parties blast their cynical messages in the electoral echo chamber, and like the echo, their statements have no substance and no enduring value. One hundred fifty years have been proven to be long enough for the two old parties to destroy the dream of the Founders. Actually, much too long. It is time for them to go. The Whigs, the Bull Moose and the Anti-Masonic parties are waiting for them in history’s dustbin.

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