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The Road Travelled, The Road Ahead

Politics

Eu-phor'-ia:  a feeling of well-being or elation.

Much has been written and spoken about the results of the last election and why it happened. Certainly it was one of the most unusual in modern history considering the extremity of the nationwide political realignment at multiple levels of government. Something drastic must have happened to cause this upheaval. Well, of course there is the Recession. The economy is always a major political driving influence. Yet, there have been recessions in the past, many of which had political repercussions, but not like this one.

What was different this time was the unipolarity of government in place at the time. Yes, it all started under Bush, but there was a Democratic Congress at the time, hence the argument that it's all Bush's fault lacks credibility. Since 2008, government was solidly in the hands of one party, executive and legislative. You can argue all you want that without trillion-dollar stimuli, it would have been worse, but it's so bad that that's hard to imagine and harder to sell. It is what it is, a mess, and the Democratic government's policies did not fix it.

What we did get from the Dems is a bunch of massive social legislation to fix things that, while not perfect, were not crying for reconstruction. However, that's what we got while unemployment soared and stuck. What also rankled was the way it was done, largely behind closed doors and under the table. The arrogance of thinking that they could fix everything--or most everything--in a few years led to their downfall. The frog jumped.

Lord Acton observed eons ago that "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." I would substitute "arrogant" for "corrupt", the latter being probably a bit strong. I think lots of folks, lots and lots, suddenly looked up and said, "Whoa! What's happening here? Everything is changing so fast and it scares me." The result was a sort of popular revolt, typified by the fatally disregarded and reviled Tea Party movement, which was to most folks obviously not a bunch of lily-white red-neck racists. The underestimating was truly bi-partisan, to the dismay of more than one career Republican. You can disdain Sarah Palin all you want, but she is an influence and much of the proletariat likes her. Arrogance, again.

So, the sleeping lion woke up and roared, and career politicians fell like the blackbirds from the sky. Both parties should beware because, like it or not, Sarah and the Tea folks are not going away for quite awhile. The economy is changing permanently and so is the political landscape. Those disenfranchised pols waiting for the dust to settle to come back to the trough better be prepared for a very long wait. Whether this is all good is arguable, but in my humble opinion and from long experience government-watching, I think it was necessary. The arrogance of our "public servants," an oxymoron if there ever was one, had gotten out of control and had to be reined in for the good of the Republic. Lord Acton would be pleased.

The road ahead is not as smooth as the Republicans in their new-euphoric confidence think it will be. The party is heavily split between Tea-Party idealistic conservatives and the entrenched, more pragmatic old guard, and there is still a left-wing president firmly entrenched for most of two more years. I think William Shakespeare's, "... a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing" may apply for quite awhile. Eventually, however, it may all shake out and at least a bit of humility permeate the alabaster halls of government. It may actually in a small way begin to resemble Honest Abe's government of, by and for the people. Wouldn't that be nice; haven't seen that for awhile.

But beware, the lion is still awake.

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