Thursday, February 10, 2011

There Is No Middle Ground

‘Common ground’, ‘working together for the good of the American people’, ‘getting the job done’ - all wonderful sentiments, designed to say nothing and, at the same time, placate the masses.

There remain huge differences in the underlying understanding of just what ‘the job’ actually entails. Oh, we can talk about getting unemployment down to 8%, especially if it involves fudging the numbers. We can cut the federal budget the same way. We can improve our education results by giving every graduate a test showing three objects and asking which two are alike. We can offer the people healthcare, houses, and rice (cakes on the fourth of July). We can even fly the flag at sporting events and ‘cut and paste’ the words of the National Anthem onto a teleprompter. We can open our borders and invite everybody who wants to come in. We can export our industries, our secrets and our livelihoods to the hungry abroad. We can take a hands-off approach to brutality and genocide. We can do all these things, but there is one thing we can never do: regain trust in our government.

The way things are today, you’re either for something or against it. It all depends on what you ultimately wish to accomplish. It’s like we’re surrounded by trees in the forest and we can’t find our way out. Each tree demands our undivided attention - each one, a life and death decision - sapping our strength and resolve. Every step involves us in banal argument. What we lack is the long view.

The long view is out there. It’s being consummated right now as we speak - while we argue about this and that.

Egypt is a perfect example. Listening to today’s developments, you’d get the idea that it’s complete and utter chaos over there and that our government doesn’t have the slightest clue about what to make of it. I don’t happen to buy that. I think they know exactly what they’re doing and that it’s playing out exactly the way it was envisioned. No surprises there.

I had to laugh when I heard that Mubarak wants to go to Germany after he steps down. He was our dictator, after all! You mean to say we don’t have a place for him right here in the good ol’ USA? Or maybe, he doesn’t really want to come here, knowing what we did to him.

I still remember how we kept saying that Bush single-handedly made us into the most hated nation on earth. From what I can see, this hasn’t much changed under Obama. In fact, we’ve managed to lose quite a few friends along the way. We certainly haven’t made any new ones. We’re about to lose Israel, and the Suez Canal to boot. What’s that supposed to get us? In case nobody has noticed, the Latin American dominos are falling one by one. What does anyone want to bet we won’t have a communist government on our border with Mexico after their next election?

John Batchelor cites ratings, civility and a depth of understanding the issues; when he should be shouting from the rooftops. Ditto, John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy. Either you want to kick over the sand castle or you don’t. There is no middle ground.

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