Friday, May 7, 2010
The Myth of Electoral Choice
News item: Minnesota Republicans endorse Tom Emmer for Governor.
The coming gubernatorial race in Minnesota will likely be the most polarizing and divisive ever. The Democrats had already endorsed Margaret Anderson Keliher, one of the most liberal candidates in recent memory.
Emmer is endorsed by Sarah Palin and Tea Party activists. His extreme right-wing positions almost make governor Pawlenty seem liberal by comparison, despite the latter's recent pandering to national Republican activists in preparation for an expected presidential run.
Now that the state supreme court has ruled Pawlenty's unilateral budget "unallotments" illegal, the fun can really begin as the legislature grapples with an urgent multi-billion dollar deficit.
Emmer's solution the budget dilemma is simple: slash and burn. Aid to cities and counties? Toast - let 'em shutter libraries and go without police and fire protection. Education? Fire so many teachers that classes will need to be held in gymnasiums. Health care for the poor? Cut it all and hope that private charity fills the hole.
This is not to suggest that the traditional liberal solutions are a no-brainer; raising taxes can only go so far in a shrinking economy, and becomes akin to squeezing blood from turnips. The problems are complex and solutions may require totally new thinking.
The remarkable thing about all of this is the degree of rancorous polarization taking place throughout politics. The tedious health care reform debate in congress was just the beginning; expect things to really heat up by the fall elections.
Republicans claim to offer a clear choice for better solutions, but really don't. Both parties are enmeshed within the corrupt corptocracy that our system has become. For example, Republicans claim to defend freedom, but how many of them have worked toward repeal of the Patriot Act? Where are the voices raised against the gulag at Guantanamo Bay, intrusive surveilance of citizenry, or the illegal & brutal war in Afghanistan? Those issues are part of my litmus test for politicians who truly care about defending liberty, but the number who pass are vanishingly small.
Republicans attack Obama's spending policies, but memories are apparently too short to recall Reagan's tripling of the national debt, or Bush Jr. conducting a needless war charged to the national credit card. In fact, the heinous bailouts that have energized the Tea Party activists were originated under Bush's watch. Dare we mention that Clinton presided over a balanced budget?
The point of this commentary is to suggest that the system appears to be breaking down, as would be expected during any major shift - And shifting we are.
The revolution meme foreseen by the predictive linguistics at Half Past Human appears to be taking hold. Their crystal ball holds more dark possibilities over the next several years, but this is not so much "doom and gloom" as may appear. They also see elements of a new social structure forming to replace the old, consistent with a vision of an enlightened new age.
This is an exciting but potentially scary time to be alive. Those who remain here must have chosen to do so.