Friday, July 29, 2011
Something to Cry About
Noted crybaby and speaker of the House John "Boner" Boehner has a lot to cry about these days. He twisted enough arms to get his version of the debt ceiling increase passed, but the Senate immediately scuttled it. Harry Reid hopes to get an alternative measure approved by the Senate, but what are the odds of a Democratic-leaning bill ever getting through the House?
The really sad aspect to this is that Boner alienated many of his colleagues on the Tea-Party lunatic fringe in order to muscle his bill through. Many of them are dead-set against compromise of any kind. With religious-style fervor, they believe that any compromise with Democrats is tantamount to cutting a deal with the Devil himself.
Aside from the pressing issue of keeping the federal government solvent, my major concern has got to be the apparent breakdown of representative democracy (insofar as we have known it in theory). The growing ideological polarization threatens whatever shreds of democracy are left in our political system. The spectacle of our elected officicals stampeding over a cliff like lemmings will certainly create a backlash that results in the further centralization of power. People hate indecisiveness and stalemate more than dictatorial excess. Benito Mussolini was swept into power in a fascist wave in Italy for just this reason.
The American system does not accommodate splinter groups as well as a parliamentary-type system. We have survived this far because both major parties have generally been cut from the same cloth, more or less. Extremist factions in both parties have often expressed disgust with this fact, but could do little about it until now.
Parlimentary systems tend to accomodate a wide range of political viewpoints, and manage to share enough power to prevent unrest. Whatever it's root causes, the rise of Tea Pary extremism spells trouble for our system. Perhaps the last election was an aberration, and the pendulum will swing back toward the center next time around. If not, this could mean trouble.
Already there are calls for Obama to simply flip off congress and raise the debt ceiling by executive order. Another idea being floated is to form a "super congress", trusted and controlled by current house and senate leaders, who would debate and approve legislation that the main congressional bodies would only have yes/no votes on. There would be no debate or amendments allowed outside of the "super congress". It seems incredible that this could pass constitutional muster with the Supreme Court, but anything is possible these days. Fascism may be closer than one might think. These trends may not be random events; creeping fascism may fit right into certain agendas within the PTB.
At least the "trains will run on time", you think?