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Growing Up Before November
“To harbor spiteful feelings against ordinary people for not being heroes is possible only for narrow-minded or embittered man.” - Chekhov
The Republican primaries began as an opportunity to vote for someone. When the choices went from two dozen or more to three, the last few primaries became about voting against someone. That’s sad. Party regulars have a winner in the blocks and they can’t take yes for an answer. At the same time, party hacks and the extreme right are suffering from a terminal case of sour grapes. Their guys lost. So like adolescents who can’t get their way, the righteous right especially, folks who treat the National Review like a Koran, are willing to sabotage the front runner or blow up the big show altogether. That’s worse than sad. It’s undemocratic – and juvenile.
Politics in the end, especially in a social democracy, is always about winning. Losers do not get to make policy, law, Supreme Court justices, or the future. Given the human material America has to work with, sometimes we have to swallow hard and press on anyway for the win. Life and success are team sports.
Loud, proud, independent, and candid are not necessarily vices in a culture where belonging, approval, and conformity are the standard. We are a nation of sheep because of the company we keep. Millennials, their virtual worlds and social networks, can take a bow here. Alas, a perilous world and a spendthrift legislature need to be managed by pragmatic adults in a real world.
The loudest voice in any American public forum is always apathy. If we are to believe historical voting records, most folks who can vote, do not. To date in the 2016 presidential cycle, the apathy drag has been a Democrat problem. The offering on the American left is more or the same – and then some more.
On the other side of the aisle, the Republican front runner is churning up numbers and enthusiasm that no pundits would have predicted. The entrepreneur from Queens claims to be a guy who will say no to fiscal folly, say no to foreign policy boondoggles, and say “you’re fired” to party and federal deadwood if necessary.
The alternative is a cliché; running on coattails and plumbing, Mrs. Santa Claus in a red pant suit.
In recent memory, we have had two pairs of breeding lawyers in the White House and we may, in part, be where we are today because we allow ourselves to be governed by lawyers or professional politicians, or both. Lawyers and politicians make good bedfellows because each thrives on other people’s money. No other professions need apply in Washington these days. Maybe it’s time to accept the wisdom of crowds and allow someone with real world success and management experiences to take the wheel. Hard to imagine he will do worse than the usual suspects or any pair of recycled Beltway shysters.
G. Murphy Donovan writes about the politics of national security.