Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Catch-Up Time

David Horsey has come up with a pretty good term to describe the Republicans in Congress:  NeoConfederates.  He's referring, of course, to their stance on many issues which is reminiscent of Southerners in the 19th Century.  But he doesn't let the Democrats off the hook either in this column.

In the current issue of Vanity Fair, Todd Purdum equates the current era with the decades before and after 1500 during which the New World was discovered and explored, trade became a global enterprise, the Reformation broke the religious monopoly of the Roman Catholic Church, the feudal system gave way to nation states and movable type and the printing press created the first form of mass communication.

The introduction to Purdum’s column sums up his thesis: "Not in 500 years has the world seen such revolutionary change as it is now witnessing: the Internet, genetic engineering, mass migration, climate change, worldwide economic dislocation, a new global elite, and more." Then comes this kicker: "Yet our leaders don't seem to take any of it seriously." ...

Today, there are quite a few very vocal neo-Confederates who think gun rights, states rights, the protection of white American culture and elimination of "excessive" taxation on the rich are the nation's preeminent concerns. Their anti-bellum mindset makes it impossible for them to accept scientific reality -- climate change, evolution, the true age of the planet -- and political reality -- America is becoming a more diverse, tolerant nation that does not share their fear-driven philosophy.

One of our two great political parties has been captured by the neo-Confederates and, because so many of them have been elected to Congress, the political system is gridlocked. Big problems are either ignored -- climate change, deterioration of infrastructure, the toxic greed in the financial system -- or kicked down the road to be fixed another day.

And, as the cartoon shows, the Democrats in Congress and in the White House are allowing the latest iteration of NeoCons the space to wreak this havoc on the nation. At this point, there doesn't appear to be anyone ready to lead in the 21st Century.

Yet, Horsey is still hopeful:

Change is constant but our political system always lags behind until the force of change is too great to resist. The fact that those who are now clinging to the past have become so rigid, desperate and shrill is a strong indication that a big leap is drawing close. We have not found our Abe or Teddy or FDR or LBJ, as yet. Barack Obama is more a manifestation of a changing America than he is the agent of a revolutionary shift. But when the shift comes, leaders will rise to the moment and history will call them great.

That is a hopeful thought at a dismal moment in our democracy.

Here is where I would disagree with Horsey.  I would suggest that a different paradigm than the "great man" theory implied in his conclusion is what will be the key to the change, and was in fact the key to the changes wrought by these American leaders.  There will be no change until the American citizenry demand it, even as the African Americans demanded it of LBJ and the public demanded it of FDR.

I'm not talking about the pollsters reports, delivered daily to the White House, Congress, and, yes, to us.  Those polls are skewed and presents results which pretty much say what the pollsters want them to say.  I'm talking about non-stop telephone calls, faxes, and emails.  I'm talking about more than 200,000 signatures on a petition to tighten gun laws at the White House petition site.  That clearly got the president's attention.

Until we start behaving as citizens in a democracy, we won't have one.

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Blogger MerCyn said...

Great analysis. It is frustrating, but long-term there is hope. The last hurrahs of the neocons will eventually - hopefully sooner rather than later - fade away.

11:04 AM  

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