The People vs. The People

Even though I hold conservative politics responsible for the ongoing decline of our governmental processes, it is impossible to ignore the role of the moderates. (When actual liberals have their turn at running things, we’ll see what happens; through the remainder of this post, the shorthand of Republican or GOP will be used to indicate the conservatives, while Democrat will suffice for the moderates.)

The problem is that even the most honest of Democrats is simply afraid to say, “Okay, it’s over. Tomorrow we start anew.” The Democrats in general know that making this concession will hand the GOP an electoral victory; no matter how much the People claim to despise underhanded politics, dishonest attack rhetoric only tends to hurt the Democrats. In other words, when it’s the GOP, the People seem to rally around it. Take the Swift Boat controversy in 2004; even though the anti-Kerry faction was demonstrated to be lying, and even though the anti-Kerry faction went so far as to suggest that truth was un-American, the People continued to run with the attack, and it cost Kerry tremendously. Additionally, much criticism of his handling of the situation centered around his initial response, which was to attempt to ignore dishonest and hateful politics. The Democrat ignores the dishonest and hateful, he must have something to hide, say the People. The Democrat responds to the dishonest and hateful, and he’s stooping to meet what he despises and rejects, and is therefore a hypocrite, say the People. Yet the Republican who is caught in a hateful lie … is rewarded.

Democrats are, indeed, flummoxed. If they meet the People’s demands for answers, they’re ignored. If they match the GOP’s successful political tactics, the People reject them. It’s no wonder that polls continually suggest that the government is situated to the right of the People on banner issues like abortion, the Second Amendment, civil rights, and health care. The answer seems simple: The People don’t elect politicians who will give them these solutions.

But this begs a more complicated question. Why? I once theorized that the People elected George W. Bush because they prefer to elect the candidate they are more comfortable despising and disowning. This is far too general a thesis, but it would serve to explain at least a part of how our elected representatives continually fail to find a way to give us the things we ask for.

Of course, in another context, we get exactly what we ask for. Except that many of us don’t ask for it. Perhaps we might have been equally screwed under a Kerry administration, but we’ll never know.

Inasmuch as we get what we ask for, though, it is obvious that the first party to concede the quagmire will be hurt politically, and almost everyone involved can be said to think that would hurt the nation at all levels. This is especially true of the Democrats, for reasons considered above. Because our descent into political madness appeals to the less rational side of humanity–it is easy to demonize and criticize–the first concession will most likely be seen as an admission of sole guilt. Certainly, the other side will attempt to exploit it as such. Unless, of course, the People start electing the officials they say they want.

Do the people sound neurotic? Of course they do. And well they should. Remember, one of the reasons American communists sound like such blithering idiots is that the majority of them still work with an American-born myth of communism that ignores the historical truth. While people fretted about whether or not Charlie Chaplin was a communist, the historical truth seems to be that he was too far to the left of the reds. While people fret about the liberal path to Soviet-communist hell, the historical truth includes the fact that Lenin once responded to suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst in a book called Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder. The People are attempting to reconcile mythical distortions of history with their own empirical experiences. It is certainly easier to criticize and complain than penetrate the myths and discover the history hidden beneath.

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