Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Quo Vadis?

In the "December 12th" Thread, Andy made this thought provoking comment:

Somehow we've always seemed to muddle through. Not sure if that's because of luck or some unseen force in the system or what. Can it continue? Probably not.

My concern is whether or not we have retained the ability to "muddle" in a productive direction. I wonder if our long standing, stable and productive form of government and governance is still what the masses, and more importantly, the power brokers, really want.

It is unsettling to see how our perceptions have been altered by the Bush experience. Chris Matthews of MSNBC recently asked a former Bachman campaign manager:

"Would you like to see her commander in chief of the United States?"

While there is no such position or title identified nor authorized in our Constitution, the title is gaining more and more common usage. Do the people really want to have a "Commander in Chief" of the country itself? If the United States is effectively "We, The People", then does that mean "CINCUS" (Interestingly pronounced "Sink Us") exercises command authority over each and every person in the country?

Should we return to calling the CINCUS "His High Mightiness, the President of the United States and Protector of their Liberties", as was the title originally used by Washington until James Madison and the House of Reps demanded something a bit less lofty?

Nearly 200 years after the outrage over "His High Mightiness" had simplified the President's Title to "Mr President", Richard Nixon made a short foray into adding a touch of imperial majesty to his surroundings by putting the White House Police into garish uniforms he helped design, making the Marine Guards' Dress Blues look like leisure suits. The outrage was almost universal. Time magazine editorially wondered at the time whether the White House would soon revert to its old name, which, for a while during the 19th century, was the "President's Palace". Perhaps contemporary folks will begin calling the White House the CINCUS' Command Post?

Is it not just a bit perplexing that so many of those who wish to "return to the Constitution of the Founding Fathers" lean towards semantics, perceptions and practices that are quite alien to what was put in place all those years ago?

The late Rodney Smith, PhD, who brilliantly taught 9th Grade US History and Government in my high school, impressed upon us "the beauty" of how the framers of the Constitution strove to insure the continuity of our sovereign existence and provide for a "peaceful transition of Power" from one administration and Congress to the next. How he must be rolling in his grave as we now see that the objective of partisan politics has become the "overthrow" of an administration. Just listen to the many, many voices, both in and out of elective office, that clamor for same. Consider the ridiculous, never ending "investigations" of President Clinton and his friends, and the attempt at impeaching him over a BJ, when nothing more substantive could be found. Overthrow by any means available! All too many of us want to live in a "Banana Republic", as long as we are the ones in power.

More than the trends towards a militaristic police state, the disregard for "peaceful transition of power" leaves me unsettled. The recent debt ceiling extortion shows that many no longer care to recognize the legitimacy and lawful obligations of previous elected governments of our country. Where Nixon's Police uniforms gave the visual impression of a Banana Republic, actual recent legislative actions is the behavior of one!

But it not just an undercurrent of militant political "violence" to topple a government. Couple this with the recent voices of "yes" at the question of whether an uninsured person in a coma should be left to die, and one has to wonder. Once upon a time, the basic conventions of civility would have led people to keep such thoughts to themselves. And these cries to let the uninsured die came from an audience of people who's political platform is supposedly "Pro-Life".

So, I guess my worry for the future is that we may see many more significant shocks to our "system", and I'm not sure they will be the kind that can be muddled out from under. There is a limit to how much trauma an organism can withstand.



  1. Oh, Bachmann. I have to wonder what goes on in that woman's head. In a way her candidacy is kind of affirming in that it shows that it's theoretically possible for anyone, no matter how crazy, can run for President. I say that knowing that she has no chance of actually gaining the nomination - The GoP rank-and-file aren't that crazy.

  2. Andy,

    I hope and pray that the GOP rank & file are not that crazy. But from my cheap seats here in flyover country, I'm not so sure. The GOP is a split party with the "lunatics" - the ones that the adult (moderate) Republican leaders always told us were under control - really, truly in charge of the party at nearly all levels from town planning board to Congress. Our oligarchs and plutocrats believe they are controlling these folks, but I think just the opposite is true (and that many of those same plutocrats are too intellectually stunted to see the danger - hell, more than a few are active participants in the insanity that is the Tea Party radicalism). Yes, the GOP is now a national, Jacobin party bent on complete nihilistic annihilation of what we hold true - and ironically, using our own stated principals as their weapons! As for the Democratic Party, it has resumed the role for which it accommodated itself to many decades ago - namely the token opposition and compliant (but well paid) foil. At times, I don't know who to despise more. The party of FDR (strong, courageous and practical) is long, long dead and I think the (accidental?) interregnum of Democratic federal power of 2006-2010 has sealed the coffin shut on these venal hacks.

    Where does that leave us? Pretty much up the creek without a paddle and in a leaky canoe. Someone mentioned on the other thread that the good thing when radicalism overplays its hand and falls from grace is that those with better minds and philosophies can come back to the fore. I hope so. But I have to wonder sometimes... absent the crushing defeat and total annihilation of Germany in 1943-45, would Nazism have overplayed its political hand and would the Germans made sure it fell from grace?


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