Time was that the two parties cooperated even when they disagreed. The leadership traded horses in the back rooms of congress, laws were enacted, and, in a sausage factory-like way, the country was governed.
All that has changed, and the major change is the kind of messaging from the right. It's very, very smart, and it's aimed at the very, very dumb. And it's effective.
Compare an explanation of why making Medicare available to everyone is a money saver, that one might hear from someone on the left. It might be a few paragraphs long. It might require greater than an 8th grade reading level to understand.
The right's message in response? Socialism! One word, carefully picked to be easily (mis)understood and feared by anyone of any intellectual capability.
There are other examples: the various and constant lies told to inflame the republican base - Obama is not a citizen; the country is broke; Medicare will run out of money in seven years; Obama moved "In God We Trust" to a place of lesser import on our currency - and all manner of other ridiculous made-up crap designed to appeal to weak-minded people who are incapable of critical thinking.
The right's strategy is to message to the lowest information people in the electorate, outrage them, drive them hard right, make them unreasonable, that is, unable to be reasoned with.
That strategy has worked.
|Republican Safety Net?|
And how do you reason with a right wing electorate that has no capacity for reason, because it has been trained to react to everything emotionally? You can't. Real discourse is impossible. The right wins, by default.
I want to live in a country with a real federal government that can do some good. So what do we do about this mess?
I wrote this piece a while back, somewhat tongue in cheek. http://bparkinson.blogspot.com/2009/09/soft-landing-for-united-states.html
Now I think we really do need to break the country up. I'm completely serious. Let the tea baggers and others on the right secede, and form a country with their vision of a federal government. Encourage folks to move there. Grant liberal access to our highway system so that states that secede but don't have contiguous borders (and those states that didn't secede) have easy lines of communications. Do everything we can to encourage states like Texas, Louisiana, Arizona and others to leave. Do everything we can to make it easy to emigrate from the US to those states, and easy to renounce one's US citizenship. Form a NATO-like treaty with the new Red US to protect them.
What do we get? We get an electorate comprised mostly of people who can compromise, argue rationally, and who don't want to abolish the federal government. In short, a country I want to live in, and I don't have to move to England (although I still want to).
|Steak and kidney pie|