Monday, January 4th, 2016
by Reed Galen
Days Until Iowa Caucus: 28
Quote by A Smart Person: "The revelation of thought takes men out of servitude and into freedom." Ralph Waldo Emerson
Welcome to the American Singularity.
The American Singularity – Week 42: Epiphany
…And we’re back…
This week, many of those whom practice the Christian faith will celebrate Epiphany; the time when the powers that be 2000 years ago recognized Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Messiah. It took them a couple of weeks, though, between the Miracle in the Manger and their understanding of just whom had joined the human family.
As we put 2015 mercifully behind us and look forward with excitement to 2016, the American political scene has begun to show itself for what it has become: A sclerotic miasma of competing niche interests and largely empty promises designed to sate Americans’ anger or promise them sunshine and happiness, all for free. Here’s what some of the interested parties should have come to understand by now.
After the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, the Republican presidential field has shifted its focus to national security. Aside from being top of mind for many voters specifically, and Americans generally, this also allows the GOP contenders to display their individual toughness on terror and secondarily avoid too many policy specifics on the economy, healthcare or other domestic issues. But many of them also seem ready to fight a war we can no longer afford, with a military battered by years of combat and hobbled by political weakness, and that many (if not most) Americans probably don’t want.
The words “Progressive” and “Regressive” have become interchangeable with the Democrat frontrunners, Sec. Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders. Rather than embracing the technological advances this country has achieved, and recognizing that the economy of 25 years ago does not exist today and will never exist again, Clinton offers up a “New New Deal” and Sanders proffers old tropes about new social programs for which the wealthy will pick up the bill. The former is an 80 year-old concept. The latter is a political impossibility in today’s system. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised given the party is putting forth their last selection of Baby Boomer candidates.
It turns out that when the White House said their governing foreign policy philosophy would be “Don’t do stupid shit” that meant they would first do nothing, if at all possible. If not able to avoid action, then “stupid shit” was the secondary option (I point to sending James Taylor to Paris after the Charlie Hebdo attack as an example of both.) Of all the people on this list, the President seems least likely or able to understand the consequences of his actions or that he is as complicit as any Republican in creating a fundamentally divided country.
Inside the Beltway Leadership
You’ve given us Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. You’ve helped create an environment where a socialist in Bernie Sanders, received significant support from a major political party. The Freedom Caucus is not seen as the manifestation of an angry electorate, but as rabble rousers to be dealt with. Both parties are complicit. Despite repeated warning from activist Republican voters, the House and Senate leadership fashioned a budget deal that does two things Tea Party voters detest the most: increased federal spending and more giveaways to billionaires. You may complain about what Trump or Cruz or Sanders mean for your parties. But look in the mirror – your Dorian Gray moment is coming.
For 70 years the world has relied on the United States and it collective economic and military might to guide the world through dangerous times. As President Obama embarks on the last year of his presidency, we may have come to the end of that epoch. What much of the world sees now is a lumbering, once-great hegemon who lumbers from one crisis to the next; unable or unwilling to do more than react to events as the unfold. Like a battered boxer who’s suffered too many body blows, we now crouch defensively as our internal troubles make it more and more difficult for us to devise a pro-active strategy for just about anything.