Thursday, August 30, 2012

We the (Insert Faction Here) People

One of the really amazing things about observing the GOP convention (and it will probably be true of next week's Democratic convention, too) is the obvious balkanization of the voting public. There aren't really any "Republicans" ... there are "Reagan Republicans," "Tea Party Republicans," "Log Cabin Republicans," "Pro-Life Republicans," "Ron Paul Republicans," etc, etc, etc.

The preamble to the Constitution* begins with the timeless words, "We the People of the United States." Today, we aren't the people of the United States ... we're the people who belong to our particular faction of choice. We're the "pro-life/pro-choice people," the "gun rights people," the "oil and gas people," the "financial industry people," "LGBT people," the "African-American (or other ethnic group) people," or whatever ... insert your faction of choice in the blank. Nobody can just be an American any more. All that's important are the issues that affect me or my faction.

Another interesting thing is to observe the rather dismal knowledge of American history** on the part of those who would wrap themselves in the holy mantle of the sainted Founders. Consider this dedication statement at the beginning of the GOP 2012 Platform:

This platform is dedicated with appreciation and reverence for:
The wisdom of the Framers 
of the United States Constitution, 
who gave us a Republic, 
as Benjamin Franklin cautioned, 
if we can keep it.

One would think that the Founders came down from Heaven riding glowing clouds of intellectual brilliance, bringing the Fountain of All Perfect Knowledge ... which is, of course, as any serious student of history can tell you, utter crap. It is very convenient for those who trumpet the sanctity of every word of the Constitution and the brilliance of its drafters to forget that the original Constitution acknowledged the reality of slavery, papering over the differences between factions that led, eventually, to the Civil War.

The Founders were pragmatic politicians who came together at a critical time in history to cobble together a document which, despite its shortcomings, has held together relatively well. And it's not a bad thing to remember that many of the Founders - who are revered for their supposed godlike wisdom by hardshell conservatives - would probably never be accepted by today's GOP, which utterly eschews their form of pragmatic negotiation and compromise in favor of a my-way-or-the-highway approach to government.

We the People are the ones who will elect the next president. I'd like to think we'll choose wisely, but the signs are not encouraging. We the People mindlessly parrot slogans and unquestioningly accept the most ludicrous outright lies and half-truths. We the People are being manipulated by people with no greater agenda than to crush their opponents and impose their own vision of a society built on their own principles.

And we're letting them get away with it.

The election is not far off. Start thinking. Ask the hard questions and insist on clear answers from those who want your vote. You won't get the answers you want, but it's always interesting to watch the twist and spin and dodge as they try to stay "on message" while making you think you got an answer.

Remember Bilbo's First Law: Don't let anyone do your thinking for you. Especially me ... and especially now.

We the People - all of us - need your clear-thinking, well-informed support. Don't let us down.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


* Often blithely cited, seldom fully understood.

** Not to mention science.


Wabbit said...

And you didn't even mention that the reason that so many of the Founding Fathers (and Mothers, thank you Abigail Adams et. al.) were here was because of religious and other forms of persecution, all of which the GOP ('Grand' Old Party????) seem to espouse in one form or another!

I sure wish that YOU would run for office and I'm seriously considering writing you in for the Oval Office come November. If we had more debate along these lines and less of candidates throwing Molotov cocktails at each other, saying what they stand for and against rather than lying about their opponents, maybe it would be easier for the citizenry (and I use that term loosely) to figure out who will best represent their interests not just in Washington but at all levels! When people are counting on political ads to inform and educate them and have forgotten to think for themselves, or worse yet, are too LAZY to think for and educate themselves... well, we reach the state we find ourselves in now: The Ununited Fractured* Factioned States of America!

* Ununited Fracture: 1. a fracture in which union between the ends of the bone fails to occur.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Great advice to think for ourselves.

But people who think a dangerous -- they may get serious ideas.

Big Sky Heidi said...

There's a tendency in political parrties -- most acutely in the Republican Party now -- to try to seize the Party and tell the others "My way or the highway." Unfortunately, strength of any group is in numbers. Including in nations.

Duckbutt said...

I find the general state of divisive politics to be discopuraging.

Mike said...

@wabbit - John and I have been promoting Bilbo for president for many years now.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

We've come to a sad state of affiars.