I firmly believe that the three most significant and effective words in our lexicon are: I WAS WRONG. If more executives, politicians, lawyers, activists …. and spouses used these words, we would have a more recuperative and stronger civil discourse.
A friend of 50 years chided me recently when he felt that the BasicMan’s recent satirical analysis of the political landscape as derived from A Message from the President was more sour grapes than it was satire. Okay, fair point – criticism accepted. But I learned something, and it doesn’t give me comfort to realize that I’m not sure I know who my fellow Americans are these days. My contention that Romney would win the presidency based on my confidence in the American electorate’s discernment and their grasp of reality make me say: I Was Wrong.
I get the idea of winners and losers in the political arena, or any arena for that matter. I understand the logistics, tactics, and strategy that go into playing the game. What I lost track of at some point was what motivates the players, in this case the electorate. It’s not enough to say that America is continually evolving socially and that the Democrats understood it and seized the opportunity while the Republicans let time pass them by. While true, it’s much more than that.
I reject the notion coming from some pretty smart people that Mitt Romney was a flawed candidate. Mitt Romney was not a flawed candidate, indeed no more than Mr. Obama. Mitt Romney’s campaign was flawed. His strategy and his staff did not serve him or Paul Ryan well. Both Romney and Ryan, by all accounts, are good men with great resumes, families, and ideas. The problem with them is that they saw the American voter the same way I did … right up to somewhere around 6 p.m. on November 6th.
Its obvious that somewhere in recent history, the electorate in general changed – as did the reasons they will cast their vote for one candidate or another. But more consequentially, something else changed – a globally unique perspective of what it means to be an American citizen along with an understanding of the freedoms granted by our Constitution. Most importantly, the role government now occupies in our society as opposed to the one the original founders had in mind appears to have changed dramatically as evidenced by the results of the 2012 election.
Ms. Laura Hollis is an attorney and associate professor of law at the University of Notre Dame. She wrote on this idea that the culture has taken a dramatic shift, and the new direction does not bode well for our future.
… It’s possible that America just has to hit rock bottom. I truly believe that most Americans who voted for Obama have no idea what they are in for. Most simply believe him when he says that all he really wants is for the rich to pay “a little bit more.” So reasonable! Who could argue with that except a greedy racist?
America is on a horrific bender. Actually, it has been for some time now. The warning signs of our fiscal profligacy and culture of lack of personal responsibility are everywhere – too many to mention. We need only look at other countries which have gone the route we are walking now to see what is in store. For the past four years – but certainly within the past campaign season – we have tried to warn Americans. Too many refuse to listen, even when all of the events that have transpired during Obama’s presidency – unemployment, economic stagnation, skyrocketing prices, the depression of the dollar, the collapse of foreign policy, Benghazi, hopelessly inept responses to natural disasters – can be tied directly to Obama’s statist philosophies, and his decisions. What that means, I fear, is that they will not see what is coming until the whole thing collapses. That is what makes me so sad today. I see the country I love headed toward its own “rock bottom,” and I cannot seem to reach those who are taking it there ….. (Hollis; Post Mortem 11/8/12)
Is Ms. Hollis being contentious, overly dramatic, and way too direct? Our new culture would respond with an emphatic “absolutely” as they display a total inability to recognize and prioritize economic and social harbingers on the domestic front and corresponding global realities while propping up their icon who refuses to accept responsibility for anything that becomes ‘blame-worthy’. To hear them tell it, everything is just fine and proceeding as planned; and it’s only the political opposition that impedes progress. We just need to get onboard with the new normal.
For me, this is so troubling to watch, and even more depressing to put into words. To watch the Constitution being persistently gamed both for procedural and ideological advantage, rancorous partisanship becoming increasingly the intractable norm, and emotion fueling essential debate in the absence of logic has become a disservice to Americans in the short term and disastrous to the republic in the long term.
None of this evolution toward the new normal is comforting in the least. Regrettably, I do not hold out as much hope as I once did for the future of our country. It appears the transformation that was promised in 2008 is rapidly taking shape. Call it shrewd marketing, seizing on Americans’ wants instead of their needs to solidify a political future; or simply call it a sense of ignorance, if you must.
I truly doubt the folks that bask in the largesse of this transformation have any clue of what it will take to maintain it. This is why I am having difficulty coming to terms.
Scott Ruppert is a freelance writer that publishes monthly essays for Perspectives of a BasicMan www.basicman.wordpress.com