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The Dark Side of US Politics

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In a perfect world, we would have enlightened political representatives willing to put the interests of the American people ahead of their own political careers. Instead, we live in world where elected officials play Russian roulette with economic policy in the hopes that their jobs will be renewed the next election cycle. When Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) suddenly reneged on the “big deal” deficit and debt goals, Boehner was exemplifying some of the worst tendencies in U.S. politics.

Many of us talk now as if it is “practical” or “rational” for elected representatives at the national level to look out for the interests of a rather narrow section of the American people. Our “political speak” also implies that the only individuals who matter in the country are the ones able or likely to vote. Of course, you’ll say, that’s simply how politics in the U.S. works. But we, the people of America, have the ability to make politics in Virginia and throughout the country more equitable, less intrusive, more efficient, and less self-interested.

What lofty goals, you may respond. But since when has the U.S. become so cynical as to believe that the U.S. is not capable of “enlightened” government? I do not refer here to the philosopher-kings of Plato but the wise representatives of the Founding Fathers of America. The goals I speak to are well within the reach of a people who value them and are willing to stand up for them in the political sphere.

Rep. Boehner could have done the right thing and pushed towards a $4 trillion deal in the debt/deficit discussions, taking on the disorderlies in his party for the greater good of the country. Instead, he has chosen to take the path of least resistance and, for now, to save the precarious hold he already has on his leadership role in the House. But while Boehner eases a tidal wave of protests among some in his party, the certainty of the U.S.’s economic outlook continues to deteriorate. One has to hope that the momentary elixir of political survival outweighs the potentially lifelong consequences of a catastrophic showdown on the country’s debt ceiling and deficit spending.  

  • Va Breeze

    seems all “party” before country

    So much for patriotism, it is all “partisim”

  • Brian

    Your main point is we are a nation of compromisers, and you’re using the fallacy of the founding fathers, to contrast that with today’s backstabbing, non compromising childish political climate.  As if the founding father could do no wrong. Martin Luther King led a civil rights march for a reason. That reason was because the founding fathers could not compromise on slavery. Abigail Adams said “remember the ladies,” they forgot, there had to be a movement for that after they were dead. Further, the politics of the early republic with Thomas Jefferson, the man in your picture, no doubt, employed the use of James Callandar to dig up dirt on his opponents, mainly John Adams. This came back to haunt him, as it was Callandar that dug up the dirt on Sally Hemmings. And don’t get me started with the Adams administration passing the Alien and Sedition Acts, to round up Jefferson Republicans and throw them in jail just because they disagreed with his Federalist Administration. The era of the founding fathers,was far from perfect in the area of compromise. John Boehner is just following that tradition,I do not agree with him, but,the fact is, Washington,the nation was born out of politics with the Anti-Federalist and Federalists at the Constitutional Convention, so this grudge match where nothing gets done and each side accuses the other, has been going on for awhile. I don’t know if that’s the dark side of politics, but that’s the dark side of politics, when using fallacies of how good the past was, to lament the bad present, so we can have a brighter future.    

  • Progressive86

    Setting up foundational “myths of a nation” is a part of every modern nation-state. Of course the Founding Fathers weren’t perfect, I never argued they were. To point out that the Founding Fathers had vehement disagreements proves my point all the more, however. Even though there were disagreements among these individuals, compromises were made, and made on issues which were arguably more important than those we face today (e.g. the issue of using human beings as property).

    The history lesson you articulate does not take away from my main point: the current economy is in dire shape, a compromise was in the works, but politics created an inexcusable divide that most rational observers acknowledge is detrimental to our country.  

  • kindler

    …is the unmooring of politics from tangible reality. When you have one of the top 2 presidential contenders of one of our two major parties saying she would never vote to raise the debt ceiling — and hence cause the US to default on its loans, have its credit rating downgraded, and risk losing its position as economic leader of the world — that tells you all you need to know.

    In history, the countries that have allowed ideology to blind them to reality have suffered, and caused, unspeakable disasters.  That’s what makes it so important to fight and expose these nutcases and break their grip on power.