We all know that the current Congress is a failure, yet do we know why? Here on MMR we often assume that it’s just the same old political game that has been played for decades in DC. However, it isn’t. The new political ‘meme’ that is choking our government in Washington is a recent and radical mutation. Few Americans know of its existence because they, like many of us, believe it is just a different version of the old political game.
It is not. And it ought to frighten the hell out of us- assuming that we knew. One of the goals of this blog is to inform The People of the shenanigans, tricks and downright dangerous deeds that are being done in the dark corners of the alleyways that affect The People. Veteran journalist Bill Moyers is the ultimate muckraker these days and he found something terribly troublesome which he presented on his PBS program two weeks ago. It is titled, Why Congress is Failing Us. This follows on the heels of a book written a year ago by political scholars Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann: It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism.
The phrase ‘new politics of extremism’ ought to wake you up as well as the hairs on your neck. Many of us are old enough to remember hearing Joe McCarthy and Barry Goldwater. The KKK, John Birch Society and Fr.Charles Coughlin all promoted an extreme right-wing agenda as did the southern segregationists.
Authors Ornstein and Mann blame today’s gridlock [read anarchy] as mostly the fault of right wing radicals within the Republican Party who engage in “policy hostage-taking” to extend their political war against the president.
Yes, the GOP.
And don’t give me that ‘dime’s worth of difference’ routine; it is today’s extreme Republican Party that is to blame. Mann said in the interview, “The two parties are not equally to blame because the Republicans have become extreme both in terms of policy and process.” Ornstein said about the Tea Party wing of the GOP, “If Barack Obama is for something, we have to be against it because he’s not a real American.”
There it is- racism and extremism rolled into one bundle- a bundle that purports to be anti-tax but is really something else altogether. It is becoming pathological just as the historic extremists mentioned at the top of this post. Pathological is a term that I don’t easily throw around, yet I detect it simmering all throughout our nation. It’s basic ingredients are race, color and national origin. Yes, ‘those people.’ And what frightens the political extremists on the right is the knowledge that they are suddenly a minority in this nation. My mind flashes to South African Apartheid or Nazi Germany or the Southern Segregationists.
Do our high school seniors know about this history? Do they understand? Will it stay with them? Or does it all fade when they enter ‘real life?’ When they ‘grow up?’ How does what they learn in history class impact the rest of their lives?