The media is most interesting to watch (or in my case, listen to) today. Cool new word of the moment: tea parties. The MSM on the left, yawns, sneers, snickers, and generally ignore them, while the big guns in the New Media on the right are reporting on the second (peaceful) Revolution.
Today’s demonstrations and protests, and the predictable whining of those on the left, are a picture perfect, made to order, example of my view of the current (and probably for some time) American politics.
In America we like to slice things up as “either” and “or,” a binary choice. You’re either a democrat or a republican, you’re either a liberal or a conservative, you either are for the little guy, or you want to see the little guy crushed.
I guess on some level it does make life easier, after all when there’s only two choices, how hard can it be to pick either one or the other? Definitely cuts down on the number of talking points to regurgitate.
But the real split in American politics – and I’m sure this goes back, probably to the turn of the twentieth century – is between the cowards and the courageous.
Now before you get all huffy and move on, allow me to explain. My experience in this life has been there are indeed two strains of thinking in America and American politics. On the one hand you have those who think life sucks, the game is rigged against them, and if some one doesn’t come along and promise them the moon, then they don’t stand a chance in this world. I’ll call them cowards. On the other hand you have people who look at life and think, you know, this is going to be tough, its going to be painful, there will be ups and downs, but damn it, I’m going to win. I’ll call them the courageous.
Normally pundits and talking heads carve up ‘either/or’ as the right and the left. But that’s not entirely correct. There are cowards on the right, and there are (or at least used to be courageous on the left – though the democratic party’s modern liberal movement has done its best to run them out of the party on a rail). Apparently they’ve decided its easier and cheaper to make false promises to ‘chicken littles’ than try to come up with a sound, reasonable argument. That and there’s plenty of voters on the verge of tears from the terror of the unknown future, and their votes are just as valid.
That’s how I see this new phase of American politics shaping up. One the one side you have citizens who are just sure, no matter what, they’re going to end up losers unless they can figure out some way to rig the game in their favor (enter the slimy politician who promises to rig it in their favor, just keep those votes coming). On the other hand you people who are ready, willing, able to take what ever life throws at them, and rightly view those rigging the game for some one else, at their expense.
I’m not sure where this will all end up, but I like the way the contours are changing. Because the cowards can’t win this one in the long run.
See, it’s a lot easier to convince some one who’s wracked by irrational fear that, while life is tough, it can be done, than to to take a rational person and convince them the only way to live their life is to run around in circles backwards, waving their arms, and screaming “SAVE ME! SAVE ME! SAVE ME!”
Think of it this way, if there are ten people standing on ledge, ready to commit suicide, and you’re able to convince two of them to come back inside, you may only have a success rate of 20% – but you got that 20%. The other 80% is hopeless anyway.
On the other hand, if your game plan for future success is to Convince some one that 30% unemployment and 20% inflation is actually an improvement, you’ve got quite a job on your hands. Notice I said convince, not prove. That’s not an accident.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not expecting any huge, seismic shifts in the next couple of years, I’m not that irrational. But what I do see is there are people from all political stripes in on these tea parties, not just radical right, as the radical left is trying to portray.
No, its a very slow process, I’m sure it will out last my life time. But it is a start.
I hope what I’m seeing is the beginning of “either, or” and now “or, maybe…..”