The shell game that is American politics is more transparent than ever. Democrats scurried from the liberal moniker like rats from a burning tenement in elections past, now Republicans are scouting out new territory in the coming midterm election. Senate seats are up for grabs and battle lines have been drawn on all of the rhetorical issues but it is clear that nobody is willing to take a stand on anything critical. At least not this far away from the election.
Republicans who are safe in this election are trying to rekindle the blind sense of nationalistic pride that provided the party with victories in elections past and of course the issue of homosexuality is back in the crosshairs, but voters seem poised to think things through this time around and it has politicians, particularly those on the right very concerned. Eight years of right wing politics has destabilized a once burgeoning economy. Prices are up, wages are down and Americans are terrified that medical care might become a luxury. And then we have war. Not one of those romantic wars where the enemy is clearly defined and progress is easily measured, but a nasty little war against ambiguous foes who seem impervious to our ponderous might.
In the coming months battles will heat up. Republicans will have to decided whether or not it’s time to throw Bush under the bus and reach toward the middle to bring the ship back to even keel, or lean even further to the right and dump the whole shebang into the murky waters of ultra-conservative politics.
Democrats won’t have to stake out much of a position. Republicans have enjoyed a staggering degree of control in Washington for the better part of eight years and the results have been awful. They managed to blame Democrats for their shortcomings in 2004, but now voters aren’t buying that one. Fool me once...can’t get fooled again. While it would be an excellent time for the Democratic Party to make its move to restore credibility and honor to the maligned cause of liberalism, it’s obvious that Howard Dean is going to lay up and play it safe counting on the power of disenfranchisement to sway voters to the left.
As reasonable as such a position might be given the state of modern politics, it’s painfully obvious that this country needs a complete overhaul of the political process. The basic structure of the government is fine, but layer upon layer of cheap paint has been slapped over what was once a masterpiece of statesmanship. When you remodel an old house you don’t tear it down and rebuild it, you rip out the shag carpet, knock out a few walls and remove the old fixtures. You get rid of the junk and invest in some high quality accessories. That’s what we need to do with our government.
Sadly the two power parties aren’t rising to that challenge. They haven’t addressed anything truly patriotic or humanitarian in decades and the corruption hangs in the air like the fetid smell of black mold. For years the ruling class has worked hard to insulate its grasp of power in this country and the result has gotten us right where we are today.
This November voters can take the keys to the kingdom back and unite to vote for candidates who are brave enough to align themselves with a third party. Libertarian, Green...even communist. It’s not really about who we elect, it’s about who we shut out. Let Democrats and Republicans sit one out and see how they respond.