Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Revolution and Devolution

As I sit here I listen to one political ad after another. All are cynical, all are lies, all are crude, petty and accusatory, and none addresses the core problems that face our state and our nation. These are not the clear-eyed and noble declamations of statesmen; they are the ramblings and rantings of pedants and poseurs who crave power and the spotlight; these are the insane bumblings of crass buffoons. I recall advice from some comic pundit: Never vote for anyone who actually wants to be elected.

Both parties have failed us. Indeed, there are no longer two parties in America, but only one -- two wings of the same spendthrift, hypocritical cabal of bloody-minded power-grabbers who have little or no regard for the founding principles of this nation or the sacred liberty of its people. They pander to interests and purchase votes at the public's expense and make a mockery of our democracy and the sacrifices our forbears made to preserve it. They are, by and large shallow, venal, puerile, small-minded, cowardly and driven by narrow self-interest and I, for one, am fed up with the lot of them.

Elections, which used to be exciting bouts of ideas and personalities, have now devolved into shoddy spectacles of recrimination, venom and greed. There is only one value now in American politics: to get power, buy it if you can, and hang onto it for as long as possible at any cost and any sacrifice of honesty and virtue. The debates of Lincoln and Douglas would not be tolerated today; indeed, Lincoln himself would be laughed off the national stage by those arbiters of political taste, Leno, Letterman, Stewart and Saturday Night Live. One can only imagine what such hucksters of political bias as Olberman and Matthews would have to say about Abe's gangling back-woodsmanship, his quaint accent and his adherence to a set of principles based on the Constitution, God and human liberty. They would malign and demonize him, bowdlerize his ideas and mimic his traits, and public opinion would be poisoned against him before he had a chance to speak.

Our republic is in very dire straits. Ideas have been trampled by self-interests, the public good is being consumed by petty ambitions, and individual liberty is being sold daily on the auction block of collective submission to the authority of the central state. I was struck to read that a recent poll found that, for the first time in our history, a majority of the American people believe that their government does not represent them. This is shocking, it is troubling, it is a signpost for anyone to read who knows the history of this nation and of its founding. If such is true, then it is time for a revolution - a second American revolution. And it is not just I who say it; the Founders said so, and they had the intellect and vision and courage to bring it about.

What disturbs me most is the possibility that our society has been so numbed by decades of crass political propaganda and so dumbed by a system of public education that fails to teach our children how to think for themselves but, rather, indoctrinates them in the politically correct culture of the time, that our people are no longer capable of mounting such a revolution. Indeed, they know so little now about the first American Revolution that they may not even be able to conceive of it. I hope it is not so.

For if it is, I fear that the future holds for us what it has for so many societies whose citizens sacrificed their freedom on the pagan altar of collective comfort: mediocrity, submission, capitulation to the dictates of the state, economic and cultural bankruptcy, the withering of the human spirit and the death of initiative and creativity - the very initiative and creativity that propelled our civilization to the highest levels of achievement, prosperity and liberty the world has ever known.