Our Savior Who Art in WashingtonPermalink +
Sat, Nov 29, 2008, 3:33 pm // g.h.kirsch
Of course, for the Demofaithful, that's now remembered as something like a golden age; dot coms, and the nascent housing bubble just a twinkle in Billy's eye. Oh how the lens of history can be refocused. Eight years of Dubya even make Bubba look good.
But did these guys warn us not to repeal Glass-Steagal? Wasn't the relaxation of such regulation a first step towards that slippery slope down which we slid into fictitious derivatives, bogus swaps, and ultimately the demise of a private banking system? Will the call for "change" soon become, "buddy, can you spare a dime?"
What is about to take place in Washington is what Alistair Cooke long ago saw as our national governance cycle. “All Presidents start out to run a crusade, but after a couple of years they find they are running something less heroic, namely the presidency. The people are cured by then of election fever, during which they thought they were choosing Moses. In the third year, they look on the man as a sinner and a bumble and begin to poke around for rumors of another Messiah."
Now I realize it is most unpopular to point out such things at a time like this. With more than half the country intoxicated with the current illusions, it will indeed be awhile before the reality of our predicament returns. Obama and his majority are unlikely to be able to better deal with the social insecurity system, entitlements, defense spending, health care, campaign finance reform, terrorism, gun control, life/choice, or an economic system that has forsaken the employment of its citizens in the production of goods, to protect from harm, and direct the greatest rewards to those investing in snake oil and Ponzi schemes.
This is because changes in these areas require reforms that these would be agents of change will not undertake; changes that would fundamentally affect their future prospects, or jeopardize support from their constituencies. And there are unlikely to be any fresh faces courageous enough for the task.
Let us not forget the old proverb, “change” and “change for the better” are two different things. Have these Clintonians had a come to Jesus moment and seen what was an earlier lack of vision? Have they gotten their minds around the role they played in this tragedy? As Shaw told us, “those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything."
Or are these folks just making another pass through those golden revolving doors.
How will we change things for the better without changing a system where positions in government are just way points on the road to riches; or where a government job primarily means financial security with a hand forever in the public purse. What ever happened to Eisenhower's quaint idea that, “politics ought to be the part time profession of every citizen.” It has become the full time profession of a group of people who have morphed from being servants to something like a master class. Which reminds me of Phaedrus's observation, "In a change of masters the poor change nothing except their master's name."
So, don't expect to see me there, shelling out tens of thousands to have a ring side seat at the ascension. Old Ike sounded a little like Yogi Berra when he said, "Things are more like they are now than they have ever been before." I think I like Ike more now than I did then.
To all those who think they've done their duty, cast their vote, and will now sit back and wait for a little change; when disillusionment sets in, maybe you'll appreciate a little wisdom once shared on a sidewalk outside the Chelsea Hotel by a goofy painter enjoying his fifteen minutes of fame.
"They always say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself." Thanks Andy.
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