By: Alexander G. Markovsky
The last five years of the Obama administration have been like living on a volcano. The country has gone from one crisis to another. The skyrocketing deficit, welfare reform, immigration policy, Social Security, and environmental regulations were just a few of the issues on which the Democrats and Republicans were far apart. Americans have been suffering a catastrophic loss of trust in their government, democratic institutions, and the president. In September 2011, Obama said he hoped that
in the midst of a crisis like this that we could pull America together to move forcefully on behalf of the American Dream and on behalf of all those who aspire for something better for their kids. And what has been clear over the last two and a half years is that we have not had a willing partner.
Apparently, at least half of the country does not share the president’s peculiar vision of the American Dream.
After experiencing five years of infighting, not the least of which were the government shutdowns over the debt limit and Obamacare, Americans might be likely to name dysfunctional government as the most important problem facing this country. Yet Americans don’t seem to be able to identify the major cause of this dysfunction. Some think it is the Tea Party, some blame Republicans in general or Democrats or both, some blame the president. Some think, and for a good reason, Barack Obama and John Boehner do not like each other. Americans continue emphasizing the obvious, overlooking the important. The inability of the Republicans and Democrats, and the president to come together and solve the nation’s problems is the obvious. The important is that the current brinkmanship is another chapter in the epic struggle between socialism and freedom.
President Jefferson declared in his inaugural address that “we are all Republicans, we are all Federalists.” Many years later another president reconfirmed the sentiment. In his State of the Union Address in January 1989, President Reagan said, “Yes, we will have our differences. But let us always remember: what unites us far outweighs whatever divides us.”
The point both presidents were making was that we are all Americans and we all share the same ideals and aspirations: self-reliance, belief in a free-market economy, and commitment to the democratic process. It was the key reason the previous administrations, Democratic and Republican alike, despite ideological differences over a wide spectrum of issues, including the role of government and a variety of social concerns, could work out their disagreements and get important legislation passed.
The current political environment, however, is fundamentally different. The rise of Left radicalism culminated with the election of a Marxist socialist government that is fostering the replacement of American self-reliance with government dependence. The government’s control over the economy and the proliferation of the welfare state, led to the emergence of the Right radicalism that is committed to the preservation of the Constitution and the capitalist free-market economy.
The radicalism on both sides became too intense, and as a result the ideological Great Divide became impossible to bridge. “The bonds of affection” Abraham Lincoln talked about in his inaugural address were broken. Any attempt to negotiate a settlement between Democrats and Republicans is doomed from the start because they are pursuing diametrically opposed visions of America.
This is a struggle directed from two bitterly opposed and ideologically hostile irreconcilable camps. One it desperately trying to preserve the old political reality and the other is aggressively fighting to replace it with a new order. Therefore, the government is not dysfunctional; it functions as should be expected in these desperate hours of a highly polarized environment of the cold civil war.
About the Author:
Alexander G. Markovsky is a Russian émigré. He holds degrees in economics and political science from the University of Marxism-Leninism and MS in structural engineering from Moscow University. He resides in Houston, Texas, with his wife and daughter, where he owns a consulting company specialized in management of large international projects.
Alexander G. Markovsky is a contributor to FamilySecurityMatters.org and his essays have appeared on RedState.com and WorldNetDaily.