I'd like to ask a simple question and I'd appreciate anyone's perspectives whether they're Tea Partiers, Conservatives, Republicans, Liberals, Progressives, Leftists or anything else. And not necessarily in that order.
Why do you think politicians have so many bites at the apple when the rest of us have to accept defeat and do something different? I look at the people who are still influencing the White House and it just amazes me that some politicians can stick around as long as they do. They never go away. They never stop darkening our doorsteps. They just keep coming back, year after year, like a case of untreatable herpes. Is it because we've created a dominant political class of career politicians with all of the institutional apparatus to support them? Do we begin their journeys by identifying them early and ushering them through all the stages so that they can become President, or Senator, or Congressperson, to the exclusion of so many others? In other words, do we "grow" our politicans instead of really electing them and then keep them around because we're too embarrassed to admit it?
I happen to think that's a lot closer to what happens in America - at least as far as our really important National offices are concerned - than the idea that I learned in grade school that practically anyone of sound mind and character could run for office. I always imagined there would be a lot of turnover in these jobs, that people would campaign, serve for a while, and then pass the baton. The longer I live, though, the more I believe that the system is rigged -- and that really sours me on the idea that our Republic is anything other than a word game. I even blame myself for it. I think sometimes: "The reason so many of our politicans can do these things is because they have much higher self regard than the average person. Their egos are just titanic and that's why they're winning politicians in a land of really overinflated egos." I also realize that I could never be a politician: I could never contradict myself that deliberately, often enough to look at myself in the mirror without being disgusted.
Or maybe it's just that I haven't learned to square the circle mentally as well as these people can. Where do they teach that? Do they just get up in front of the mirror in the morning and say to themselves:
"Hey there, whoever you are."
"Yup, nice to see you."
"You're going to lie through your teeth today."
"Yup, it's the same thing I did yesterday."
"But that's important because today we have a bunch of important things on the agenda."
"Yes, and I'm going to lie about them too."
"Right, that's why you're successful."
"I know, and thank you."
"Of course, you're the BEST."
"Yes, I'm the BEST."
For example, when I see Bill Clinton going to the White House with Warren Buffett and then the oil well in the Gulf being stopped the NEXT DAY, I have to wonder: who is really running the show? Does anyone get any more shameless than that? Then Obama goes golfing again. Isn't Bill Clinton Constitutionally forbidden from being the President any longer? Of course, George Bush (not W) also visited Obama in the White House, but it wasn't in the same context.
I think about those things for a while and then consider how hard it is to defeat incumbents and then I'm asphyxiated by the feeling that it really doesn't matter who we vote for. I begin to believe that our country's leadership is just a scam, and that the scam is getting easier to run as time goes on, the media gets more savvy, and the people become more self-absorbed and distracted and dependent on the government. Sure, the parties nominally fight each other, but it's with people who have already been preselected, people who have decided to be career politicians and are plugged into the respective consulting and vote-getting and fund-raising apparatuses of either party.
I have to give some real credit to Erick, here: he's supported some people that I had basically never heard of, people whose candidacies I would think would be longshots. People who perhaps haven't spent their entire lives looking for (and preparing themselves to hold) a lifelong career in politics. I think that's what this country needs, but I do tend to despair that it's becoming tougher to achieve.
I don't know. It's a weird mood. What do you think?