I lied. I’m going to write some more about Politics, but perhaps not about this particular dysfunctional episode we’re going through. I got onto this track when I noticed that February 5th is the anniversary of the passing of Ronald Dahl who wrote a lot that I never read about political “science.”
I may have shared before that my first experience with politics was in 1964 when I volunteered with the Goldwater campaign. I wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, but by then I had a pretty good idea where I’d be and what I’d be doing after high school and I felt like Goldwater was talking about that more honestly than Johnson. Well, no one wanted to have an honest conversation about the upcoming war in Viet Nam and Goldwater lost.
I was working in the operating rooms at the Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, Japan, in 1968, and voting for Johnson’s Vice President never crossed my mind. Yes, I am to blame for Cheney and Rumsfeld and Rove and that lot. I didn’t know they came with the package, and I didn’t know that Nixon could be so venal and stupid, but I did it.
I was going to go on about the 1976 and subsequent elections; but, for the life of me, I can’t remember if I voted for Carter or Ford. You can blame me for Reagan in 1980, too, because Carter pissed me off and I voted for Anderson instead. The Bushes are all on you folks.
What I’ve noticed and want to explore is that, coincident with our slide toward neo-fascism, we’ve also made uncertain progress toward civil rights and equality for women. What happened to us?
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Medicare were both passed during the Johnson administration. Since then it’s pretty much been a rich man’s world. Why is that?
Bringing it to the present day, we’ve had about 47 years of one party bumbling along and marginalizing itself with factional infighting; and one party apparently deliberately concentrating power on behalf of itself, of course, and international business interests while passing among us as nationalists. This makes no sense to me.
The military-industrial complex Eisenhower warned of is, I believe, part of it, and Big Oil; but after all of that is said and done, Americans in large numbers are consistently voting against their long-term – and often their short-term – self-interests. At least one of these people is not home-schooled or poorly educated, and we often agree throughout the course of a discussion at the end of which she will say, “and that’s why I vote Republican,” and my head explodes. What makes people so frightened – I think it has to be fear – that it makes them blind?
More importantly, what makes 60-70% of the electorate so resigned to the failure of our democratic experiment that they don’t even bother to show up? In 2015 it’s estimated that 114 million people watched the Super Bowl. Three months earlier 82 million of 227 million eligible voters cast ballots for their representatives. I know there are only two viable parties, but how did we come to accept that representing us was secondary to representing the Party? We’ve been tolerating that for 115 years now!
I’m going to try to figure some of this out. I have no hope of fixing anything, but I feel a need to understand it better. Feel free to come along and to chime in.