Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Angry With America’s Political Dysfunction (revised 10/03/2010)

Well, I for one will be happy when November 2nd is behind us. Like Joan Dowlin’s expressions of anger in her Huffington Post column, “Tea Partiers Aren't The Only Angry Ones,” I too am angry.

I am angry with overstated, oversimplified, treading on the edge of distortion political discourse that accomplishes nothing; one that only accuses the other side with mismanagement or some misdeed. It’s disingenuously manipulative partisan politics where the priority is to be elected rather than to be a straight shooter who fairly and honestly presents the issues and how they may be cost-effectively and resourcefully resolved. Instead, candidates end up defending themselves, talking about their past and not America’s future.

Angry with those who seem not to realize that we all want less government spending and minimal taxation, but what cuts are going to be made and just what is an appropriate level of taxation; we all want smaller government, but the question is: how small?; we all want to stop the backroom deals, but such perceived shenanigans are fundamental to politics; we all want job creation, improved education, and enforced immigration laws. We all seem to want the same things but at whose expense. This was exemplified in the most recent Massachusetts gubernatorial debate when Deval Patrick said, “I see government as about helping people not kicking people to the curb when times are tough. I don't see the budget as a math problem. I see the faces behind those line items,” In response, Charlie Baker said, “There are plenty of faces behind a lot of the businesses that are dealing with the tax increases that have gone through over the course of the last four years under your watch.”

Angry with those who fall for political histrionics, who peddle misinformation and deception, with those who wallow in exploiting crudity, and the print and electronic media who present issues hyperbolically and entertainingly rather than with any genuine intention to shed light on very demanding and complex issues.

Angry with the tea party’s claim of diversity. When tea party supporters have been polled, it has been shown that they have conservative views; they are predominantly white and certainly not poor.

Angry with one of the tea party’s favorite mantras, “I Want My Country Back,” which is exploited in opposition to illegal immigration and anti-government angst. It is addressed at Salon.com by David Sirota, who writes, “Cloaked in the proud patois of patriotism and protest, the refrain has become a dog whistle to a Caucasian population that feels threatened by impending demographic and public policy changes. Tea Party activists have resorted to declaring that there can only be one kind of country — theirs.” “Theirs” is a narcissistically uncompassionate corporate welfare state, one that rejects a social agenda that addresses the fundamental needs of all people. As Deval Patrick said, “We are still part of America,” adding he was interested in “lifting the whole of America.” The tea party’s anger and frustration should be directed at corporations and Wall Street, and at government for embracing corporate hegemony. The forces of corporate power are undermining our system of government and are the undercurrent that is creating our political dissatisfaction and polarization, that’s where our problems essentially lie.

Joan Dowlin writes, “One thing we can all agree on is that we are all angry and we all have good cause to be upset. But how about we put our anger to good use and channel the energy into bringing about real change that benefits us all? We can if we put aside our differences and work together for the greater good.”