Doom and gloom, double trouble,
Shakedowns Work, RuiNation Rubble.
It ain't easy being the last eternal optimist caught in this week's thicket of appalling, if inevitable melodrama. Who doubted the finale, a last-second ceasefire that left no principled adults standing? But unmitigated disaster has only one payoff for non-combatants, namely, the invaluable lessons alert survivors learn. If there are any . . . lessons or survivors.
When only confusion stalks the land, then let us feast on the going fare. Perhaps "optimism" overstates, depending in part on those guilty of self-inflicted failure learning from their own myopia. Since "you can't fix stupid," history is no great solace. Yet, I've unearthed five positives to cap our weeks of national immolation.
1) Federalism, beholden to logic, planning, or evidence, is functionally dead. We no longer have to fret about becoming a banana republic as Tea Party monkeys tipped the scales, colluding with scared Dems who can't say No. No low-growth system, nostalgically democratic or otherwise, survives the current amalgam of mendacity compounded by squandering wealth on wars and subsidies, amplified by revenue shortfalls, and topped off this month with smug weasels running after their tails. Less tethered to historic bases, whether liberal Dems or risk-averse, money crowd Repugs, Washington reminds me of the guy who botched his own suicide: dazed after shooting himself, he's puzzled both about the bleeding and the splitting headache.
Tea-Vandals Go for Broke
2) Clearer than before, the Tea-vangelist GOP (the New Vandals) have cemented how they will fixate every social, cultural, scientific, intellectual and political decision into absolute, doctrinaire terms, infused with inerrant divine chatter. What the debt ceiling face-off reinforced is that give-no-ground, moralistic extremism extends far beyond abortion, gay rights, foreign crusades against infidels or the supremacy of the Ten Commandments. How about moral dictation from God -- prayer warriors who own Truth on every, single public issue.
Whatever Vandals declare "God's will," whether on evolution, global warming, presidential birthplace or religion -- and now "surplus government spending" -- passes into a sacred realm beyond proof, compromise, even dialogue. Closed cases, closed minds. Thus the right now impugns compulsory taxation (vs. tithes) as supporting evil, violating the Biblical commandment against theft. As if medieval crusades, all politics becomes a staging ground, not about voting, issues or or democracy, but holy altars to fulfill God's commandments. We're back to good vs. evil, righteousness vs. sin -- and especially Us vs. Them. Except that "Them" is now 80% of Us, or the U.S.