Enough with the wailing and gnashing of teeth, already. Complaining about the neighbors doesn’t improve the neighborhood.
Half of eligible voters didn’t vote and the half that did was divided pretty evenly. Two percentages points seems like so little, although given the size of the US, the numbers are sizable. A million here, a million there and pretty soon you are talking about a lot of people. What astonishes me is the absolute hooey that people believe about Republicans, conservatives, the federal government, law, the economy, the poor and the rich. That is staggering. Possibly, that is reflected in the election results, although to say that is to insult at least a quarter of the electorate.
My granddaughter asked me yesterday if it was true that Romney was responsible for the breast cancer deaths of thousands of women. “How could he be?” I asked, “When was he ever in a position to be so responsible? Who said that?” Her friends did and said their parents were voting for Obama because of that. “How was he responsible?” She said no one knows, but they all think he is evil. Besides, he’s a Mormon and that is really bad. Her teacher said so. Did the child misunderstand what she heard? I don’t think so.
I’ve heard that Romney would make all women quit working and stay home. Who said that? The political science professor in the room next to mine at the community college. That wasn’t the only absurd he said, either. Romney would make the use of contraceptives illegal. Who said that? Many women I know were adamant about that. He would make abortion illegal, too. As if a president could dictate that. “How do you know?” The women on “The View” said so and everyone knows it is true. “Did he say it?” He must have said it. Everyone knows that is what he would do.
America is awash with information, much of it false. Who is educated enough to discern? Maybe no one, not even the educated. Once, conservatives thought that more influence on the culture would answer these problems. Create media outlets to express the conservative voice, proclaim the conservative point of view. We’ve done that. The Internet abounds with conservative talk and there are so many conservative magazines one must make choices as no one with a job could read them all. Then, as Pete notes, Fox News is full of it’s own kind of hooey. I can’t stand to watch it. Can you? It is entertainment, successful as that, and subsequently, hard to take seriously. Persuasion by that means has not been effective and looks to be counter-productive. What’s next?
I don’t know, but I do know that no American wants the country to fail or really wants to endure a financial and social apocalypse. We will all do all that we can to avert that, if only for ourselves, our families and our friends. The rich, who the administration says it is determined to eat, really have no where else to go in the world to be as comfortable. They won’t be eaten, of course, because the president, the hungry senators and congressmen and their most supportive friends are also rich. Just as has always happened, there will be legal ways to protect wealth and the most truly wealthy, the rarities like the Buffet or Gates, know or have hired people who know how to shield wealth most throughly. They’ll be all right. But that’s what America just voted for, while telling itself it was voting for something else all together.
I suggest that the only way left to Americans to ensure prosperity is to trust to Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand. It really works, for the most part, no matter what system of government or economy is extant. Individuals each doing his best to survive and prosper will not totally prevent hardship, or perhaps not prevent hardship at all. They, we, will ensure that most of us survive, because we take care of ourselves. No matter what foolishness is done as a result of political foolishness that is said, people tend to keep their wits about them and get through hard times, sometimes thereby averting truly hard times for all in the process.
“Take back America”? We’ve got America, but so have our neighbors. We have no choice but to share. Conservatives have to figure out how to live with the ones who see the world and American politics much differently than we, as well with the near half of the country who may not be looking or thinking about the world or our politics at all. Or if they are looking, are so dissatisfied that they will not play the game at all. At the moment, do you really blame them?