Stop the train
By Joseph Randolph
Conservatives feel stymied since the machine of Chicago-Washington politics appears running toward more ruinous government after the triumph of Sunday night, March 21, 2010. The victors are trying to put more programs on the plates of the citizens, now that the first course has been served on them.
That vote will painfully live in the conservative craw for some time and in American history books, forever. There is unfortunately little possibility that the onslaught of that grinding legislation will be dropped from cultural memory like the religious heritage of the nation has been. This is because most historians and the like will inevitably echo the view of the White House and the supportive media that the time finally came for American government to get serious about getting things to citizens that the citizens must not be without. This is a far cry, however, from John Locke's notion that governments exist to defend and protect the freedoms and liberties—and property—of individuals. The current administration regards such things as inconvenient obstacles to strong government.
David Axelrod of the White House inner circle said last week that the political mistake of the Republicans was to wrongly assume that the victory of Scott Brown in Massachusetts was everything Republicans needed to defeat the Democratic health-care bill. Of course Axelrod was offering his opponents no hopeful suggestions for their future, probably just gloating that the opposition had slumbered and slept while Axelrod's party kept the lights burning all night.
For the current leaders of the President's party, and especially for his base, politics is life, and in general this life is all the life there is. Proponents believe that strong government is as essential today as a strong God was in earlier times. This secular administration has simply been about their father's business, and that business today is politics. This is easily shown when we notice how few of the President's circle have had lives or jobs outside politics. Thus, the tendency of this political leaning is to politicize virtually everything because they know little else, or better said next to nothing else. No wonder politics is so important to them.
This perspective therefore inculcates the view that there is nothing in life that cannot be addressed by political action, and thus the vote of the voter becomes the most important life decision the human ever makes. This is so simply because anything that occurs, or for that matter anything that does not occur, points to a political origin somewhere, because all things are political. Politics now takes charge of life, and may require your life, if you get in the way of politics and politicians of this sort.
Thus, given this scenario, politics is ultimate, and as ultimate it tends to be all-encompassing, though from the conservative perspective, capable of, in time, suffocating the citizen to death, in more ways than one, if the pressure of this type of government continues unabated. Moreover, despite the touted teddy bear nature of this kind of kindly government, the reality is that it can quickly turn and remain grizzly. Conservatives emphatically and rightly resist, simply because in time such a government takes over: all over.
For political conservatives politics is not life, nor is life politics. Politics is in some sense an appendage of humans and society; if it is modified to become much more than that, then such politics will necessitate that politicians and policies oversee more and thus encroach more and deeper on the people. A government given enough power becomes fearsomely god-like and very impatient with pretenders to the throne that it has defiantly claimed for itself. Criticism is mocked and scarcely tolerated, even when it comes from average and ordinary citizens.
Locke goes on to say that the citizens should not wait until they start being abused by their government before they try to rescue their country, because by then it may be too late. It is not too late. Why doesn't somebody start by asserting that we have a coterie in the White House that is on the verge of stealing America, as was growled out when Nixon's henchmen did some very undemocratic things for their President? Then the charge was despotism. Today the conservative charge against the White House is mere socialism, and while the President's defenders are trying to defend against such a charge, the country is sliding into near despotism.
Joseph Randolph is an academic and writer living in Wisconsin. His 2010 book Debilitating Democracy: Power From The People, is available from Wasteland Press and Amazon as well as Barnes and Noble. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.