Saturday, May 25, 2013

Marching Backwards to the Beat of Tea Party Drummers . . .

While the house Republicans are frenziedly chasing Obama "scandals" like an attention-starved, rural mutt chasing a postal vehicle down a dusty, back country dirt road, America slips ever closer toward banana republic status.

Robert Borosage sums it all up quite nicely:

There is an idiocy about our current national politics that is simply stupefying. We are sitting idly, watching, and suffering, as our nation disintegrates into a run-down backwater. Our airports are a global disgrace. Our railroads, broadband, energy grid all outmoded by international standards. A bridge falls every other day. Our sewage systems are overwhelmed by normal use and collapse in the extreme weather that has become the national norm. Sinkholes now are becoming a life-threatening peril.
At the same time, over 20 million people are in need of full-time work. The construction industry has still not recovered from the housing collapse. The Federal government can borrow money for interest rates near zero. Yet instead of grabbing this opportunity to rebuild the country, Washington is focused on cutting budgets, an austerity that clearly costs jobs and impedes the recovery.
Any business leader with a whit of sense would say this is the perfect time to borrow money to rebuild the country, making investments now that will make us more competitive in the future. That's why the head of the Business Roundtable, former Republican Governor John Engler says it. At the top of his wish list for the economy is borrowing money to invest in roads and infrastructure. The resulting growth will more than repay the virtually free money. We'll end up with a more competitive economy, a healthier and modern infrastructure that will make lives easier and safer, more jobs, more income, more taxes and less debt.
This is literally a no-brainer. Yet when president proposes even a modest infrastructure bill, the Republican Congress rules it dead on arrival.

The Gadfly would postulate, of course, that it takes people with normally functioning brains to recognize the "no-brainer" situation Borosage references when they see it.  It also takes moral courage and selflessness in combination with that intellectual acuity to make the hard decisions that will benefit the most people in our society, and advance the human progress of our nation on whole.  Unfortunately, at this time, The Gadfly does not see much evidence of those character attributes, to any measurable extent as it is, among this nation's political and business leaders - and that would include many of the people advising the President - and to a certain degree even Mr. Obama himself.

Austerity has been a documented, miserable failure in Europe.  The fact that Republicans are pushing European-style austerity measures hard here in the U.S. tells The Gadfly two things.

First - the GOTP's (Grand Old Tea Party) venomous hatred of Obama has so blinded them to the economic suffering and struggles of their fellow countrymen that barring their utter and complete defeat at the polls in the upcoming 2014 mid-term elections, and looking ahead, the 2016 Presidential election, the economic hardship and misery that is unnecessarily impacting the real world lives of millions of Americans will continue unabated.

Secondly, and The Gadfly for obvious reasons is somewhat hesitant to go there, what are we to think of people who prioritize their own hatred of a single political figure over the betterment and success of the nation as a whole?  One thing The Gadfly most certainly has great difficulty viewing these people as is patriotic - their gratuitous chest beating and flag waving notwithstanding.  If someone can coherently explain what exactly about using hate and vindictive political obstruction to thwart the country from seeing to it's citizen's best interests is so patriotic, The Gadfly is all ears.

There is good reason why some of the greatest minds and most important historical figures in civilized mankind's narrative have had the following to say on the subject of patriotism and nationalism:

Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.
~~Oscar Wilde
It is lamentable, that to be a good patriot one must become the enemy of the rest of mankind.
One of the great attractions of patriotism - it fulfills our worst wishes. In the person of our nation we are able, vicariously, to bully and cheat. Bully and cheat, what's more, with a feeling that we are profoundly virtuous.
~~Aldous Huxley
Patriot: the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.
~~Mark Twain
Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.
~~Samuel Johnson
Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.
~~Albert Einstein

These men, in their time, were witnesses to the corrosive and destructive ends of unbridled and narcissistic patriotism and nationalistic hubris.  Those quotes were their purposeful warnings to future generations.  It is The Gadfly's humble view that if America is to succeed as the beacon of democracy and the hope of free people's around the world, it is imperative that we heed those warnings and maintain a close check on the ambitions of the mindless flag wavers and their retrogressive religion of fervent nationalism.


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