Memorial service time and place to be announced

Sam Smith

If you’ve been wondering why the Review hasn’t said more about the pending shutdown, one reason is that we have reached a point in national politics where logic and facts no longer matter. Only a psychiatrist or one of those professionals who convinces the bomb carrying dude to let his hostages go can help us now.

Of course, facts and logic haven’t mattered all that much for a long time. I suspect historians may use as a metaphor of our times the conflict between Fox and MSNBC – a battle of competing propaganda rather than of conflicting information.

It is also a battle driven by screaming out the faults of the other side rather than by presenting alternative policies the public might embrace. The Democrats, for example, haven’t had really good major new policy idea in over thirty years. Which is why they’re stuck defending Obamacare – 2,700 pages of law and 20,000 pages of regulation adding up to an indecipherable and unpredictable future.

Democrats used to win with policies that people understood and liked. No more. And so they have no effective weapon to use against the GOP psychopaths who long ago learned the misanthropic magic of manic masochism.

What’s really scary is not only the embedded conventional media going along with the madness as though it was just another story, but you would think some of the Republican’s corporate backers would be on the phone pointing out that this isn’t quite what they wanted. But there has been no notable public complaints from Wall Street or big business about what is going on. This suggests that elite pathology extends far beyond the capital.

And there is another problem. The good folks of this land have yet to come close enough together to offer a visible alternative. There have been efforts – Occupy Wall Street a striking example – but on the whole there is a small fraction of consciousness of an alternative America compared to the 1960s, despite that era’s establishment being far less of a problem than today’s.

I am reminded of this each time my granddaughters wear a T shirt with the peace symbol on it (or, as one did last summer, makes me a peace symbol pancake). What is it that these sub teens understand that we no longer do?

One good reaction to the insanity around us would be to declare and design an alternative America that clearly stands in stark contrast to the greed and stupidity that defines our leadership today. One that encompasses social culture, arts and politics.

Another approach would be to build from the bottom up. One of the tragic flaws of the liberalism over the past three decades has been its arrogant contempt for the wisdom and logic of the local, which has not only increased popular distaste for worthy progressive concepts, it is destroying such grand American creations as local public schools through federally designed and controlled cons like Common Core.

Changing things can’t be done this week or in the near future. But we can start making our little republics stronger and wiser by working closer with similar cultures, groups and governments that still believe in, and practice, decency and democracy.

The evil, the dumb, and the avaricious have seized the highest political pinnacles in our land, but the valleys, the plains and the coves can still be ours. There are two Americas: our and theirs. It is tragic, but it does not have to be fatal if we make clear the boundaries over which their misdeeds may not cross.

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