The more it stays the same
Originally an historian, and now in my seventh decade, I have been impressed with how institutional inertia outweighs democratic inputs at almost every turn.
Editorialist Ross Douthat wrote yesterday in regard to the Tea Party’s chances of effecting a national policy shift:
It wouldn’t be the first time a mass protest movement won a rhetorical victory without achieving a lasting policy shift. The antiwar movement, for instance, seemed to effectively take over the Democratic Party in the middle years of the Bush administration. But here we are, two years into a Democratic presidency, and Gitmo is still open, the U.S. is still in Iraq, and Barack Obama has escalated the war in Afghanistan.
© 2010 Ross Douthat, The Seduction of the Tea Partiers, New York Times (26 September 2010)
Douthat added that he hoped the Tea Partiers might, nevertheless, infuse fiscal responsibility into the Republican Party mainstream.
Extremism may be what we need to trip the Big-Dog up enough to listen to us
Despite being a mostly moderate centrist, I like the enthusiasm the Tea Party brings to the political scene. Even with the kooks it seems to sponsor as candidates.
Although the Tea Party’s message is often confused or apparently unrealistic (and sometimes hypocritical), it beats the camouflaged “plutocracy now and forever” pap that comes out of Washington D.C. every day.
Volatile umbrage ─ fair-minded, properly phrased, and directed ─ might institute some change. Or, alternatively, succeed in running the slop-feeding hypocrites in charge of Government out of town on the rail they so richly deserve.
Sadly, it won’t be high speed rail.
At least not until some of us get really mad about that, too.