OOPS! WE DID IT AGAIN
The recent defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia, stunned politicos and pollsters alike.
Mainstream Republicans and Democrats are largely silent on the subject while Tea Partiers are heralding newcomer David Brat’s victory as a ‘Tea Party Victory’, and Democrats claim that Democrat voters swayed the election, not as an endorsement of Brat but a renunciation of Cantor.
(Virginia is an open primary state, which means that anyone, regardless of party affiliation can vote.)
There may be some truth in both claims, but the real reasons go much deeper.
As a general statement, it would be fair to characterize Americans as dissatisfied with our government, regardless of left/right or Republican/Democrat viewpoints. Some seek a more conservative body, some a more liberal Congress, but everyone seems to agree that the status quo is unacceptable.
The idea to ‘Throw the bums out’ is becoming more and more the norm, but in our haste to replace our representatives, we may be overlooking who we are replacing them with. It makes little sense to replace a flat tire with another, equally flat tire. Not only does that not help the situation, it inevitably worsens it.
Regardless of the motivation of Virginia voters in defeating Cantor, the result is we now have a ‘choice’ between radical left and radical right candidates to choose from.
On the Republican side, we have a candidate, with no real qualifications, who ran pretty much because no one else thought they could beat the incumbent.
On the Democratic side we have another candidate with no real qualifications, who was nominated because no one else wanted to run against an ‘undefeatable’ candidate like Cantor.
It was a forgone conclusion that Cantor would retain his seat, so no real candidates came forth on either side.
And, in the end, so did the American people.
Obstructionism and extreme partisanship have become the modus operandi for politics. Republicans have been popularized as ‘The party of NO’, but Democrats share equally the blame.
No longer do congressional votes hinge upon what’s best for the country, or even the party itself, but rather upon simply blocking what the other side wants to do.
If either party were to propose a guaranteed, 100% sure, and absolute solution to all our nation’s problems, you can be sure the opposing party would rally to defeat it.
Think about it for a moment. Each election cycle is dominated by speculation and maneuvering to gain a majority in Congress. Very little is discussed about individual candidates and their qualifications and goals, but rather, the emphasis is upon which party can gain a majority representation.
In order to gain and maintain a majority, candidates have become more and more polarized in order to set themselves apart from their opponents.
Virginia has now succeeded in painting itself into a corner. In defeating Cantor, they gave little thought to who would replace him and thus, ended up jumping from the frying pan into the fire.
Essentially, they are left with two choices; extreme left or extreme right and either choice can only increase partisanship and obstructionism.
Both candidates, Republican David Brat and Democrat Jack Trammell, are professors at a small university, Randolph-Macon College.
Neither has any political experience.
Both are dedicated to extreme ideologies.
The liberal Democrat Jack Trammell, teaches sociology and the conservative David Brat teaches economics. That, in itself, should raise a number of red flags.
Both have expressed extreme inclinations and, I for one, am not seeking extremist solutions.
The liberal-left position of a virtual welfare state is as repugnant to me as the conservative-right position of ‘he who has the gold makes the rules’.
I do not want my hard-earned dollars used to support those who choose not to help themselves, but I also do not wish to ignore those who cannot help themselves.
It would appear from Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s stunning defeat that any hint of cooperation comes at a potentially career-ending price. Cantor was, or at least claimed to be, committed to bridging deep divides over several complex and controversial bills.
The lesson to be learned from Cantor’s defeat it is that the polarization of American voters is intensifying, with Republicans growing more conservative and Democrats more liberal.
In case you haven’t been paying attention, history repeatedly warns us that neither position is permanent or even temporarily desirable.
As a nation, our focus has drifted from voting for the man we consider best qualified, to voting against the man we disagree with. In other words, choosing the lesser of two evils.
Democrats, in opposing run-away conservatism have boxed themselves into supporting an extreme liberal candidate who can do nothing more than further obstruct any meaningful progress.
Republicans, on the other hand, have done much the same thing, but in an opposite direction.
Democrat Jack Trammell frightens me with his past writings on social reform which indicate a ‘Utopian’ view of society where everyone contributes equally and shares equally in the benefits.
Sorry folks, but while nice to dream about, human nature precludes any such society.
While humanity may be good, moral and ethical, as a whole, there remain the ‘bad guys’ who seek to destroy any balance.
There are those who continue to take, but refuse to contribute.
Republican David Brat terrified me with his pronouncement that, “God acts through people, and God acted through the people on my behalf. We’re just celebrating like crazy tonight, just an unbelievable miracle.”
What about when ‘God’ allowed us to elect Cantor in the first place?
Did he change his mind?
Did he make a mistake?
Or are we just searching for Divine approval for our ignorance?
The idea that our government should be run as a business is false in its foundation. The purpose, responsibility and goal of the two are only vaguely peripheral at best.
Equally false is the premise that government should be run by the principals of religion.
The United States Government is not a business, nor is it a church. While there are many areas where the ideology of each is necessary and important, it is a unique and separate entity entirely.
In the case of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s defeat, Cantor did not lose nearly as badly as the American people.
Not only have we abandoned any pretense of political cooperation, but we have lost direction in the things that really matter.
The networks and the Internet were flooded with reports of Cantor’s defeat, but virtually nothing was reported on the school shooting in Oregon which happened on that same day.
The Oregon shooting was the 74th school shooting since Newtown on December 14, 2012.
That’s 74 shootings in 18 months. Over one per week!
The reports of that shooting were minimal and, incredibly, described by several national, network commentators as, “Becoming old news.”
Yet voters in Virginia, and apparently the nation, were more concerned with furthering extreme political agendas, than upon the safety of our children.
You may agree or disagree with my assessment, and I encourage you to do so, but with calm, reasoned motivation, not through the blinders of partisan recklessness.
Each of you has an opinion, but it is useless if hidden. Do you have the intestinal fortitude to voice your thoughts or are you so unsure of their validity that you choose to ignore your responsibility as a citizen?
Is it that much easier to simply parrot the rhetoric of others?
We hear plenty from the fringe groups. They flood the airwaves, the Internet and our in-boxes with negative jokes, cartoons and outright untruths, always in a negative context. Their focus is upon tearing down someone or some idea, never about what is good and right in our nation.
Where are the voices lauding our accomplishments? The kudos for the things we do right?
Right or wrong, I have enough belief in my viewpoint to express it, laying it open for others to examine, dissect or modify, and to encompass their own viewpoint.
I challenge you to step up and declare your beliefs. The only way to change things is to examine them, offering a better, or at the least different, solution.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.