Saturday, May 14, 2011

The faith of politics

It's not easy being a vehement moderate, a progressive activist. The very basis of activism suggests some kind of extremist background that pushes you into the ring, your ideologies guiding your sword against the evils of those who disagree.
Yeah, that's not me. I don't own weapons and I use logic and debate as my weapons...the pen (or in today's world, the keypad) is mightier than the sword.
I am highly opinionated and hold on to truth and fact as often as possible. I make it a point to constantly question what I think so that I do not fall into a quagmire of my own beliefs. Politics as faith is no different than a God based faith - if anything, it's more dangerous. Religion never claimed to be logic based - politics are supposed to be based on logic, debate, compromise, diplomacy. When your platform becomes your holy writ, your political stance becomes a religion, a faith, and all who stand outside are wrong, even evil. And from that is born extremist movements that weaken the body politic with every God guided punch from their corner.
Unfortunately, most politicians these days fall under that category. Ron Paul is such a man.
For the past 30 years, he's held on to his viewpoints, unwavering through thick and thin, fact and fiction. His never-ending crusade against the Fed, his loony tune tirades about free markets, smaller government, no taxes, and liquidation of half the Federal agencies. I do appreciate his support of ending all military activity overseas, but if that ever happens, I'll have to check how much of his legalized heroin I've been shooting up.
Hailing himself as the father of the Tea Party, the rise of it's popularity suggests there may be strengthened support for someone like him in the upcoming elections. Obama's continued shuffle to the right gives extremist right-wingers the chance to stand up as "true Republicans," distancing themselves from the ever encroaching evil Democrats.
Meanwhile, polling suggests that the bulk of Americans don't actually support the fringe ideals of the Tea Party and friends.
There's been a recent backlash from the public in regards to the Health Care Bill and even Rep. Ryan's sea of support has evaporated into mere pools after public opinion showed his ideas little affection.
To get into a party war, the Republicans have weak leadership and are fractured between right and extreme right, allowing for more room but also more infighting. The Democrats are just weak from top to bottom. Their ability to govern with any semblance of a spine is about as effective as a doggie door in an elephant cage. Yet there is no hope for a third party, at least not now. The civil war in the ranks of the Republicans may break into a third party but it would soon disband and be swallowed by one of the terror twins.
And yet as polls show Americans drifting more towards the center, progressively thinking (if not apathetically), the political stage is still awash with partisan banter, extremist views and an impassable no-mans land in between. As seen in recent attempts at legislation and governance, extremist ideologies hold no place in politics. There is no room for pedestals made of unwavering beliefs that you are right and "they" are wrong.
But as long as that faith holds fast, as long as those beliefs stand firm, our country will make less progress than a drunk turtle at a Nascar race.
I don't expect Ron Paul to become president - I don't think he'll win the Republican nomination either. But the recent Republican gun slingers taking the stage against Obama shows an interesting trend in the rise of extremist viewpoints among that party: Gingrich, Paul, Trump - like I said, perhaps a direct reaction to the bi-partisan, spineless trend in the Democratic party. As usual, I think both sides are fucked. I predict that Obama will win a second term but not as a shoo-in. Just as Clinton beat out Bush after his "impressive" show of power in Kuwait, the bottom line is that domestic issues are showing a much more questionable trial and error report card than the simplistic one-shot-to-the-head escapade in Pakistan.
Political faith and what the Republicans/Tea Party have brewing scares me. But political apathy scares me even more. The biggest threat to any government is a people who think. The biggest threat to a faith is people who think. Read, research, learn, react, Do Something.

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