The Pendulum of American Extremes
This isn’t supposed to be a detailed analysis of historical events, situations, or circumstances. I am one 29 year old guy experiencing some of these things, learning about others, and just touching on them to make a general point. Your likely criticism of “well, here’s the full context of [insert any thing I’m talking about here], you moron!” is probably valid, and reasonable. It’s just not the main point of this. So chill – thanks.
The American Political sport is a unique beast. Something wholly original on the world stage. No, I’m not talking about “The American Experiment” in constitutional republics. That experiment has failed to produce lasting results, although it was a worthy try. No, what I mean is that unlike the rest of the western world, American politics grows more and more extreme at an increasing rate – a rate that should be alarming to most rational and peaceful people.
The media is largely to blame for this, but it goes without saying that American Presidents (as well as any matching houses of congress) get more extreme as time goes on. If I were a better historian, I could likely trace this back from George Washington to now, but I’m not. So I’ll start with JFK. JFK wasn’t extreme, mind you. At least not by today’s standards. Although, to the modern American left, he would be closer to a “Reagan Conservative.” I suppose that kind of makes him extreme. But to some, he was an adamant classical liberal, and that may very well be what got him assassinated. His replacement, Johnson, was a serious racist – not an unheard of quality in the democratic party. Especially for that time. They do a much better job of hiding it, and pretending they’re not these days. Aside from that, his presidency was pretty mild. But then we get Nixon. Of course, by today’s standards, Nixon wouldn’t be really extreme. The Water-Gate scandal, notwithstanding. Again, that’s the point. But after evidence surfaced of illegal election activities aimed at helping him win his 2nd election, Nixon became the first president in history to resign. Nixon’s vice president Gerald Ford took over, and once again, things return to a semblance of normalcy. Then we get Carter, and this is where things begin to pick up steam. Combine his far-left (for the time) creation “The Department of Energy,” sky rocketing gas prices, the Iranian hostage crises, and we see a weak-kneed liberal in way over his head.
The pendulum swung hard back to the right.
Ronald Regan is elected in a landslide, the Iranian hostage crises comes to an end, Communism is defeated once and for all and the cold war ends, and taxes are substantially lowered. At least, that’s official policy. (The reality is that Reagan raised a whole bunch of taxes…) Reagan’s presidency was replete with far right (again, for that time – not by today’s standards) ideas – strong military spending, significant military involvements, overthrowing governments in South American and elsewhere. The presidency of Ronald Reagan is a neo-con’s utopia. In the end, the growth of government, in scope and power, made this presidency a disappointment for Anarchists and libertarians. George H.W. Bush ran on largely the same ideals. His campaign slogan “No New Taxes” was followed by exactly what we should be coming to expect from statists (but still haven’t)...more taxes. Plus, a new, overt, and unpopular war in the gulf. But after 16 years of a hard shift to the right in America, the pendulum would swing back hard left.
Enter Bill Clinton. The savvy, energetic, young governor from Arkansas enjoyed a massive win over GHWB, and became the first democratic governor since FDR to serve for a full two terms. And, as was common to the historical leftist ideology of the time in America, America saw itself engaged in more overseas wars and military engagements. Also common to leftist politics, taxes were raised. Friendly economists will be quick to point out that the deficit fell, employment was high, yadda yadda. I like economics, but most Keynesian economists are not well known for principles, but whatever they can do to artificially inflate numbers. Paul Krugman immediately comes to mind. But with the Monica Lewinsky scandal of the late 90’s, and Clinton’s subsequent impeachment by Congress, his popularity by the end of his presidency lessened. With the Republican Revolution led by Newt Gingrich, much of Bill’s leftist policies had to be curtailed. Dick Morris coined the political phrase “triangulation,” a strategy of encouraging a more extreme point of view, with the intent to bargain your way back towards a more desired policy, while looking like you were willing to negotiate. A solid strategy, but a mix of republican and democratic ideals only leads to watered down versions of either, and nobody wants that.
George W. Bush easily defeats - via the only voting mechanism that matters, anyway (The Electoral College) – Al Gore, Clinton’s Vice President. Which shouldn’t be surprising for anybody at this time, right? Is the pattern beginning to emerge? And it is with this election that the media begins to actively fight a president in a way America has yet to see. Yes, the media could be antagonistic towards a President before Bush. But it was nothing like this. With the constant personal attacks, the media began to influence culture. Saturday Night Live saw a revival in ratings thanks to Will Ferrell’s portrayal of an idiotic Bush. It didn’t help that Bush couldn’t pronounce more complex words like “nuclear,” very well *Snicker* But here was a president who actually wanted education reform and policy to be the primary focus of his administration see the attack on 9/11 become what he was known for, instead. America now at war, and with Bush now a war-time president, we see many favored neocon ideas become policy. Strong Military presence (again) in the Middle East, the passing of the patriot act, a renewed interest and distrust of the NDAA, NAFTA, and the coming housing crises, all fed into the media’s portrayal of a President not only wildly unfit for the job, but possibly doing a worse job than his predecessors in a myriad of areas. But it isn’t just an objective worse. There is a political worse, too. The media hates this man. No President in history (up to that point) had been as vilified, ridiculed, mocked, and attacked on a personal level from everyone from the mainstream media, popular culture, and news outlets from overseas as George W. Bush was. Songs were written about him, or extending his “cowboy policies” to all of America in general. Senators and Congressmen were vitriolic in their criticisms, as were people like Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, or notorious race pimp provocateur, Al Sharpton.
And it all changed once Barack Obama got into office. The pendulum, once again, swung so far back to the left, that Barack Obama, a freshman senator from Illinois, with almost no real political experience – aside from being “community organizer” and a “present” voting Senator – plowed his way to the white house on the fact that he was black, and said “hope” and “change” a lot. That was literally it. Oh, and he was pushing for as far left policies as Bush pushed for on the right. The only people standing up to Obama were labeled racists. And they were called racists for 8 years, even during the increasing number of scandals during Obama’s presidency. Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the continuing presence in the Middle East, new engagements in Syria and Libya, the creation, funding, and training of the terrorist organization that would become known as ISIS, rampant shootings all over the country from crazy leftists who were seemingly over-prescribed medications that they subsequently ignored, police brutality…and on and on. Edward Snowden, Julian Assange from Wikileaks, and Chelsea Manning would reveal even greater horrors. Rampant spying on the American people, which started under Bush II, but continued and ramped up under Obama, became a major focal point for almost 4 years. Obama, the president who ran on the idea that the Executive branch needed to be more transparent, continued to push for the extradition of Edward Snowden, with the likely intent to try (and find him guilty) Snowden for treason. All that despite claiming to support whistle-blowers. And if you criticized Obama for any of that, you were called a racist, a bigot, a xenophobe, a truther, an Alex Jones or Glenn Beck supporter…And people were called that for 8 years. Good people with legitimate claims of injustice. And so the pendulum swung again, only this time, it would go for a candidate that many had written off. Too few saw the writing on the wall. Too few recognized the patterns. This is true even now.
So Donald Trump wins – landslide win, I might add. Forget the pundits. Trump dominated. It was an easy win. And this despite the protests, the marches, the violence – all coming from the left and other Trump detractors, mind you – Trump wins. Solidly so. And within his first two weeks in office, America pulls out of the TPP, a 70 day ban on refugees entering the United States from certain countries is enacted (opposition being just as fierce as it was supportive of Obama when he did the same thing, but for longer – but again, criticism of Obama is racist), and a bill enters congress with the intent to shut down the EPA. Trump brings in a pro-school choice (the horror!) candidate to head the Education Department. He nominates a conservative judge to fill the seat by the recently deceased Antonin Scalia. And what do we see from the combined efforts of George Soros backed power brokers? The MSM suddenly grows a spine, and decides to go on constitutional watch duty, as if they ever cared about that document in the first place. Celebrities call for marshal law, or Trump’s assassination. Whichever makes their feelz more fuzzy, I suppose. The SNL mockings resume. Hell, they don’t even stop at Trump. They go after his kids, his wife…the man’s family is fair game, apparently. At least if you’re a gay Jew on an airplane, anyway.
So what’s my point with this brief American Politics recap?
Where does the pendulum go from here?
America was 2 rigged elections away (Democratic Primary, and then the General Election) from “electing” a socialist….er, sorry. A “social democrat.” A “social democrat,” I might add, who has never read an economic text in his life.
So where does the pendulum go after Trump? Protests over the right to free speech abound in this country. “Anti-fascist” fascists are attacking people with differing views. Bloodying them, punching and macing them in the face. Leaving them in the street to bleed out. These loons have even shot their own people at these events. A whole bunch of “women” decided it would be a good idea to wear pink hats and vagina masks and march around D.C. and other places, because that somehow teaches Trump what’s what or something. I don’t know. I don’t think anybody does. All I know is that a bunch of gross women got up, talked about things most people don’t talk about in polite company (it’s common – leftist women typically aren’t very classy), somehow “reasoned” that talks about blowing up the white house could be taken out of context in a negative way, or were “just joking,” or something. Again, I don’t know. Reason isn’t a common denominator with these things. But again, I ask…
Where does the pendulum go from here? Can America survive the next swing? Are we even going to survive this one?
I don’t know. But I do know it’s people we’re talking about. People are notoriously irrational, hateful, spiteful, and generally, pretty stupid. The odds aren’t good.
So I guess my last question is – Which country are you moving to? :-)
I like Malta. What about you?
Let’s talk about this in the comments section below, or on Twitter.