Monday, February 11, 2008

Week of 02/11/2008

Change What?
– by David Matthews 2



It’s all about CHANGE in politics today!

“Change” is THE political buzzword for 2008. Everyone is eager to take over from George W. Bush, and they all want to bring CHANGE to the job!

Ah, but what KIND of change are we talking about?

For starters, EVERY candidate that is running for president right now will bring CHANGE into the White House, simply because at that point it will no longer be the Bush Imperium! George W. Bush will have left establishment, and there IS no political heir apparent, so the Imperium will THANKFULLY die when he leaves in January of 2009. We just have to survive until then.

So, yes, the candidates ALL offer CHANGE simply by running.

But, sadly, that is not enough. We have to ask WHAT KIND of change we will be getting with each candidate, because some of that change may not be the kind that we either WANT or NEED.

There was a guy who blamed himself for losing his home in a natural disaster. Every year the area is hit hard by torrential rains which would flood the area. Every year his basement would flood, the sewers would overflow, and he would lose his drinking water for a few weeks. Every year he would have to deal with this, and every year he would pray that something would happen to change it all. Sure enough, on the last year, instead of torrential rains, there was a drought that dried up all of the brush. A stray lighting bolt caused a raging wildfire that destroyed his neighborhood, including his home. So when the media catches up to him, he’s quick to say that it’s all HIS fault because he’s been busy praying for CHANGE but he never really specified what KIND of change he wanted.

Guess what guys? Much like that self-tormented soul, we need to be careful about what kind of CHANGE we want with a president, lest we end up with one that we will regret.

I know some people will tell you that it simply can’t get any worse than the situation that we’re in today, but in truth IT CAN. IT CAN get worse, and it can get worse before the November elections. We may be spiraling down towards that Alan Moore “V for Vendetta” dystopia, but we’re still not there yet, and that is CERTAINLY the kind of change that we do not want!

Let’s start with some basics here… any candidate that sings arias about the Bush Imperium and yet still talks about change is lying about either or both of these things. Certainly the public has gotten tired of how things have been progressing with the Imperium, so while Republicans don’t want to say anything bad about Bush Junior, they know that publicly embracing his policies can be seen as political suicide. If they wish to continue the neo-conservative neo-Roman imperial gravy train, then the only CHANGE that they can provide would be merely cosmetic. The faces would change, but the status quo would continue to serve as the rule.

Of course any kind of dystopian program can be substituted by another one. If the neo-conservative tyranny that is one part Norsefire and one part George Orwell doesn’t suit your fancy, there’s always the nanny state dystopia, one where pills and socialism are the rule. If you ever read Aldous Huxley’s book “Brave New World” you could easily see the prodding hands of certain liberal politicians nudging us towards that dystopia. That, too, is CHANGE… just not the kind of change that we would want.

The voters demanded CHANGE in 2006, so they voted out the Republicans in power, hoping that the Democrats would provide the CHANGE that they wanted. Unfortunately, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid had a different kind of CHANGE in mind. It was the kind of CHANGE where the Congress would do a little as possible to stop the Imperium and still implement just enough of their programs to claim that they actually did SOMETHING. Not exactly what the voters were thinking of when they went to the polls in 2006, but it was still change nonetheless.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and let you know what I think the voters pretty much WANT in terms of change. Mind you, this isn’t based on any kind of special interest polling, but simply on several years of experience listening to people and what their basic complaints are with government and what they think needs to be fixed.

People want to be secure. They don’t want to worry about thugs or criminals or terrorists wanting to hurt them, threaten them, rob them, or kill them. They want to know that their children are safe and secure, that they will have a chance to grow up and be the kinds of people that they could be proud of. At the same time, though, they don’t want to be told that they have to live in constant FEAR of these things either. They don’t want to be constantly afraid of the boogeyman and have it wielded over their heads to justify being governed under a “guilty until proven innocent” mentality.

People want the government to be STRONG. They want it to have the strength to do what needs to be done. At the same time, though, they don’t want to be seen as some 800-pound global gorilla that can crap anywhere it feels like. They want to be respected. They don’t want to be scoffed at or made to feel embarrassed if they travel outside of the country. They don’t want to have to either stand up for or try to explain the actions of their leaders. They don’t expect foreigners to fawn over them when they say that they’re Americans, but at the same time they don’t want to be scorned or shunned or looked down on either.

People want LEADERS, but they don’t want RULERS. When times of adversity arise, they want leaders with a sound course of action to lead the way for the rest of us. At the same time, though, they don’t want to be dragged into any kind of action simply on the whims of that leader.

People want their government officials to be moral and ethical. They expect those people to make good decisions based on their moral and ethical beliefs. At the same time, though, they don’t want those officials to IMPOSE their ethical and moral beliefs on them, especially if they don’t share everything about those beliefs. They certainly don’t want to be made to feel like THEIR beliefs should be scorned or shunned or ignored. They want leaders to be right, but not be righteous.

People want to know that the government works FOR THEM, not just for the whims of special interest groups. They want government to be frugal when it comes to spending, but at the same time they want to know that in times of need, the government will be generous. They want systems in place to make sure that jobs and help and support are there when they are needed, but they don’t want to hear about wasted money and endless “money pit” programs.

They want the government to WORK, and for those in government to do their jobs. But they also want those that abuse government for their own ends and fail to live up to their expectations to face some kind of justice for their actions. They don’t want to see the system bend over backwards to protect those that violate the trust of the public. At the same time, though, they don’t want the system to be so fixated on that pursuit of justice that they can’t get anything done.

Does all of that seem contradictory? Absolutely!

But let’s get brutally honest here… THAT is the kind of change that the American people want! They WANT that delicate balance, that mixture of contradictory ideas, and they feel BETRAYED when that balance is not made. Look at the Democrats. They PROMISED to restore that balance in 2006, and then systematically FAILED to do that in 2007 and now they are hated even worse than the people they replaced.

The American people want that balance wrapped up in a big red ribbon and handed to them in time for the November elections, and they expect that balance to be there on day one of the following tenure in office. They don’t want to be made to feel like they have been used YET AGAIN by a bunch of overpaid and over-hyped career con-artists.

And they want something else too… they want HOPE. They want to know that there will be a tomorrow for themselves and for their children.

Richard Nixon couldn’t offer that in 1960, which is why he lost to John Kennedy. But after three public assassinations and a nation back in a war they didn’t want, Nixon was able to offer some glimmer of hope, which is why he won in 1968.

Jimmy Carter couldn’t offer hope in 1980, which is why Ronald Reagan won. Reagan offered that “Morning in America” dream that baby boomers needed to hear. And unfortunately for Reagan’s successor, Bush Senior couldn’t offer hope in 1992, which is why he lost to Bill Clinton, even with all of Clinton’s faults. Clinton offered hope at a time when it was needed.

Bush Junior’s BEST days were in 2001 when he offered some GLIMMER of hope in recovering from a recession that got started in Clinton’s watch, and in the days after 9/11, when he was expected to take action against our attackers, and he did. Unfortunately for him, and for us, it all started to go downhill from there.

Likewise, each and every one of the political candidates today needs to do more than just TALK about “CHANGE”. They need to actually show WHAT KIND of change that they are offering! What is it that they truly champion? Are they trying to champion the old guard or forge a new one? Are they offering more of the same under a different banner, or do they REALLY want to shake things up and make things work for US again? The people need to feel like the candidate CAN create the contradictory balance that the public expects of him or her, as well as give them guarantees that there WILL be a tomorrow for themselves and their children, and that it won’t get harder or worse for them to make the ends meet.

THIS is the standard that the American people expect. It is high time for the candidates to prove whether or not they can actually meet it.

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