Monday, May 25, 2009

Week of 05/25/2009

Stop Reinventing And Start Reforming
– by David Matthews 2

There has been this perverse trend of late to constantly reinvent and re-imagine things.

Ronald Moore did that with “Battlestar Galactica”. Christopher Nolan did it with “Batman”. JJ Abrams just did it with “Star Trek”. NBC did it with “Knight Rider”. ABC just brought back “The Human Target”, with a complete revamp and trying to get people to forget about the fact that there was another series just like that starring Rick Springfield that didn’t even make it to Sweeps Week. Volkswagen reinvented their legendary Beetle. Ford reinvented the Mustang (which became the model for the re-imagined “Knight Rider”).

Now some things DO need to be reinvented. Nolan’s re-imagined version of “Batman” certainly needed the reset after executives and a certain infamous director at Warner Brothers thoroughly destroyed the previous movie series and essentially turned it into a pathetic live-action Saturday Morning cartoon. Our system of taxation quickly comes to mind as something that desperately needs to be reinvented.

But unfortunately most of us do not have the means to simply “reset” our lives and reinvent or re-imagine ourselves. We can’t wake up in whole new bodies, new faces, and live new lives with new friends and new experiences. Even the people who have to, such as those in the Federal Witness Protection program, need extensive help and resources to make it happen, and even then it’s not easy.

Most of us have to move forward with our lives. We do not have the luxury or the resources to simply go back to page one in our lives and start fresh with new names and experiences and a new look. That sort of re-invention only exists in the realm of science fiction.

So why is it that politicians think that they can do just that?

Back in the 1990’s, Democrats tried to re-invent themselves as the “New Democrats”. They tried to re-imagine themselves as being a bunch of forward-thinking people looking to help bring society into the 21st Century. It really didn’t work. It was the “New Coke” of politics. They ended up losing their ever-precious control of Congress in 1994 and it took twelve years before they could begin to get some of their control back.

In the 2000 Presidential Campaign, then-candidate George W. Bush tried to re-brand himself as a “compassionate conservative”… which was a stark contrast to his history as the Governor that executed more prisoners in recent history. His re-invention, though, became the first real miserable failure of his two terms in office, as events transformed the “compassionate conservative” into a strutting, pompous, Orwellian war-mongering chickenhawk.

Why do politicians think that they can simply re-invent themselves on command and expect people to simply buy into it?

If a violent and uncontrollable mass-murderer suddenly told you that he changed and he doesn’t wantonly kill people, would you immediately buy into it? Would you trust him to handle knives, even if it’s a plastic knife?

Would you trust a pedophile with your children just because they say they’ve re-invented themselves and they no longer do what they do? No, in fact our society goes to extreme tyrannical ends to prevent such a situation, because they absolutely and positively DO NOT TRUST those people… unless you’re talking about Catholic priests.

We reject the idea that someone who has done wrong can suddenly flip a switch and be good. Even if they really did change their lives around, change their thought processes, never pick up a knife or never go near a child ever again, WE cannot simply change our minds about them, because their HISTORY has not changed. What they have DONE has not changed. How we SEE them has not changed.

Even if we accept the possibility that they HAVE changed, we still have that history in the back of our skulls reminding us of what they did. That cannot be reset at the flip of a switch, no matter how hard we would want to believe their sincerity.

Someone needs to tell that to the Republican Party, though, because they’re hell-bent on trying to do just that.

The Republicans pompously believe that they can restore their tarnished record as corrupt spend-a-holic war-mongering chickenhawks. They believe that they can suddenly change and become these supporters of limited government and fiscal responsibility. They even believe that they can change their self-sullied image… by changing the image of the Democrats.

Okay, let’s just ignore the sheer stupidity of that last part for a moment. Do the Republicans REALLY BELIEVE that voters would magically forget what they spent eight years doing and suddenly become these born-again pseudo-libertarians?

Their evangelical supporters in talk radio and cable TV certainly believe this can happen. They’ve been busy spinning the idea that the GOP has reformed overnight and they’re now these new watchdogs of excessive spending and abusive government.

But if that really is the case, then I have to ask… where were these “new watchdogs” when they cobbled together the Sarbaines-Oxley Act? You know, the federal law that forces companies to spend countless amounts of money in auditors and repeated reviews and mind-numbing forrest-slaughtering paperwork? If the Republicans are so gung-ho against the over-encroachment of government, especially involving the private sector, then how did the Sarbaines-Oxley Act get past them? Remember, they were the ones in charge when it was passed and signed into law.

Where were these “new watchdogs” when they passed sweeping changes in banking and bankruptcy rules that led to the economic problems that we’re in the middle of now? Did these things just happen in the dead of night by themselves? Did a mysterious shadow cabinet come in and make these changes and let the Congress take the blame for it all?

Did the federal debt just magically become a trillion-dollar morass through osmosis? The last I recall, the push for the almighty Paulson Plan that put the debt past the trillion-dollar mark in October of 2008 was a BI-PARTISAN effort. That meant that Democrats AND REPUBLICANS voted for it! Where were those “political mavericks” then? Where were those “tea-baggers”? The ones that now sponsor “tea party rallies” and pretend to be speaking on behalf of the founding fathers, where were they last October? Was it just an optical illusion that they were standing behind George W. Bush and the Democrats when this thing was being cobbled together? A trick of the media? Some liberal Hollywood magic?

Let’s get brutally honest here… it is high time that the Republicans STOP pretending that they can somehow re-invent themselves like a bunch of lame soap opera actors and instead deal with the REAL WORLD. Here in the REAL WORLD people cannot re-brand or re-imagine ourselves at the drop of a hat.

Change for us in the REAL WORLD involves REFORMING ourselves. It is a very lengthy process by which we have to OWN UP to the things that we have done in the past and then work very hard to NOT DO THEM AGAIN.

If someone is overweight and they want to be fit and trim, then they have to change their diet and work out for a long time to get there. They can’t just get a committee of people together, make a speech, and then - PRESTO - they’re fit and trim the next day. I know that’s how you politicians deal with problems, but that’s now how it works here in the REAL WORLD. No, that overweight person has to work hard to get fit and trim, and they have to work for a long time to get there. And they have to be careful about what they eat afterwards so they don’t end up back where they were before. That is what REAL REFORM is about!

If the Republicans are serious about changing their ways… REALLY AND TRULY SERIOUS… then they need to first ask for forgiveness for the things that they did wrong. They need to seek amends for the things they screwed up on. They can’t just pretend that nothing happened previously, nor can they just pompously waive their hands and say that “mistakes were made” without taking ownership of them.

This is more than just putting out a couple of token fall-guys or hyping a couple of poster children either. This has to come from the whole party. You’ve seen what happens when a few corrupt politicians are caught up in scandal. You’ve seen what it does to the party overall. You want real reform? You REALLY WANT to change your ways? Then you will have to make it the party standard.

And it’s not going to happen overnight. You have to convince voters that you’re serious about this, and that takes time. Even if you start now it won’t happen by the 2010 mid-term elections. Maybe by 2012 you might rebuild some of that trust, but that would depend on what you guys do and how interested you are in REALLY reforming yourself.

Of course there is always the possibility that they’re not REALLY serious about changing their ways or reforming their image. There’s always the possibility that all of this talk about their new cause is nothing more than a SCAM, and that they’re really just trying to defraud the American voters. Their unrealistic insistence that people buy into this “re-imagined” image of theirs certainly opens the door to it being a FRAUD. The only way to find out is to see how long this image of them being pseudo-libertarians lasts and whether or not they can practice what they preach.

Changing your image is not as simple as changing your tie. REAL change starts from the inside and it takes time and a lot of convincing. The Republican Party has destroyed their own image and their own credibility by years of corruption and gross incompetence. That’s a lot of damage to fix. If they’re really serious about changing their ways, then they have to start fixing that damage instead of just pretending it never happened.

1 comment:

Carrie said...

It's a shame because at it's core, Republicanism has some great ideas. And that Teddy Rosevelt and Lincon would probably be torn to bits for being "too liberal" if they saw the state of their political parties today.