My two cents: The bungling generation

two-centsIf I were to describe the health of American politics from 1988 through 2015, I would have to describe them as being in the hands of a bungling generation of politicians. If we take an objective look at the condition of both state and national politics there can be no doubt that today’s politician does not have the same skills at statecraft of even the generation of politicians that led this country during World War II. Just this week, the Republican Party leadership could not believe the demands of the American voter not to give Congressman John Boehner a third term as Speaker of the House. As I listened and read the commentaries by the Republican Party establishment I began to have a sense of “here we go again…”

American & European politics – bungling generation of politicians

Regardless of one’s political party affiliation and political beliefs, it cannot be denied that the condition of our states and our nation is not what it should be. Both parties have settled into a routine of leadership and political victories by running as the party that’s the opposite of the one currently in power. During the 1992 campaign, the Democrats united under their candidate Bill Clinton and ran as being the complete opposite of then Republican President George H. W. Bush. In the 2000 campaign, then Republican Party candidate George W. Bush ran against Vice President Al Gore under the banner that he would simply be “Clinton’s third term.” In 2008 campaign, again the nation watched as the Democrats and their candidate, Senator Barack Obama ran against Senator John McCain under the exact same banner the Republicans had successfully used in 2000. Since 2009, Republican victories have largely been the result of a backlash of a failed presidency and too many broken promises made by a Democratic Party president. These are the actions of a bungling generation of both Democratic and Republican politicians

Our nation and much of Western Europe faces several real crises: declining native populations, declining economies, crumbling infrastructure, increased political instability, declining standard of living, and cultural decay. While claiming the mantle of civil rights for everyone, politicians increasingly support what at one time was considered fringe interests or behavior. Under the banner of equality, gay marriage and homosexuality are paraded as being an individual’s inalienable right while the natural right to disagree is now regarded as being a form of hate, discriminatory, and in the minds of many, something that should be made illegal. This idea of embracing a unified opinion on issues through the threat of criminal sanction does not stop with the debate over gay marriage. This week, in light of the Islamic terrorist attacks in Paris, both American and European politicians are not focusing on the actions of the Muslim terrorists but are saying that Americans and Europeans must be more sensitive to the Muslim religion. The various on-line news agencies are now reporting that certain European Union leaders are openly discussing making criticism of Islam a crime punishable by removing one’s rights to suffrage, free speech, and with prison sentences of not less than ten years. The bungling generation of politicians extends beyond American borders and infects Europe.

Returning to our own political system, the Republican Party national leadership, in its attempts to appear to be the only middle-of-the-road political party in our nation, has lurched further to the left and seems to be content with dislodging itself from its political base of conservatives and all together abandoning its traditional platforms of small national government, strong national defense, lower corporate and income taxes, and an open market/laissez-faire economy. Even after the tremendous Republican Party victory of the 2014 election, Republican Party leaders are now distancing themselves from their campaign slogans and promises and are openly saying that it may never be possible to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), our nation may never be able to reduce its national debt, it will be difficult to reign in government spending, and this morning, Senator Jeff Sessions has even begin discussing raising fuel taxes as a means to fund infrastructure improvements and maintenance. The Republican Party and its traditional core values have been forsaken by a bungling generation of politicians.

The Democratic Party made its share of promises too. Numerous politicians running for various House and Senate seats promised to continue policies that would strengthen the middle class. The problem is that the current batch of Democratic Party pursued policies have not helped – but have hurt – the American middle class. The redefining of a full-time employee to thirty hours a week, the increase in energy costs as anti-coal policies are driving up the costs of electricity. The Affordable Care Act was supposed to benefit the middle class by lowering the cost of medical insurance; it has done just the opposite and has further reduced the disposable income of the middle class. Even now, there are Democratic Party members urging President Obama to continue implementing his agenda through executive order and bypass Congress totally. Some have even speculated that he can bypass Congress and raise taxes on the wealthy because of the “good faith and credit of the United States” clause in the 14th Amendment. Just more examples of this bungling generation of politicians.

National wellbeing or special interests?

There has been other times in American history where a bungling generation was in charge of American government and politics. The most extreme era is the twenty years before the Civil War; a generation of politicians became so entrenched in the debate over slavery that they were willing to destroy the Union than to try to find a real compromise over the issue of slavery (and for the record, slavery was already in decline by 1850; if it had not been for the War Between the States, slavery would have ended without war by the mid 1870s and without the legacy of slavery we still deal with today – see Brazil as an example). The other times were between 1900 to about 1922, 1931 to about 1946, and 1963 to about 1988. During all three periods, national wealth was squandered, the American culture strained, and the very concept of personal liberty redefined and even questioned if it were really a constitutional absolute.

In each of those periods of American history, the politicians had become so beholden to special interest groups as a means to maintain their political power. Both proponents of slavery, industry, and the Abolition movement became so inflexible and intolerant of one another that the nation’s political, social, and economic health was willingly sacrificed for short-lived political gains in the 1850s and 1860s. Beginning with the Roosevelt administration, environmentalists, anti-imperialists, and imperialists all vied for political control through lobbying and political contributions; politicians from both parties flocked to them, forsaking their constituency in favor of easy campaign funds and gifts generously given by special interest groups. Each era saw the nation drifting into war; the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and Vietnam all occurred at times when politicians were more interested in scoring quick political victories over the other party rather than paying attention to national security issues. Even in the aftermath of the 2000 election, both parties were more concerned about increasing their power rather than paying attention to national security issues that might have been able to prevent the Islamic terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 and the resulting fourteen year long war where we are just as vulnerable today as we were on that morning of September 11th.

The bungling generation and Islamic terrorism

The Islamic terrorist attacks in France and the response by many of America’s politicians and news media personalities actually show how this bungling generation of politicians are not only willing to compromise American sovereignty, national security, and our basic constitutional rights if it means preserving their political power by them doing so. Instead of blaming the attacks on Militant Islam and the jihad that many Muslims believe must happen against the West, they blame U.S. support for Israel, our “lack” of understanding of the Pillars of Islam, and even Islamophobia as being the reasons why the Western world is under increasing attack and pressure by Muslims. The reason they have adopted this vision of what is actually happening is because they do not wish to alienate the Muslim immigrant population within their nations. Statistics bear out that Western European and North American (excluding Mexico) has had a declining birthrate. Immigrant families, particularly Muslim immigrants in Europe, have ten children to every one native British, French, Belgian, or German-born child. So far, within the United States, the ratio is closer to 1 Muslim immigrant born child to 4 American (of all races) children. Again, this bungling generation of European and American politicians are more than willing to write off the votes of the native-born peoples and attempting to woo the Muslim and immigrant voter to assure that their party remains in power in the future.

Consider the efforts made by the media and Western political figures to assure the public that any act of terrorism, such as the Boston Marathon bombing, the recent attacks in Paris, and others were not the results of Islamic radicals, but of “lone wolves” – the very types of attacks that various groups like ISIS, Hezbollah,  and Al Qaeda have found are the most successful against their enemies. The American media also continues to support the narrative that to keep us safe, the government must listen in on our phone calls, must monitor our on-line activity, the lists of movies we rent or download, books we borrow from the library, and even which radio stations we have our Sirrus radios programmed as our favorites. We have been lectured by the President of the United States that preferring to hire Americans (of any race) over immigrants means that we’re being racist – and the list could go on. Can the West survive this blundering generation of politicians or are we heading towards another war at the least, or at worst, another Dark Age? 

Alan Simmons

Alan Simmons is an adjunct instructor of history at Henderson Community College. He has been teaching at the college/university level since 2004. Within the scope of his degrees, his areas of emphasis are U.S. foreign policy, public policy history, political history, and U.S. history.

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