I have crawled into a relatively media free cave since Election Day. I plan to stay there for a little bit. Call it disappointment, information burnout, confusion or the need for space to think this through. All of the above would be correct depending on the time of day.
Confusion is exacerbated by the inability to connect the big picture dots between issues we face, failures we observed and the results on Tuesday. Could it be that big issues are not in play for Americans anymore? Could it be that we are rapidly approaching the fiscal tipping point so many have pointed to? Is the sense of larger context absent in a majority of Americans? Can Americans see beyond their own predilections? Are elections now purely an exercise in small ball, in ‘finding’ voters and instilling the appropriate degree of fear?
We have lowered the bar in terms of what we are prepared to accept economically. The ‘new normal’ is upon us. North of 49% receive some manner of government entitlement, yes I know, it’s a number that includes Social Security etc. The number is what it is! We have shouted to each other that it’s okay to keep us on this path. We reach the point where the full scope of potential government support is now nearly equal to a decent job. We convinced people that a change in administration would result in someone yanking their food stamps away. We could not convince them that the current economic path will result in horrific crisis including their damn food stamps, and that to avert crisis a new economic path was necessary. When in light of the past four years, we cannot make that argument to a majority of Americans, some serious reconsideration is demanded.
Marx famously said religion is the opiate of the masses, he could be wrong! Perhaps the true addiction is to reliance on something, anything other than ourselves. Perhaps the true opiate is a political context that does not require self reliance and does not encourage it.
Part of my disillusionment is my long held faith that, eventually, Americans see the light and reset the course of the nation. In this case Americans opted for more of the same. Americans opted for a President that, by way of his own budget documents, offers no new solutions and guarantees financial collapse. I’m not looking to vacate the results, they are what they are; the machines at work are much more significant than an obscure blogger.
We, as Americans, are required to ask the questions. We are also required to pay the price. Research, links to sources, anger and punditry are not where the answers reside, ideas are. So is our continued engagement, I’ll come out of the cave soon with, hopefully, some ideas.