Sunday, December 11, 2011

Our Peculiar Politics

I congratulate myself on having, once more, managed to avoid watching the "debate" of the Republican contenders for the presidency of this nation.  Though I acknowledge that the number of the debates has been extraordinary, and that it is normally the case that the more knowledge of candidates we have the better we are able to choose among them, I don't have the fortitude to observe these characters much longer, particularly when they are engaged in the hard work of thinking, or appearing to think, on their feet.

The preposterous Gingrich, the (latest) incoherent Governor of Texas. the shrill Bachmann, the plastic Romney--none of them impress me; quite the contrary.  Ron Paul seems genuine enough in his narrow beliefs, but his cruelty and apparent fanaticism in naming his son after a cult-leader gives one pause.  Our government has been so incompetent that the idea its power should be limited makes a good deal of sense, but the fact we are afflicted with an increasing number of gluttons and hoarders in a time when resources are limited and growing fewer seems to make regulation of the greedy a necessity, at least where they are so incapable of being sensible and exercising control over their own conduct.

But observing the grotesque ritual of running for president, or any political office, must lead any reasonable person to wonder why anyone does so, and to conclude that no admirable person would.  This is particularly the case with respect to the office of the presidency.  How could any person of intelligence, honor and principle submit to such an experience while harboring a desire and more than irrational expectation of achieving the goal?  The extent to which one's personal life and foibles are exposed, the deals one would have to make, the hypocrisy one would have to so willingly embrace, the money one would have to so assiduously make and what one would have to do to make it, would make any person worthy or respect, let alone of any intellect, decline the increasingly dubious honor.

It can be argued--quite legitimately, I think--that no rational person would want to be President of the United States.  A certain kind and degree of insanity has become a prerequisite.  Megalomania, at the least, should be acknowledged to be a condition of election.  One must have messianic delusions of grandeur to submit to the trauma of the electoral process in these times and to expect that one will emerge from it with any self-respect and with the ability to achieve what one had at one time planned to achieve but has no doubt promised not to achieve if given the opportunity.  Of course, those who have no plans, no principles, no ideas, but run merely to enjoy the experience of defrauding the citizens of the United States for their own benefit or the benefit of their paymasters would be equally suited to run for office and even be elected.

Because we have arranged our affairs in such a fashion as to assure that only lunatics or the fraudulent will have the opportunity to govern us, it would seem to make the most sense to direct our efforts towards the election of the less dangerous of the lunatics or frauds running for election.  My best guess at this time is that either Romney or the incumbent is the least insane of those from which we will have to choose the next commander-on-chief, though both clearly can and will say one thing and do another.  Both of these gentlemen seem willing to do and say most anything that will assure their election and continuance in office and at the same time will make it as certain as possible that the status quo will be maintained.  These are hardly desirable goals, but may be the best we can do right now.  Perhaps this will at least give us the chance of reforming ourselves to the point where we can reform the political system we have allowed to exist.

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