Fear Based Politics

Where are the leaders?...

Demagogues in the US are unwittingly leading us to revolution.

Americans are looking for leaders and finding only people with over-sized egos implementing political strategies to win popularity contests. We've been through five years now of the Great Recession that never really ended and appears to be resurfacing in a Double Dip. Many people are recognizing these terms are euphemisms and if we have not been in another Great Depression similar to the nineteen-thirties then we are headed for one. More than likely we have already begun a "Depression within a Depression" replicating 1936-1937. The terms really do not matter since the conditions are the same and storm clouds are gathering that portend something unheard of a decade ago and that is revolution. The term itself invokes fear but thinking about it, how much worse could that fear be than the fear based autocrats and technocrats that run our country now?

We are not only in an economic crackup of historic proportions but a social and political one as well that occurs in cycles every 60-80 years and every 300-500 years. In the long view of history we will be seen as one of the societies that went through both simultaneously. The times we live in are truly epic and not in the trite sense of the word nor of the garden variety cycles of history that repeat themselves in oft-quoted Santayana admonishment. A polymath who sees underlying problems with resolutions to be implemented in a well thought out way does well to understand that is not possible in epochs of radical change. We are on a road to some sort of revolution and sensibly organizing something such as a Second Constitutional Convention is likely only in aftermath. The deconstruction caused by a technological, economic, political and social disruption must come first.

When that occurs no prognosticator knows, only that surely it is coming and the general period of time but not the day and hour. In 2012 it seems the time is quickly drawing nearer. The average person regardless of their social intelligence senses these things and feels the winds blowing in sea change. What more pragmatically is there to know really? There are two ways to be led in times such as this: with inspiration and hope or with despair and fear.

Our current politicians are operating in the second mode, fear-mongering and blowing dog whistles to rile up all kinds of fears to stir people up and move them to their campaign and raise their donations. Perhaps the Democrats have leaders somewhere hidden in their lot but we don't know since they are not having a primary and not proffering any up since their nominee is a foregone conclusion. Their representative is not a leader and falls short in categories too numerous to mention that reveal themselves daily. Whether he is a likable or decent person to the beholder is irrelevant but the low caliber of the work he is performing is.

We find ourselves in an election season with a population that at a minimum is uneasy and unsure of what is happening in our country, generally burned out from this lengthy so-called Recovery that wasn't, genuinely concerned about the future short and long term. What do we get in return from the political class? A parade of clowns, trapeze artists, show ponies not fit for even a third rate circus all pandering to the lowest element and basest of emotions. Most people are tired of hearing about both the social progressive and social conservative agenda. They want to live their lives with some real hope and belief that things will one day get better. We may be in a bad spot that will take a long time to get out of but they want a leader who says "Yes we can rise above and work together" and not "my opponent is a jerk out to screw you." It's really that simple.

How this election season plays out in each act no one can predict but I'm willing to bet that the forces are already moving the average person to turn all the crazy negativity off. They will stop being complacent, halting the train of the loud mouth social progressives and social conservatives that are shouting down and drowning them out. It is reminiscent to me of Nixon's "Silent Majority" who did go out and vote for him because they wanted the merry-go-round to stop and they were tired and weary. Right, wrong, good, bad or indifferent he represented that to them. Will there be anyone to rise out of the Republican primary ashes to capture that sense? It's hard to see it but we will have to see.

My sense of it at this moment in time is the leaders are not there or are not willing to step forward and in some sense I can see why they wouldn't. There is no palatable way that much of the voting public can accept at this time the difficult and hard sacrifices that must be made to turn our economy around and our politics and society to some semblance of what America is supposed to be about. My prediction is that the current Administration will continue to make alienating bubble headed decisions that turn off even his own base and in return the Republicans nominate someone so far out in right field that the average American won't go for them. If they decide to vote who it will be for is going to be a difficult choice and my suspicion is whoever wins it will be by some default.

Our largest concern really isn't the crazy antics of the candidates themselves but the crazy billionaires crafting plans behind the scenes. They are the ones reigning over the concealed tyranny we are subjected to. To my way of thinking having two candidates that are not palatable to the majority of the country is probably a good thing in a seemingly bad way. It forces the average person to get active with their anger and strong arm the hands of the political and bureaucratic classes by submitting them to the will of the people rather than the other way around. The purpose is the neutering of the lobbying and billionaire money behind them and in the aftermath force that Second Constitutional Congress. Sounds like revolution? Yes it does, it's the real hard work, very doable and not as scary and violent as it sounds.


  1. Right on the mark. We are surrounded by "leaders" posing for 24/7 news cameras, pandering to the loudest demand presented at the time. True leaders don't emerge because the do not choose to have their families pilloried by the media and our politicians!

    1. susie q, your right that true leaders don't emerge because not only their families but I think they themselves don't like having their words parsed and twisted by what now passes for media. Why does anyone need that? Far better in these times to lead behind the scenes but unfortunately the actors in front to the camera don't have good and well intentioned people behind them either.

  2. rock and confusion2/9/12, 3:43 PM

    This could be wishful thinking but I think we are in revolutionary times already. I took the 2010 mid-term elections as a sign of a LOT of people (not just so-called "radicals", unless there a a hell of a lot more radicals than I can contemplate)who were very angry with things as they were and sought to take a step in a different direction than a lot of (former) incumbents were driving toward. Many people changed jobs as a result of the elections held that November, and if things haven't improved since then, then the answer may be to continue voting and insisting on better things from representatives...and throwing them out of office if they don't prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they have their constituents's interests in mind when they vote on legislation. Here's the job. Do it, or we'll vote for someone who will. Throw out all the media bias (from every side of it), legalese, and other silliness and it really was what the majority of voters said that day.

    I will say this (and feel free to take issue with it): I don't believe the First Constitutional Convention got much wrong. They were imperfect people and managed to create a Constitution which-if anyone in government bothered to adhere to it-showed some of its creators to be at best hypocritical. To me that doesn't degrade the document in the least; just shows its authors to be human. Until we can be sure we have a group of people less self-interested than those at the original convention, I'd say let's exercise the rights laid out at the first convention to their fullest and see what happens. But that's just me...call me "retro". :)

    Awesome post, JR. Truly awesome.

    1. Thanks Mike. Actually I think you're right that we are already in revolutionary times and that many people are already on the edge of their seat waiting to tell the extremists on either side shouting out now to shut up and move over. I tend to not assume in writing that things are not already in motion mainly because I feel a short piece such as this then becomes and essay full of footnotes proving it. Perhaps that's too much education in writing essays.

      I tend to think of a Second Constitutional Convention as a reaffirmation of the first one and integrating into it pieces that have come through as permanent features of our country through court decisions. The Founding Fathers did get it right but only had the knowledge of the time. My thinking is we could be permanently rid of Affirmative Action, quotas and entitlements by including a clause that includes women, gays and minorities for example and equal rights. I would also like to see it clearly get rid of income tax for example and return to the election of senators by state legislatures as originally intended by the original writers. The era of 1913 and the Progressives did a lot of damage by tinkering through amendment our constitution and (wishful thinking on my part probably) that could be permanently reversed. So in that sense I'm also "retro."

      We're in for a long period of social unrest and change due to general unhappiness with the way "America" turned out and I skim it here. To me it isn't about "left" and "right" but more about those who want their "independence and liberty" to do make what they want of their lives and those who want "entitlement and to be taken care of by government" and there are an awful lot of the latter. The shouting hasn't even really begun.

      Thanks for reading and commenting Mike. Your comments always make me think and clarify my own thoughts. It's also good to know that clear across the continent in a different climate and setting people have similar mindsets.