I had a conversation today, with a young adult in my family, a sweet-natured, gentle and very moral person with a highly functioning brain, who still favors free markets and a strong military, but has adopted some socialist leanings, nonetheless.
We have many interesting and loud discussions about health care and global warming. Neither of us has ever managed to convince the other of anything, but we do argue respectfully, and we know when not to engage the other.
This person wandered over today and said:
“It looks like the public option is really dead. I can’t believe it.”
To which I replied, “well, don’t believe it; you’ll have your public option within the next six months, when Congress pulls their inevitable trigger.”
“Even the trigger may not happen,” I heard. “Joe Lieberman may make sure of that!”
“The trigger will happen,” I replied, “trust me. All of this is a big fat game the Democrats are playing.”
We all know that high drama of health care is merely for show. The Democrats are just doing whatever they have to do to make the moderates and the GOP comfortable enough to pass it.
The GOP is either too stupid to realize this, or they just don’t care: the Democrats are Lucy with the football, and they are Charlie Brown. Once again, they’ll allow themselves to be talked into a punt, and once again, the Democrats will pull the ball away, and the GOP will land on its back, wincing and gazing at the empty sky, while the Dems laugh at them for being such chumps.
Or perhaps chumpery is all the GOP is looking for; they’re not even trying to stop the bill. No one is screaming “no,” no one is filibustering; they’re just looking for whatever amendments they can eek out so they have something to point to, for their constituents.
Back in 2005 I wrote about what I saw as an impending coup:
. . .on the world stage there stride some masters of the sleight-of-hand and the misdirection – you can recognize them because they are all of a mind, and of a piece, and they are all working different parts of the same trick.
But if you can recognize a trick for what it is, you can prevail against it.
These aren’t even master-illusionists fooling a crowd anymore; they’re cheesy Vegas magicians who are getting away with their tricks because the audience is too distracted, too drunk and too tired to pay them much mind.
But I didn’t say all that to my young wonderer. I simply replied, “you will get everything you want, regardless of what you see happening right now. This is all a huge game, and it’s not even being played well.”
“I wish I could be as optimistic as you.”
I shook my head. “I am not optimistic; that was not optimism. You’re watching a game; the outcome is pre-determined. There is no way to truly stop one side, and the other team is waiting out the clock because they know they have no play. And you and I know that if things keep going as they are, there won’t even be a reason to suit up, soon, because there will be no more contests. Game over.”
“I think our country is being run by children,” came the disgusted mutter.
“Yes,” I agreed. “And they lie.”
A very unsatisfying exchange, for both of us.
Remaking America, indeed. I did not bother to get into the EPA ruling that has essentially handed Obama the power (but for lawsuits and stalling tactics) to do pretty much as he damn well pleases, with or without congressional consent. When Obama goes to Copenhagen next week, he will deliver the US Economy unto them. His Messianic moment, built on a long-culled untruth, and the most transparent thuggery you’ll ever see.
This kid left my house this evening wondering about a move away from America.
“Where will you go,” I asked.
“I don’t know. Maybe France. Maybe New Zealand.” Places where there is an illusion that healthcare is free and the economy and ecology “work.”
“Ah,” I said, “that’s funny; I got an email from a conservative, today, wondering if he should move to Mexico, where he can be free. To work.”
The far right is unhappy. The far left is unhappy. People on both sides are talking about leaving America, which to them suddenly seems unexceptional, except in the swiftness of this chaotic but unbloody coup, and not worth fighting for.
So, it appears, it may well be left up to the broad center of the nation, to save America from the cliff toward which she is speeding. If America’s centrists are, in fact, pragmatic and sensible people inclined to err on the side of caution, then we may yet recover our balance.
If, however, they are lodged in the center because that’s the most comfortable place to be apathetic, then we’re headed for a huge tumble.