“I'll show you politics in America. Here it is, right here. ‘I think the puppet on the right shares my beliefs.’ ‘I think the puppet on the left is more to my liking.’ ‘Hey, wait a minute, there's one guy holding out both puppets!’ -- Bill Hicks, Rant in E-Minor (released posthumously, 1997)
“Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” -- Winston Churchill, Speech in the House of Commons: The Official Report, House of Commons (5th Series), 11 November 1947, vol. 444, cc. 206–07
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you really want to test his character, give him power.” -- Abraham Lincoln
“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.”-- Groucho Marx
When we as a nation engage in the political process, our assumption is that we are electing individuals who reflect our common values, shared beliefs, and our highest aspirations. We make these assumptions because the other side of the equation is that these are people who are cynical manipulators and self-absorbed deal makers, who look at their duties as just steps up the inevitable career ladder.
We expect our leader to exhibit self control and wisdom. Instead, it seems we have only been blessed with people of mediocre intellect, no self-discipline and a perverse sense of self-importance. We ask our leaders to provide conscientious leadership, reflecting the morality of the community at large. What we have seen of late is that our leaders seem bereft of any morality whatsoever, and are hypocrites of the first order. A lot of “Do as I say, not as I do.” is going on in the corridors of power, where people who have been buying and selling influence for generations, are daily making exchanges, compromising the ideals of our republic.
They have sworn an oath to preserve and defend the Constitution, but they have really defended the status quo. The back scratching and deal making have become so institutionalized, that any outsider is faced with either signing on to the “system”, or quickly becoming politically insignificant. This is the way of the world, and it appears there is little actual effort to make any changes. Left or right, they are both branches of the same corrupt tree, and therefore present only the illusion of choice.
Illegitimate children, drug addictions, and other affronts to the excepted conventional American lifestyle aside, the question is why are so shocked by all of this? These behaviors are nothing new and as previously mentioned this is the way we have been doing business for generations now. If we really wanted to change all of this, would we not? The fact is, that the Romans figured it out, that as long as people could vote themselves bread and circuses, the politicians could get away with a great deal of mischief. The illusion of republican ideals, held together with institutionalized corruption will bring about the same result. Pax Americana will grind to a halt, and our time in the spotlight will be over. That is the true apocalypse.