Time to Let the Country Crash?
"Let it crash!" "Give them what they want and they'll see what happens!" "Surely, once the left's programs are implemented and the economy crashes, people will come to their senses."
Since the election, many on the right have echoed this meme. They are convinced that widespread poverty and lack of opportunity will bring a resurgence of the America many of them knew growing up. Grandma and Grandpa's America.
Perhaps these people forget that Roosevelt was re-elected three times during a depression that he helped prolong -- a depression that featured soup lines and starvation in a population that actually wanted to work for a living and went on relief only as a last resort, and then with a sense of shame.
Thanks to food stamps, EBT cards, and other entitlements, Barack Obama actually had an easier time. He just had to threaten that the evil rich would take away flat-screens and "crazy money" to get enough votes. Imagine if people were really hungry.
Roosevelt and the Great Depression is only a mild example of what happens during severe economic stress. Think about Germany during the Weimar Republic hyperinflation. What did that give the world? Look at Argentina, at one time in the twentieth century more prosperous than the United States. Cristina Fernandez easily won re-election after she nationalized retirement accounts. Do you really think that no one views your 401(k) as unfair? What could be fairer than making sure it is kept protected from the greedy Wall Street bankers? Look at what is happening in Greece, with a quazi-Nazi party gaining ground. Look at France, who elected a socialist government to solve problems caused by socialism.
I could go on, but you get the point. A nation's problems are always blamed on the evil rich (name your racial scapegoat). Do you really think it's be any different here?
What of the evil rich? According to the left, they reside only in the Republican Party. Not true. There are plenty on the left -- probably more if you count the super-rich. John Corzine, Jamie Dimon, George Soros, the Solyndra crew, and others who make impossible salaries on the taxpayer's back. Too big to fail, reckless, immune to the law, and backstopped by the taxpayer. Why take on Big Bird when you have real-life villains?
When Sarah Palin gave a speech in Iowa in September 2011, her message was "crony capitalism" and how we are being fleeced by both parties in Washington. This winning message was surprisingly not picked up by anyone else. Admittedly, Mitt Romney would have had great difficulty selling it, but then again, he tried to sell a pro-Second Amendment and anti-abortion message against his history.
But enough about the last election. What do we do to keep our country from sliding into a position where we are so destitute that we will vote for anyone who promises to give us a meal? Let's begin by looking at the Democratic Party. They are a coalition with essentially nothing in common but the fact that they all want something from someone else. Why isn't it used against them? Muslims vs. gays? How about sharia law in San Francisco? How about a gay mosque?
The poor or those with college tuition debt vs. the über-rich? Corzine in an episode of Cribs with Private Jets. He stole the money!
Unions vs. environmentalists? Too easy.
Blacks vs. illegal Hispanics? They're coming for your food stamps! They don't want to work, so that's why they won't let you in!
Gamers vs. peaceniks? No more "Call of Duty" for you! Only "Happy Pony" from now on!
I could go on. Everyone fears something. Dirty politics? Alinsky tactics? Sure, like the left has never done that before. Howling from the media? Of course.
But will it stick in voters' heads? Darn right. To heck with Frank Luntz's dials. I'll down-dial a negative ad, but will a positive ad wake me up in a cold sweat? Not hardly.
If a group plays identity politics, that's its Achilles heel. Let those who live by it succumb to it.
Remember, you have to pick off only a few. That's how the game is played when it's played to win. You do want to win, right? Or will being allowed to carry your copy of the Bible or Atlas Shrugged into the destitute camps be enough for you?
At the same time, though, the Republican Party -- or, for that matter, whatever party represents the majority of sensible voters -- runs on a message of uniting the country. Sound familiar? That will require some nose-holding by many, but what's the alternative?
Make no mistake: encouraging an economic crash is a bad idea. A parasite may eventually kill the host, but it usually takes a while, and there is always hope for recovery. Predators, however, devour the carcass in a rapid fashion. No easier meal can be had. Do not forget that predators are foreign to the body, and there are many circling outside our borders. Even today, there is still plenty of flesh left on America -- flesh worth fighting for by whoever wants it most.
Ebben Raves is a veteran, a constitutional activist, and a speaker who teaches American history and has been a guest on several talk radio shows. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.