What Comes Next?
So… the Republicans did it.
The stars were aligned. The polls proved right. The elephant rampaged through both houses of Congress on Tuesday.
So what happens next?
This is a moment when a meaningful change could be made to our nation’s downward trajectory.
Will it be?
Campaign promises generally fall into the category of religious fiction, whether a candidate’s faith is one of Progressivism or of Let’s-Get-Back-to-Our-Constitutional-Roots.
When politicians on the Left win, they quickly abandon all man-of-the-people pretensions and reveal their true ideological devotion, which has to do with making democracy safe for activists, abortionists and the NEA.
As for conservatives, the old joke, oft repeated, is sadly applicable: They come to Washington believing it’s a cesspool, but soon discover it’s really a Jacuzzi.
Republicans are noted for, shall we say, losing their reformist edge. The combined influence of well-connected lobbyists, well-financed pressure groups, and well-ensconced party leaders tends to stoke the appetite for higher office and dampen enthusiasm for being tagged a loose cannon by standing on principle.
Whether GOPers can break old habits remains to be seen. But it’s never been more urgent that they do so. This country is in trouble. Serious trouble. And everybody knows it.
There’s a feeling abroad in the land that things are cracking apart. Barack Obama didn’t create the cracks, but the policies, decisions and actions of the last six years have pried them much, much wider.
What’s needed at this moment in history is more than mere tinkering around the edges of policies in place. We must reexamine the philosophical assumptions that have taken over our system of government and come to dominate our public life. We must ask some fundamental questions, like…
• What happened to the notion that citizenship is a privilege involving both rights and duties -- and for those seeking it, qualifications?
• Where are the clear lines of legal jurisdiction and fiscal responsibility that once distinguished the various levels of government and kept power from becoming too concentrated?
• When did the concept of civil liberty turn into a license for conduct unrestrained -- or, for that matter, a mandate that everyone must accept any behavior, no matter how destructive, all in the name of personal autonomy?
• Why is it we can no longer assume the protection of certain basic freedoms of conscience, opinion and expression?
• How did the humane desire to help people caught in tough straits become an expectation of unlimited support?
Those are just a few on the domestic side. Let’s throw in some with a global scope, like…
• How can we regain respect in a hostile world that sees us as increasingly irrelevant?
• When will we reassert our territorial integrity, affirm our legitimate national interests, and recapture our status as the center of economic and technological leadership?
• Can we ever achieve true strategic independence -- in terms of both freedom from extreme overseas financial obligation and self-sufficiency in domestic energy resources?
• Are there rational plans and realistic methods for beating back the latest waves of totalitarian revival and religious barbarity -- which is to say, of securing our children’s freedom and spiritual patrimony?
…and lots of other such questions as well.
All hold vast implications for policy development, which means there will be plenty of debate and -- let’s hope -- honest analysis. But more than that, they demand vision, courage, unity, steadfastness, and no small measure of moral courage.
Are Republicans up to the job?
Do they have the wherewithal to devise logical, comprehensive approaches to addressing our numerous problems? Can they build the necessary party discipline, restrain their individual ambitions, achieve the long-term perspective required for the daunting tasks of restoration and renewal?
Will they be able to craft a coherent message and develop means of communication sufficient to overcome media resistance and rally the people behind them?
Can they hold together solidly enough to oppose a radical administration unfettered by reelection concerns? Will they be confident in withstanding the accusations of “racism,” “misogyny,” “homophobia,” “exploitation,” and all the other contrived charges that have provided life-support to a failed ideology and a corrupt political cabal?
Then, beyond all that, are they prepared to defend their policies and actions in staunch defiance of Hillary’s inevitable onslaught?
Yes, I know this is the GOP we’re talking about -- the party that hasn’t been able to save the 100-watt incandescent light bulb.
Many people are deeply disillusioned with the politics of our day. They’ve watched the demolition derby that’s gone on in Washington over the last few decades -- since the end of the Reagan era, really -- and they’ve concluded that there’s “not a dime’s worth of difference” between the parties.
I understand their feelings, but we now have an opportunity to find out whether their assumption is correct.
I voted Republican this year because there was no moral alternative.
After all, how would today’s Democratic Party leadership answer those domestic and global questions I listed above?
It was -- and is -- imperative that we end the George Soros-funded, industrial-scale subversion by which our national destiny is being strangled.
This past Tuesday might have been a turning point. Might have been. Now we shall see.
But, hey! Call me an optimist. I’ve always enjoyed Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
For now, I’m holding onto a little bit of hope.
Bill Kassel is a writer, communications consultant, and media producer. His essays and random rants can be found online at: www.billkassel.com.