Growing up before November
The Republican primaries began as an opportunity to vote for someone. Now that the choices have gone from a baker’s dozen to two, the last few primaries seem to be about voting against someone. That’s sad. Party regulars have a winner in the blocks, and they can’t take yes for an answer. Likewise, the extreme right is suffering from a terminal case of sour grapes. Their guy isn’t winning. So like adolescents who can’t get their way, the righteous right, folks who treat the National Review like a Koran, are willing to sabotage the frontrunner or blow up the big show altogether. That’s worse than sad. It’s juvenile.
Politics in the end, especially in a social democracy, is always about winning. Losers do not get to make policy, law, Supreme Court justices, or the future. Given the human material America has to work with, sometimes we have to swallow hard and press on anyway for the win. Life and success are team sports.
Loud, proud, and candid are not necessarily vices in a culture where belonging, approval, and conformity are the standard. We are a nation of sheep because of the company we keep. Millennials and their social networks can take a bow here. Alas, a perilous world and a spendthrift legislature need to be managed by pragmatic adults.
The loudest voice in any American public forum is always apathy. If we are to believe historical voting records, most folks who can vote do not. To date in the 2016 presidential cycle, the apathy drag has been a Democrat problem. The offering on the American left is more of the same – and then some more. On the other side of the aisle, the Republican frontrunner is churning up numbers and enthusiasm that no pundits would have predicted. The entrepreneur from Queens claims to be a guy who will say no to fiscal folly, say no to foreign policy boondoggles, and say “you’re fired” to party and federal deadwood if necessary.
The alternative is Mrs. Santa Claus in a red pantsuit.
In recent memory, we have had two pairs of breeding lawyers in the White House, and we may, in part, be where we are today because we allow ourselves to be governed by lawyers or professional politicians or both. Lawyers and politicians make good bedfellows because each thrives on other people’s money. No other professions need apply in Washington these days. Maybe it’s time to accept the wisdom of crowds and let someone with real-world success and management experiences take the wheel. Hard to imagine he will do worse than the usual suspects or any pair of recycled Beltway shysters.
G. Murphy Donovan writes about the politics of national security.